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Michael Sherman volunteered to help with our Christmas Wishlist Program.  His experience listening to client stories and seeing the sense of hope it gave them inspired him to write this short blog we are pleased to share with you.
On behalf of our clients and staff, thank-you Michael.

Michael Headshot 5As snowflakes fall, homeless and low-income Calgarians lineup to take part in an annual gift-giving tradition, a project the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre affectionately calls the Calgary Christmas WishList.

The process begins with the collection of stories and wishes, a volunteer activity that has proven to be one of the most popular opportunities at the Centre.

After having first volunteered to conduct interviews in mid-November, the appeal became obvious to me just a few minutes in.

The hopefuls lined up as I took my seat next to two other volunteers. Once they sat down with me, the stories began to pour out.

Over the course of three hours, over 25 different people shared their stories with me, a complete stranger sitting at a table with pen and paper.

I quickly learned that the interviews aren’t about gift-giving as much as they are about hopes and dreams.

Some of the stories were short, and bravely shared: women trapped in abusive relationships, or men who moved to Calgary for work and found themselves in the cold with no home. Others were longer: promising careers ruined by physical disability, mental illness, or painful childhood memories.

Regardless of circumstance, hope shone through each narrative.

I left the Drop-In Centre with a clearer understanding of the overwhelming diversity of circumstances that affect Calgary’s homeless.

I don’t think I will ever forget their stories.

Their stories, hopes and dreams can be found at www.calgarywishlist.ca.

Read the stories. Get to know your neighbours. And please make a hopeful Calgarian’s Christmas Wish come true this holiday season.