Good Shepherd Ministries remains at the service of the poor and homeless of our City. In response to COVID-19, Good Shepherd Ministries has reduced its meal program to offer bagged lunches from 2 – 4 pm. The organization is taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of everyone who enters and uses its facilities in adherence to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Contact 416.869.3619 or for more information.

Our Stories

"If I had left treatment with nowhere to go, I don’t know if I’d be here now."

Terry Bertram, author of the story, in the dining room at Good Shepherd Centre.
Terry Bertram, 2014

I was born in Toronto in the 1980s. My mother passed away when I was 3 years old. I didn’t have a father figure at the time. I moved from one uncle to another.

Around age nine or ten I started being a troubled child – aggressive, lying, manipulative. By age 11, I went to a group home, where I stayed until I was about 14 or 15. Then I entered a youth gang and that’s where my career of drugs and alcohol began.

I started on the road to recovery in 2004, just after my brother was killed by the police during a break and enter. I dealt with the pain by using drugs. I was living in the shelter system, getting into trouble with the police. Then in 2007, I couldn’t live my life anymore.

I entered detox and did treatment, but relapsed. In 2008, I found Good Shepherd, and entered the DARE Program through Toronto East General. I came here, and I was here six months. I wanted to stay and stay without going to treatment. One day Steve, the DARE Manager, sat me down and said “You’re going to treatment tomorrow.” Instead, I went and took a bed at another shelter, and I started using drugs and alcohol again.

Then I tried the geographic cure – I went to Calgary and entered a treatment program there. I thought I could get away from my addictions, but of course I came back. I just went right back to the beginning. I was banned from community housing, living in a ravine.

Then in 2013, a friend of mine died of a drug overdose. I went down to the bottom of the ravine and cried, asking why she had to die.

I looked up and saw two baby deer down at the bottom of the ravine. I felt it was a sign. I tried one more time. I called a place where I had done treatment before, and they took me in. July 1, 2013, is my sober date.

But I needed somewhere to go after I finished treatment, so I called Steve, the DARE Manager. I told him, “I’m doing good, but I need some place to live until my spot opens at the St. Vincent de Paul house.” He said “Come.”

When I came to DARE in October 2013, I had a whole new attitude. I was more helpful. Instead of trying to work the system, I worked with the system. I helped take other guys to meetings.

The staff here helped me keep focused on recovery. Everyone had faith in me this time because I showed that I was in recovery.

Recovery takes a complete lifestyle change. I can’t change just one thing, and not the others. I had to change my attitude, the way I present myself, the way I treat others. You have to treat others with respect. Because I was that homeless guy in the line once, I treat them the way I wanted to be treated back then.

Good Shepherd saved me. If I had left treatment with nowhere to go, I don’t know if I’d be here now.

Now I focus on the positive aspect of life, and I have God in my life. I let God drive my bus, because every time I drove my own bus, it got stopped.

I am working on recovery. I’m the house rep at the St. Vincent de Paul house where I live. I help other people in recovery to stay focused. I go to the aftercare meeting every week at Good Shepherd.

I figure, Good Shepherd saved me, maybe I can save someone else.

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