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Stories of Recovery Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Frank's Story

Putting talents to use helping others upgrade high school math skills

When you’ve been there and back, you can show others the way. Frank Nelson, Rainbow Program alumni, now uses his journey through addiction to help CAMH clients. As a volunteer in the LEARN program, Frank helps tutors about 14 students in math skills. Frank’s motivation for volunteering is simple: “It’s a state of giving that makes me feel good about myself,” he says of his involvement with the program where the challenge is finding the appropriate learning level for students spanning ages from late teens to early twenties.

Frank Nelson, who once received CAMH services himself, brings special insights to his volunteer work with current CAMH clients.
With an architecture degree and experience in high-end real estate finance, Frank worked in a high-pressure world that eventually led to addictions to cocaine and methamphetamines. He says, “It’s a trying time. You don’t feel like a full person,” and he adds, “With that kind of background, no one would give you a chance because of the stigma.” Now, with the help of CAMH, Frank has controlled his addictions and is enrolled in Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in addition to his volunteer work with CAMH clients.

About volunteering, Frank says, “It’s a great way to keep your mind active and positive.” The volunteer program has proven so valuable to him that Frank now actively encourages his friends to get involved. “It’s something to answer to,” he says, “A reason to get up in the morning.” Frank also donates his time to a summer camp program where he leads workshops on ceramics and mosaics, acrylic painting and candle making.

If you’re interested in volunteering at CAMH, or know someone who is, contact the Director of Volunteer Resources at (416) 535-8501 ext. 4053.

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