Toronto-based singer songwriter, Desiire, reflects on his experience over 20 years ago, as a young immigrant child from the democratic republic of Congo, seeking shelter at the Red Door with his mother and siblings.
"My single mother and my 4 siblings left our country in search of a new life here in Canada. We arrived in Canada with nothing but the clothes on our back plus hopes and dreams. With no where to live and no one to turn to, we settled into the Red Door shelter in the east end of Toronto. We were fed, we were clothed, were taken care of, we were loved by a staff and community that would first started off as strangers, and as our 3 month stay continued, these people became our family, our security blanket and our hope.
As a 12 year old, dealing with new changes both emotionally and socially, never once did I feel out of place. Never once did I feel like I was lacking. The daily after school program provided a place for me to meet other kids like me and although we were all from very different parts of the world, with different experiences and backgrounds, we were all united by the love and support we felt from the Red Door shelter community. Times were hard and times were difficult but being surrounded with so much love and support helped make a better life for ourselves.
I wrote the lyrics to my very first song inside the halls of the shelter and today my journey as a songwriter continues but I will never forget where it all began. I can confidently say that my family and I would not be who and where we are without the incredible support of the Red Door Family.
Last year, I was invited to a music studio session in the east end of Toronto to start recording my first album. As I drove into the studio compound, I realized that this music studio was in fact in the exact same space as the location of the Red Door Shelter. This to me, was in an incredible full circle moment. I got to live my childhood dream of being a singer in the exact same place and in the same halls as it started. This was an incredible experience.
To all of the staff, donors and volunteers here. Thank you so much for everything you do. Thank you for making countless families' lives better. You changed mine and my family’s. I am the product of all of your hard work, love and dedication."
Donate now to give help and hope to children and families at the Red Door Shelter today.