Sharlene is a client of the Richmond Street Clinic, and has been living independently in the community for the last 10 years.
Her daily encouragement to others at the clinic was recently recognized at the third Annual Richie Awards on May 7, 2014.
“I won the award for peer support because I’m very friendly,” says Sharlene. “I go to the clinic every day, so when I go there, there’s a big reception area, I talk to everyone. I’m constantly making new friends, and helping when people are new to the clinic.”
“I just want everybody to feel like they have a sense of belonging - that’s my personal belief.”
That’s the belief behind the Richie Awards too, which recognized Sharlene and 19 other clients of the Richmond Street Clinic for their remarkable progress in the categories of: Road to recovery, art, education, vocation, spirituality, peer support and wellness.
“A lot of people know her,” says Sharlene’s occupational therapist, Joy-Ann Perry. “I nominated her because of the progress that she’s made. She’s done a lot of work - on her mental health, physical health, relationships, and her recovery in general.”
CAMH Occupational Therapist, Joy-Ann Perry
Joy-Ann says it’s important to show clients how far they’ve come.
“When you’re going one day at a time, you don’t really see the progress you’ve made, so it’s really important to highlight that for the clients on an event like today.”
It’s not only for the clients though, says Joy-Ann. It’s important for family members, friends, and for staff too.
“This is the reason why I do what I do, working with clients through the difficult times, through the good times,” says Joy-Ann. “It’s a privilege to come alongside them on their journey. We’re a guest in their lives, and they let us in to help them work on this process.”
Congratulations to all the nominees of the third annual Richie Awards - from this year and Richie Alum!
Learning about perseverance and hope
Joy-Ann says she’s learned a lot about perseverance from her clients.
“A lot of clients have had to deal with struggles that I can’t even imagine. I try and acknowledge that because I haven’t been in their shoes. So when I see some of the clients, how far they’ve come, that spirit of perseverance, I definitely learn about that. And hope. I’m definitely encouraged. This is a highlight!”
The Richie Awards are meant to celebrate the spirit of hope.
“It’s a recovery theme that underpins the Richie awards,” says CAMH CEO Catherine Zahn, who welcomed everyone attending the awards ceremony.
“The hope that tomorrow can be better, that life will get better, the hope that must inspire others to take heart while on their own pathway. It’s that same hope that inspires everyone at CAMH.
"I’m just happy to be here,” says Sharlene. “I love these kinds of ceremonies, and it’s really good for me to be here, and share with everybody.”
Sharlene (right) accepts her Richie Award for peer support; with Registered Practical Nurse, Letitia Francis (left)