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
A first generation Italian Canadian with a love for food and the Italian Lifestyle.