September 22, 2017
When Rashidi Yesufu started working at Phoenix four years ago, he was a residential program assistant. He remembers being in the admission office and meeting a gentleman who was desperate to enroll.
“We have a waiting period,” Rashidi says and, as a result, he wasn’t able to admit the man immediately. But he started making calls for him. “We were able to find him a safe place for housing that night,” Rashidi says and, eventually, the man was able to transfer into the Phoenix program. Now, a mere three years later, that man’s life is transformed, and he’s on track to transition to Rising Sun, Phoenix’s shared equity home ownership program.
That’s the kind of success story that makes Rashidi so grateful for the opportunity to work with the program. He earned his certification in addictions counselling from Vancouver Community College and is now a counsellor. In fact, while in school himself, he even did a research project on the Phoenix Society. “I was so impressed by the values and commitment,” he recalls.
Today, Rashidi appreciates not just the opportunity for residents but also for staff. “There’s a lot of personal development programs here,” he says. “Phoenix wants you to be the best employee you can be.” He notes that working with other people also gives him the chance to learn more about himself. “Your strengths and weaknesses really come to the forefront when working with others,” he says.
Rashidi thinks Phoenix is successful because the model is holistic, incorporating every facet of a person’s life —physical, mental, financial, educational and emotional as well as providing a supportive environment that is conducive to change. After a 90-day program, in most places, there’s nowhere else for people to go. But at Phoenix, there’s treatment followed by transitional housing and, after that, the chance for shared-equity home ownership.
“The Phoenix vision comes from a place of authenticity,” Rashidi says. “It’s very genuine. It’s a place that allows for growth in every sense of the word. People can learn from each other.
“You’d be hard pressed to find another place that has the kind of services that Phoenix has to offer.”