BRAMPTON – Life is a journey and for Pastor Jamie Holtom, his mission in life is to make sure children and families of the Ardglen community in Brampton are on the right path.
“A neighborhood like this, all cities have them,” says Holtom. “We’ve become more aware of a neighbourhood like Ardglen that just needs some TLC — great people that live here just need some support and some help.”
He founded The Journey, a neighbourhood centre that opened its doors in November 2013. The centre is committed to bringing hope and transformation to this challenged, east-end community by walking alongside children, youth and their families as they begin to take positive steps in their lives.
“We do anything here,” says nine-year-old Sienna Frias, a participant at The Journey. “This is like, kind of our community family.”
In a short time, a number of programs have been implemented at the centre — a homework club, community potlucks, cooking classes and parenting classes, to name a few. And of course, there is a kids’ zone where arts and crafts are a must.
“When I moved here from Halifax, The Journey wasn’t the biggest thing to me, because I didn’t live in the community,” says Ezekiel Dire, a past participant at the centre who now volunteers.
“It was just another place where I could go, get volunteer hours, waste time. But then I moved into the community – it just motivated me to come here more, see all those people and help more youth.”
Holtom says The Journey serves as more than just a safe haven for these residents. It instills purpose and hope in the lives of those who need it the most.
“I think when people are struggling, you feel forgotten and you feel nobody knows about you. I think Ardglen’s on the map and there’s a sense of people feeling valued, people feeling that they matter and with that comes hope and hope can do amazing things.”