Fall '10 Newsletter A year's reflections A year has passed since I was first approached about coming to lead the Ark. I will never forget September 22, my first day here, the first of many long, tiring, exciting days, trying to figure out how things work and what my priorities should be. The first thing I learned is that there is a massive amount of detail that makes up a day at the Ark. Fortunately, I had some good help and we began to figure things out. I quickly discovered that the founding vision of holistic ministry to people in trouble and to keep people from getting into trouble still guided the work. Tom Reade, who in the mid-80's had the faith and vision to start reaching out to young people in an arcade, set the tone of for all that would follow. Sadly, Tom passed away at the age of 40, just as the first Ark building was being purchased. His legacy lives on. There were some lean and difficult years in getting things going. In 1990, Jim and Alberta Fraser began a nearly 19 year journey that saw the work solidified and then enlarged into the present building on the north side of Dundas St. in Old East Village. The Frasers poured themselves into the challenge, serving daily meals and providing programs to help people toward a better future. I have met a number of folks whose lives were turned around at the Ark. Countless volunteers over the years have also made huge contributions. In fact, that is part of the genius of the Ark: almost everybody can do something to help someone here. Now, to the best of our ability, with the resources we have, we are attempting to touch as many people as we can in as many ways as we can. For example, in a recent week we have done such diverse things as hosted a church service, cut hair, assisted a client with the rent tribunal, paired a UWO summer volunteer studying thanatology (death and dying) with someone with questions about death, carried out four sessions of computer instruction and several sessions of academic tutoring, provided alternate justice community service hours, had a couple of sessions of pastoral counseling, did our Monday evening art program, helped people with affordable or free clothes, served nearly 450 hot meals and 300 people for afternoon snacks, almost all done by more than 70 volunteers. There are few dull moments at the Ark!
Ark Founder Tom Reade
This has probably been the busiest year of my life, and that includes the years I spent in Africa. No two days are the same. You never know what or who will arrive. Because we've got more programs going now, there are even more details to get right. You can't go home today without thinking about what will happen tomorrow, and the day after that. One of the best things about the Ark is the sheer number of volunteers who help in so many ways. But of course you have to keep track of all them, too. Somehow, on most days we get it mostly right! What's next? It is hard to say what another year will bring, but some things are emerging. The Board of Directors is working with a couple of wonderful coaches who are donating their time to help us develop our governing skills and capacity. As we lay the foundation for solid leadership into the future, the Board will be evaluating and developing a vision for the next decade. We are also working through the many policies that reduce risk, provide effective administration and demonstrate competency. There are a couple of new fund-raising initiatives that you will hear about in due time. These are meant to spread our base of support without compromising our ability to be who we want to be. We are reaching out to new partners to help us offer care for the whole person â€“ body, soul and spirit. The University is keen to have its students engaged in community-based learning, so there is good potential there to draw on youthful energy and expertise. The Faculty of Nursing has been first off the block, and we are excited about the possibilities that could develop. More churches are expressing interest in getting involved, realizing the Ark provides a unique opportunity for people to express their Christian faith in tangible ways. Ultimately the whole Christian community should understand that this is their place of service. Invitations to speak to various groups and churches are also arriving and we look forward to being out in the community more in the coming year. And of course, we want to get better at doing what we already do. The Ark Aid Street Mission, Inc 696 Dundas Street E., London, Ontario N5W 2Z4 Tel. 519-667-0322 Fax: 226-289-3045 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.arkaidmission.com
And the winner is … Well, we don't know who the winner is yet. But Jeremy Jeresky, our art program leader has been selected as a finalist for the Pillar Community Innovation Award. Nominated for his creative efforts at initiating the art program, including the Community Monument (a 3D mural mounted on the front corner of the Ark building), the winner will be selected on November 4 at the London Convention Centre. Pillar Nonprofit Network supports nonprofit organizations in fulfilling their missions in London and area. They provide leadership, advocacy and support to the nonprofit sector through the promotion of volunteerism, professional development, networking, and information. We are grateful for Jeremy's work at the Ark and proud of his selection. What great volunteers we have! Ride for Refuge On October 2, the Ark will participate in Ride for Refuge, an international effort to raise funds for the displaced, vulnerable and exploited. Cyclists can register on the website www.rideforrefuge.org – select London on the right side menu, register as a team leader (you can recruit your team of riders) or as a rider and select the Ark Aid Street Mission as your designated charity. The ride begins and ends at North Park Church and is the rider's choice of 10, 25 or 50 km. If you are not a rider, you can sponsor a rider by following the above instructions and selecting a rider to sponsor. See the enclosed brochure or call the Ark office for additional information.
Christian Motorcycle Association Fund-raiser (it's a gas tank)
The Art Program Client Artwork - Circus Bear
Last but not least … It has been a busy summer. Many other food programs took a break so that on some evenings, the Ark was the only place serving a meal. On most Mondays we served over 100 people, but thankfully, we always had enough food. Food donations over the summer were good. A local produce store (Forest City Food Distributors) has blessed us with fresh fruit and vegetables. One day over lunch I mused that strawberries would be a nice treat, and sure enough, that afternoon they called and we had strawberries for everyone! The quality of the meals continues to improve, both health-wise and in taste. Our present challenge is funds. Thanks to those who responded to the previous newsletters, all the bills are paid to date. But we need your generous support to get through the next couple of months. In recent weeks, we have had to replace a fridge and freezer. We need to renovate the kitchen entrance to provide more security to our kitchen personnel. The furnace which broke down late last winter needs to be repaired or replaced. Of course, we will serve an average of 75 people per night six nights a week. I have been careful in how I have asked for help before, but I do want to let our friends know that we need support now. There are several ways to give: ● Use the enclosed response form and envelope to mail a cheque or one or more post-dated cheques. ● Use your credit card or debit card from our website to securely donate by CanadaHelps or Paypal. ● Download from the website or request the form to set up automatic donations from your bank account. If you have any questions or need assistance, please call. We also appreciate your comments and concerns. If your group is planning its fall and winter schedule, I would be happy to come and share more of what happens at the Ark. Thanks for actively caring for the marginalized people in our city. Doug Whitelaw Executive Director dignity