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It is such an encouragement to hear from "our girls" about the impact Fresh Start has had on their lives - it's only by the grace of God that we've been able to do so! Read what some of our residents and service providers have to say about Fresh Start.

"Over the past year Fresh Start has become my family. I am looking forward to extending my family to include my new host family. Fresh Start has taught me that God can change the next generation through my children."
Fresh Start Resident at 2014 Banquet

"You have made me realize that I have more people around me that love and care about my daughter and I. I miss you already and am glad you all are part of our family and thank you so much for the past year."
2014 Resident

"Elgin St.Thomas Public Health has worked very closely with Fresh Start for over fifteen years...As a community agency, Fresh Start strives to remain connected with other service providers through ongoing attendance at community tables to collaborate and coordinate services. This strengthens their ability as an agency to work and network with other service providers to enhance services and provide the best opportunities for their clients."
Cynthia St.John, Executive Director, Elgin St.Thomas Public Health 2014

"Fresh Start provides support and shelter to women seeking their services and they have the goal of helping these women not only through their immediate crisis but also of stabilizing them and working towards a better future, for them and their children. Fresh Start is a modern, relevant and highly valued service provider which is in touch with the needs of the community and which works hard to meet service gaps in an integrated fashion with other service providers."
Rod Potgieter, Executive Director, Family and Children's Services of St.Thomas and Elgin 2014

"Fresh Start is a valuable resource for the St.Thomas-Elgin community. This service is an integral component of the community's homelessness prevention strategy."
Elizabeth Sebestyen, Acting Director, Ontario Works and Social Housing 2014

"I came to Fresh Start with two bags and one broken heart....The support and love I received helped to heal me. I left stronger and wiser. I left with humility and compassion. I left a home, not a building or an institution. I am writing to thank you for your part in saving me."
-excerpt from letter received fall 2013 from a past resident from 2002.
She will be speaking at our 2014 Banquet!

"I want to thank all of you for everything you have taught me in the past 16 months. We have had our ups and downs, but no matter what you were all there to support us. So again, thank you for being my support and helping me get to the point I am at today. I will miss all of you very much..."
Resident fall 2013


“Before coming to Fresh Start I was homeless—sleeping on the floors of random houses and addicted to drugs without any hope of living. I was seven months pregnant before I was given any hope of being able to keep my baby. In the summer of 2009, I made the best choice of my life by going to treatment and then leaving everything I knew to move hours away to live at the Fresh Start group home where I was given the chance to fight for my life and the life of my child. A FRESH START."

“All the staff were helpful and even funny. I liked the fact that they treated us all with respect, and not like children. No matter what was going on with us, they could always put a smile on our faces. You love our children! I enjoyed everything about Fresh Start, even going to church. You made being so far away from my family a lot easier.”
- Winter 2009

“When I came to Fresh Start, I was 8.5 months pregnant. I had been living on the streets with a serious drug problem for the past 10 years. When I arrived at Fresh Start, I had next to nothing—a few changes of clothes and some personal items. Everyone that works at Fresh Start welcomed me in and showed me to my beautiful room; my room had everything I needed for myself and my son.
From day one, Fresh Start had an endless amount of support to help me in all areas of my life. They provided me with personal counseling, women’s abuse counseling, mom’s and tots programs, Narcotics Anonymous, YMCA memberships, volunteering placements. Also the staff at Fresh Start took their time to get to know me personally and took interest in my life.
I am so grateful for Fresh Start. Everyone here has been a true Godsend. All the help and support of these genuinely kind people has allowed me to keep my son, establish a relationship with my 3.5 year old and my family, and most importantly: saved my life.
I have been blessed to have found a place like Fresh Start. I was a person who for 10 years of my life had nothing to speak of and now due to all the kind people who donate to Fresh Start I have nice clothes to wear, clothes for my son, and can feed myself and my son. This has allowed not only myself but hundreds of women from all over to have a life changing experience and having said that, I would like to say just how much I appreciate all Fresh Start has done for me and my family.”
- Spring 2010

"Living at the group home taught me so much and allowed me to open up. But most of all it allowed me to let people in, to let people love and care for me and my child and I have never felt that safe before. With the help of staff and a safe environment I was able to work through past problems so when my son came I would be able to raise him in love and show him love and today I am doing just that. I never thought that this would be my life, a life to be proud of and it’s because of you—your prayers and continued support from people who have never met me but believed in me. You touch my life in so many ways. I am a new person because of you and through all of your love and support you were able to touch the lives of so many families and for that I am forever grateful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
- May 2010