Sixteen months ago, Phil Thompson showed up at the Ottawa Mission, as a penniless, alcoholic high-school dropout, hoping for a bite to eat. He got a lot more than he asked for.
“My life fell apart due to alcohol,” said Thompson. “I ran out of money and was on the street.
It was in January 2009 during a visit to the Mission that he saw a poster for an addiction counselling day program and decided to sign up.
He soon went through the 30-day stabilization program and the five-month drug and alcohol rehabilitation program at the Mission’s LifeHouse. He’s been sober ever since, the longest time since high school.
While at LifeHouse, he started taking classes to obtain his high school diploma through the Mission’s Stepping Stones Learning Centre, nearly 30 years after first dropping out.
Yesterday, Thompson received his high school diploma and a $3,336 bursary to pay for his first year in the professional writer program at Algonquin College.
Finishing high school was not easy for Thompson, who had to learn to type and use the Internet.
“I can’t imagine where I’d be or what I’d be doing if I hadn’t came by that day, but I know I wouldn’t be preparing for college.”