On any given year, one in five Canadians will experience mental illness or addiction.
Thirty-two-year-old Glen Kurti, who started as a volunteer with The Salvation Army, happens to be one of them.
After years of highs and lows, and struggles with relationships, Kurti was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and credits The Salvation Army’s Healthy Homes Program in London, Ont., for the support he’s received during this difficult and challenging time.
“It’s a no judgement, safe zone. People here have daily struggles. It’s a healthy, team building experience and a lot of fun,” says Kurti.
“It’s a no judgement, safe zone."
The goal of the Healthy Homes Program is to promote healthy living through educating participants in an interactive way so that they can take the information they have learned and apply it to everyday life. The eight-week program helps clients to learn more about healthy eating, budgeting, gardening and engage in physical activities such as floor hockey and volleyball.
“The hope is that people leave this program with more education around healthy lifestyles and basic life skills,” says Val Beneteau, Community and Family Services worker at The Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope.
Kurti already has the education part down. A graduate of the University of Waterloo, Kurti had a very successful engineering career and was also a coach in the community―two of his passions he hopes become a part of his life again soon.
Beneteau says most people participating in the program are looking for work, a second job, or in Kurti’s case, are unable to work for a period of time.
From volunteer to client, Kurti is viewed as a leader and is now a part of the Healthy Homes Active for Life family.
“Don’t be ashamed of what you’re going through or what stage of life you’re in,” says Kurti. “It’s an opportunity to connect and relate to similar struggles. A five-minute conversation with someone makes a big difference.”
By Shannon Wise