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Helping those with trauma thrive again

“I think people generally don’t understand the level of pain the people we serve carry around with them in their daily life,” says Angela Crockwell, Executive Director of Thrive. “These are good people, unbelievably resilient people, who want to do the best they can do.”

But the people who come through Thrive’s doors are often in the grips of serious addictions, struggling with mental health issues, living on the streets, or experiencing exploitation in the sex industry. They’re disconnected from others in their daily lives and often feel judged—that is until they come in contact with Thrive and its staff.

A sanctuary for those struggling

Located right in the heart of St. John’s, NL, Thrive has been serving vulnerable people for over 19 years and relies on empathy and connection to change people’s lives every day.

“I think one of the immediate changes that people experience at Thrive is a sense of safety,” notes Crockwell. “They know this is a place that I can go, and they see me, and they don’t judge me, and they care for me. There’s not a lot of places like that for some of the people that we work with.”

Ron Johnson, one of Thrive’s participants, agrees, “There’s nothing that matches it. They are like a best friend. If you need someone and you have nobody, they are there for sure.”

Support tailored to each individual

Meaningful relationships and intense individual services are what really sets Thrive apart. “People don’t slink in and feel invisible,” says Shelby Arnold, one of Thrive’s Learning Facilitators. “They’re all a name and a face, and it’s about them and what they need and where they’re going. We’re just there to guide and support.”

This individualized support includes helping people navigate systems, taking them to appointments, court dates, food banks, and doctor’s appointments. “We recognize that intense level of support that people need and try to create a space where it is really about the person and not the program,” notes Crockwell.

Saving lives one person at a time

As Thrive’s programs grew to meet the needs they were seeing, its reputation grew too, eventually catching the attention of the Dollar A Day Foundation, which also had its beginnings in St. John’s. Founded by Alan Doyle, Brendan Paddick, and Dr. Andrew Furey, Dollar A Day’s mission is to support underfunded frontline mental health and addictions programs already doing exceptional work across Canada.

Thrive fit the bill beautifully.

As founder Alan Doyle notes, “The good folks at Thrive are literally, literally saving people’s lives every day.”
And it’s work that continues. On any given day in St. John’s, there’s a door on Water Street that opens onto safety and acceptance for those who need it most.

For more information about Thrive, please visit their website.