Tessa’s Home is an 8 part series running until December 27th. To listen to the audio backgrounder on CHRI radio, click below. Miss previous episodes? Click “Recent Posts” on the right sidebar.
Tessa continues her story…
I got into housing right after, but my place wasn’t that great. It was my ‘place’, but it wasn’t my home – I’d been in and out of ‘places’ of several kinds, but it was never home. It was between two drug dealers; one sold cocaine and guns, and the other marijuana and cocaine. That wasn’t the place I wanted my kid, and I didn’t feel like I wanted to be there, so I gave up my son to CAS and I went back to the streets. It was the hardest thing I ever did.
I remember being really distraught, and I was downtown in front of McDonalds on Rideau, and Outreach was there. Two outreach workers from OIM came by and I was drawing in a little sketch book. “You like to do art?” “Yea, I love to do art.” “We just started up an art group two weeks ago.” “Oh really?”
In the weeks to come, the same outreach worker was always bugging me about coming, but I never did. I guess when somebody tells you about something, you get this picture inside your head of what it’s like, and it wasn’t like that at all.
So one day he came by ( and I don’t even think it was an outreach night) and said, “You coming? It’s tonight.” I said, “OK, fine! I’ll come.” And he came and met me and I went.
I loved it.
After they introduced me to what it was, and told me about the mentoring and said they could help me with goals that I had, I thought maybe this could be helpful (and in my mind, thinking, ‘for now’).
So like, I’ve been going there for three years, and I have missed like, four nights.
Getting this positive reaction for something I did, was not something I often got… Going through school, I had this art teacher that told me that I just didn’t have it (to be an artist).
In the Passion 4 Youth art group I made goals to do stuff, and it eventually led me to getting my son back. I set goals with Malley (my mentor) and she would ask me, ‘What are we working on this week?’ and ‘How’s the fight for your son going?’ and ‘What are your goals towards that?’ After working on that for a pretty long time, I got my son back, and brought him to the art room. Everyone was really happy about that.
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