|PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN|
Thursday, May 7, 2015
SECOND IN A SERIES from *Working For Change.
In it’s day, Regent Park was a model community. This is where Stacey Bowen grew up. Her first floor bedroom never had bars on the windows. It was a good and safe community then. Time passed, things changed, and so did she.
Stacey, an irrepressible firecracker, is filled with confidence and a love for creative writing. She is a different person now. Crack used to be Stacey’s refuge. Looking back, she just shakes here head at who she was.
The turning point came when one of her young daughters asked, “What’s wrong with you?”. Stacey thought she had hidden her demons. “There is this moment of clarity when you really see what your life is,” she says of her 18-year habit. “I was trying to protect my children and it turned out I was the enemy. I broke down”.
Stacey attended Voices From The Street, a programme run out of Working For Change, a Toronto non-profit organization. It changed her life. “It made me look at myself as a whole being. You have to be honest or you will fail.”
She has been clean a long time now. She has worked to break the cycle of a family who has for generations been on social assistance. She earned a diploma in counselling from George Brown College and she has lectured at drug treatments centres. She also works as an empowerment councillor for the CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health). Stacey has also returned to her love of writing where she is enjoying telling stories and using her own experiences to help others.
STACY FUN FACT: Despite the challenges in her life, Stacey has an infectious laugh and overflows with optimism.
*Working For Change provides education and employment opportunities for people disadvantaged by mental illness, addiction issues, poverty, homelessness, violence and newcomer/immigration challenges. For more formation, please visit www.workingforchange.ca With files from Leslie Scrivener