Archive | September, 2013

Volunteer Opportunities

We depend on our volunteers to help us lead classes, help prepare meals, and bring enthusiasm! By spending time with our clients, they are uplifted and feel a part of the community. Listed below are some opportunities to get involved with.

If you would like to become involved please fill out a volunteer application form, here. All volunteers will need to have a criminal record check and vulnerable sector check which is free with a letter from the Lighthouse.


Volunteer Opportunities


Kitchen Help         Sunday-Saturday                  7:00am-5:30pm
Help prepare meals for those staying in our supported living tower and emergency shelter.

Meal Service             Sunday-Saturday                  8:00am-9:00am        Breakfast

12:00pm-1:00pm     Lunch

4:00pm-5:00pm       Supper

Serve food and beverages to those staying in our supported living tower and emergency shelter.

Maintenance         Monday to Saturday                         7:00am-6:00pm

(subject to volunteer availability)

Under the direction of Frank Rozsa, Building Manger, volunteers in this area while help with minor repair work. Volunteers must give at least one days notice before working a shift.




Game Night               Wednesdays                          6:30pm-8:00pm

Shuffle board, ping pong, cards, bingo , Wii games or whatever you’re up for! UNO is one of our top requested games. Come down for fun fellowship with those who are staying at the Lighthouse.


Sewing Class            Thursdays                              1:00pm-2:00pm

The Lighthouse has 6 sewing machines, where clients can learn skills. The hope is that this will progress into a Sewing Circle which will mend and repair clients’ clothing, and donated goods.


Art Class                   Saturdays                               1:30pm-2:30pm

Lead by artistically inclined staff members, art class is always looking for new projects and new artists to share their expertise!


Potential Classes looking for volunteer leaders:

Quilting Class

Decoration Committee


Coffee House         Fridays                                   6:30pm-8:00pm

Informal opportunity to interact with clients while sharing coffee and snacks. This is a great chance to share your musical talents in a come-and-go atmosphere.


Front Desk             Everyday

Help the front desk answer the phone, distribute mail, folding laundry and help clients with inquires and referrals.  Filing and organizing will also be beneficial. This requires a commitment of at least 3 shifts per month.


Personal Needs Room              Based on availability of volunteers

We are looking for a few hard working folks to take on organizing our donations room and opening it up to clients who are seeking clothes, bags, and shoes.


Force Multiplier Team


Various Christmas Events (?)_

-Community Wide Meal Dec. 22, Sunday   4:00pm-5:00pm

New Year’s Eve Party, Dec. 31, Tues.          7:00pm-10:30pm


We are looking for a few hard working individuals to accomplish special tasks or help hold event around the Lighthouse. Christmas will be a key time when we are looking for a special event for those we serve, as well as help planning spring and fall work bees.


One man’s road from homelessness to housing


One man's road from homelessness to housing

James Upper in his lodgings at the Lighthouse on Tuesday.

Photograph by: Greg Pender, The Starphoenix , The Starphoenix

Two weeks ago, James Upper hit rock bottom.

Suddenly evicted by his landlord, he was homeless for the first time in his adult life. He spent nights huddled on park benches, trying to sleep. He was abusing sleeping pills and drinking heavily.

“It’s like your whole world goes black. You can’t plan ahead. It’s like you can’t see anything,” the 60-year-old said.

Upper never thought he would end up on the streets. Moving to Saskatoon two years ago, he had a steady job at a local aviation company. He says he hadn’t had problems with alcohol or drugs since his early 20s.

The downward spiral began when was kicked out of his home after a disagreement with his landlord. Soon after, he underwent heart surgery that involved eight bypasses. He was unable to work. With no job and no place to sleep, he turned to drinking and prescription drugs.

“It was something to turn to when you can’t cope with reality. You create your own reality with the drinking,” he said.

He spent a night in the police detention cells and at the mental health centre at Royal University Hospital. But even with the supports there, he ended up back on the street.

He said the drugs and the drinking only exacerbated his mental health issues.

When he was at his worst, he showed up at the doors of The Lighthouse and was admitted to its brand new stabilization shelter. The shelter offers a safe place for men and women who are drunk or high, but don’t need to be incarcerated, taken to emergency services or watched by a health official at the health region’s Brief and Social Detox Unit. While the Lighthouse had a shelter before, it would not admit people who were under the influence.

Upper, who was in the throes of intoxication but wanted to sober up, was the perfect candidate.

“They ask questions, but they don’t turn you away. They ask questions out of concern. There is no prejudice or criticism,” he said.

8896631After spending a few nights in the shelter and accessing the addictions counselling and services provided by the staff there, Upper was offered an opportunity he’d thought he would never get again: a place to live.

Last weekend, he moved into a new affordable apartment at the Lighthouse.

“I can’t describe the look on his face,” said Holly Lucas, the Lighthouse housing coordinator.

“The words I got to him were ‘Welcome home.’ At that point we all burst into tears.”

Lucas said Upper is the first person to successfully transition from the stabilization unit into the affordable apartments the Lighthouse provides. His place looks like any other bachelor-style apartment. There’s a tidy kitchen, clothes in a closet and a couch where he can watch TV.

Upper says his stay at the shelter and his new home have given him a new perspective on life and the people he used to just pass by on the street.

“You see those people out on the street? I was one of them. I have an empathy I didn’t have before,” he said. “You can get trapped in a cycle if you don’t find a way out of it. This was my way out of it.”

Upper is continuing with counselling through the Lighthouse and hopes to return to work as soon as his doctor says it’s okay. Even though he is slowly getting his life back together, he doesn’t plan to leave his new home anytime soon.

“It’s like heaven. It’s perfect,” he said.


© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix

Moving Up – Stories from the Lighthouse

Moving Up

The Lighthouse is always a very busy place but as we begin to anticipate a new calendar month, the Lighthouse swings into high gear. Rent needs to be paid, some tenants move out, new tenants move in, tenants may switch towers, and new programming classes begin. As we reflect on what happened in August, I wanted to share a quick success story.

The Transitional Housing Floor has been operating on Upper First in the Dube Tower for a little over a year.  Tenants who live on Upper First have a higher level of supports, must plan to attend at least two classes a week, and faithfully take their medication, all with the goal of improving their mental health and helping them retain housing.

Transitional Housing

One of the first tenants who moved onto the floor had been staying in the emergency shelter for many months. They had repeatedly lost housing due to severe mental health issues, including yelling at invisible strangers on street corners. After moving into their newly renovated suite on the Transitional Living Floor, immediate improvements began to be made in the person’s demeanour. A combination of medication, learning coping skills, and routine, allowed them to take control of their life. They joined our work training program and helped clean the women’s emergency shelter.

As the one-year anniversary of their stay neared, a room became available in our affordable housing tower. They transitioned to living much more independently but still being able to access supports if needed and stay within the Lighthouse community. In August, they were hired on at a gas station and received their first pay check in many years. What an amazing transformation!