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On November 9th, I attended a Caritas School of Life charity event for addiction and mental health at Cavallino Wine Bar host by the 9-year-old Matthew Newman and his 12-year-old co-host Sofia Esposito. It was a packed event filled with attendees that showed nothing but love and support for this local cause. The event welcomed some inspirational speakers from the program and also the legendary Toronto Maple Leaf goalie, Mike Palmateer who was available for pictures and autographs in support of Caritas.
After the event, I had the opportunity to talk to Matthew about his involvement in this charity. His parents are strong believers in giving back and after discussing and researching several options, Matthew decided on a smaller more unknown organization that really needed attention. He was able to fully commit to his decision after meeting a 13-year-old boy by the name of Nick who suffered from a drug addiction and was in the process of successfully completing the program at Caritas. Meeting a young boy with such a serious addiction was an eye opener for Matthew who decided that he wanted to bring light to other youths that addiction can happen to anyone at any age. Matthew gets involved in Caritas through an annual CHIN Telethon, Gala and started his own event that is now in its second year. This year’s event raised a whopping $7,100 and he hopes to continue to grow this number to $10,000 next year. It was encouraging to see many young people in attendance, and I think that it is important to be open an honest with our children about addiction and mental health and take away the stigma associated with it. Matthew’s goal is to continue to spread awareness of Caritas through classroom reach-out initiatives and through a social media campaign that he will be launching.
Thank you, Matthew and Sofia, for your commitment and support in this important initiative that is, Caritas School of Life.
To learn more about Caritas or to donate, please visit their website at http://caritas.ca
Caritas School of Life – A Therapeutic Haven for Addiction and Mental Health
Addiction and mental illness has always been a growing concern that carries a strong stigma of shame and indignity. I recently learned about a 9 year boy, by the name of Matthew Newman and his 12 year old friend Sofia Esposito, organizing a local charity event in Vaughan to raise money and bring awareness to Caritas School of Life. I didn’t know much of this community program, but the fact this this young boy had had been inspired to get involved inspired me to learn about what this school of life was all about. I had the opportunity to meet with Silvana Tibollo, the policy and outreach coordinator for the program, and I was overwhelmed by everything she had to say during our meeting. Caritas was established around 1980 by a Toronto Priest, Fr. Gianni Carparelli, who was approached by a distraught mother looking to get help for her drug addicted son. He began his mission by organizing support groups for concerned parents and researching different European methods to aid in this undertaking. He learned that much of Europe had adopted a “Therapeutic Community” approach and returned to his home in Italy to learn more about these programs. He began to model his program against these Therapeutic Community’s methodologies and today Caritas offers support groups, day programs and a 24 month in-patient program.
Caritas stands for “an unlimited loving kindness to all others” and has been a Canadian registered charity since 1994. Caritas takes a holistic approach to healing individuals in this highly structured “Therapeutic Community” with a long-term care program at its core. As I listened more and more to the benefits of Caritas, I was intrigues by the fact that they believe that addiction is not a medical condition and that it can be treated through an acquired way of life. They offer a voluntary program, and no one is held there against their will; you have to want to commit and want to be helped. They assist in finding the underlying issues that prompt the poor choices that lead to substance abuse by addressing the human life as a whole, through bio-medical, social, psychological and spiritual needs. This holistic and spiritual approach is awe inspiring and with an 82% success rate I understand why they do what they do. Their residential program currently has 30 beds filled with people constantly trying to be a part of this program daily, the unfortunate part of it all, considering their success rate, is the fact that Caritas only gets $350,000 in government funding when they need nearly 1.2 Million to run their programs. They rely heavily on donations and fundraising events such as the local event being hosted by these two inspiring young people Matthew and Sofia on November 9th at 7pm at Cavallino War Bar in Woodbridge. The thing that is even more moving is that Caritas puts back 92 cents on every dollar received back into their programs; no big budget spending on outside resources, just a core commitment to help their residents get clean, understand mental illness and be able to cope and live on the outside without relapsing.
If you want to learn more about Caritas please visit their website at http://caritas.ca/
To learn more about the European and now International Therapeutic Communities that Fr. Gianni Carparelli modeled Caritas after visit SanPatrignano at https://www.sanpatrignano.com/ and http://ecad.net/images/SanPatrignano/Dianova_Italy_-_who_we_are.pdf
Tickets are still available for this fabulous fundraising event. I hope to see you there!
Caritas School of Life Fundraiser
Thursday, November 9th, 2017
Cavaliino Wine Bar
8077 Islington Ave
Woodbridge, ON L4L 7X7
Doors open at 7PM
Tickets are $75 – Includes Food, Beverages, Raffles and Door Prizes
Get more info through Instagram @newmaninitiative