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I received this message from Claire McConnell and asked her if I could help by posting it on this site.  You may remember Claire, she did an amazing blog series for EENet  called "The Journey Stays With Me". Here is a small excerpt of her descriptor of the blog series.   "I’m also a parent of someone whom the literature would describe as a “concurrently disordered transgendered transitional age youth”. This person was Rachel and is now Tim.  We took a terrible journey with her, through her mental illness, addiction, trauma and oh-so-painful struggles. The journey stays with me. I think I have a unique perspective, as I am both a “professional” in the system, and a parent who tried hard to navigate and negotiate it. Through the stress of it all, I also became a consumer myself. Tim is now well and flourishing, as is the rest of the family.However, six years after this journey started, I still think about the lessons and the learnings that came out of it for me. This blog is a great opportunity to share some of these, in hopes that they may influence others, and cause them to stop and think about their own work within the system."

This is Claire's ask below:

Pieces to Pathways (P2P) is a peer-led initiative creating Canada’s first substance use support program for LGBTTQQ2SIA youth 16 to 29 years old in Toronto.

As some of you know, my son Tim and his friend Geoff, with some help from me, have (with the help of one time funding [twice] from the TC LHIN) have been working on researching and meeting the needs of LGBTQ youth aged 16-29 living in Toronto who want help with their substance use.  We started this project in December 2014: its name is Pieces to Pathways (P2P) and it’s Canada’s first program of this kind.  For those of you who haven’t heard about the project, its website is and they also have a Facebook page, for which you can sign up and ‘like’ and you’ll be updated regarding the amazing work they are doing.  I am so very proud of both of them.  They are housed at Breakaway Addiction Services in the west end of Toronto.

In addition, last week two articles were published about them – please follow links:

Their work has been very well received by the broader community.  The Toronto Drug Strategy Implementation Committee has written a letter of support to the TC LHIN.  The program presented yesterday at the Rainbow Health Ontario conference, and will be presenting in May at the Addictions and Mental Health Ontario conference.

Sadly, the funding runs out at the end of this month and the LHIN has made no commitment to future funding, although they have expressed general support of the initiative.  We are applying for grants like crazy (Laidlaw Foundation, Bell Let’s Talk, Trillium – to name but a few) but those take time to come through (even assuming we were to be successful), so after the end of March they’ll keep going on donations and a shoestring budget.  They intend to continue providing case management to their 17 clients until the end of April, but won’t be able to continue this until they can secure more funding. 

So I have a favour to ask.  I really hate to ask for money, but I’m doing it anyway.  If you are able make a donation,, no matter how small, it would be so very greatly appreciated. In addition, if you know of anyone who might have any interest in making a donation, would you mind forwarding this e-mail to them?  Donations are to be made out to Breakaway Addiction Services, with a note that it’s for Pieces to Pathways, and mailed to:

Geoff Wilson, Pieces to Pathways, Breakaway Addiction Services, 21 Strickland Ave, Toronto ON M6K 3E6.

Or donations can be made online by following this link

The other thing we are looking for is connections with journalists who would like to write about the program/talk about it on the radio etc., and anyone “important”, e.g. those working in the entertainment industry, academia etc., who could endorse the program.  I am determined that this program WILL keep going and am just trying to explore all options with everyone I know.  It’s so important and has already proved itself in its short time of existence.

Thanks for reading!  Hope everyone is well.



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