An open door for isolated youth

An open door for isolated youth

L’Orignal tatoué, Joliette, Lanaudière

For a young person in difficulty with no fixed address and nowhere to call home, a friendly place like l’Orignal tatoué in Joliette can help turn life around. That’s what happened for Maxime.

At age 24 Maxime has known his share of family difficulties, loss and loneliness. After he was thrown out of his mother’s house in Lavaltrie at age 18, he began a downward spiral that lasted several years, first packing his bags to live with his father in St. Jerome, and then moving on to stay with his sister in Crabtree, and finally to Joliette where he would stay with friends or in other accommodations. Increased substance abuse coupled with a bad break-up led to an attempted suicide. Throughout this time Maxime relied on L’Orignal tatoué both for a place he could get a decent meal, but also as a place to occasionally socialise and escape his feelings of loneliness.

L’Orignal tatoué is a street café where young people ages 16 to 30 who are experiencing social distress are offered a warm and welcoming environment, where they can break the cycle of isolation by forming new and healthy friendships. “The kids are always welcome to use our services and enjoy free food, but we ask for three things in return”, says François, a social worker at the café. “Wash their own dishes, respect each other’s values, and no drugs or alcohols, fighting, violence, or criminal activity.”

“Most of the kids that come here don’t have a fixed address and are experiencing a number of other areas of instability in their lives. We help them by bringing resources right here to the café. Thanks to support from the LÉGER FOUNDATION, we can lend a hand to these young people, many of whom have been let down in life already more than once. Giving them a sense of trust makes a huge difference”, explains coordinator Stéphanie Godin.

For Maxime, the café was vital to overcoming his obstacles and restoring a sense of stability in his life. Today, two years later, he is free from substance abuse and is considering going back to school to study carpentry. “I want to start my own business with one of my friends, and we’re really excited about it.” With dedication they are sure to meet with much success. We wish him every success in his new endeavor!

This article is from the winter 2017 edition of the HOPE FOR THE HOMELESS newsletter. To read the full version of the newsletter and discover all the documents published by the LÉGER FOUNDATION this year, visit the Publications section of our website.

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