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By Shannon Wise

On any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental illness or addiction.

Thirty-two-year-old Glen Kurti, who started as a volunteer with The Salvation Army, happens to be that 1 in 5.

After years of highs and lows, and struggles with relationships, Kurti was recently diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and credits the Healthy Homes Program for the support he’s received during this difficult and challenging time.

“It’s a no judgement, safe zone. People here have daily struggles. It’s a healthy, team building experience and a lot of fun,” said Kurti. “It’s a luxury we have this program.”

The goal of the Healthy Homes Program is to promote healthy living through educating participants in an interactive way so that they can take the information they have learned and apply it to everyday life.

"Don't be ashamed of what you're going through."

The eight week workshops include physical activities such as floor hockey, street soccer, and volleyball. Clients also learn healthy eating habits, participate in cooking classes, budgeting classes and even gardening.

"The hope is that people leave this program with more education around healthy lifestyle and basic life skills,” said Val Beneteau, Healthy Homes Worker with Community and Family Services at the Centre of Hope in London.

Kurti already has the education part down. A graduate of the University of Waterloo, Kurti had a very successful engineering career and was also a coach in the community–two of his passions he hopes become a part of his life again soon.

Beneteau says most people participating in the program are looking for work, a second job, or in Kurti’s case, unable to work for a period of time.

From volunteer to client, Kurti is still looked at as a leader, and now a part of the Healthy Homes Active for Life family.

“Don’t be ashamed of what you’re going through or what stage of life you’re in,” Kurti said. “It’s an opportunity to connect and relate to similar struggles. They (participants) expect me to come - a five-minute conversation makes a big difference.”

Shannon Wise is the Public Relations & Development Representative of the Ontario Great Lakes Division of The Salvation Army. You can reach Shannon at 519. 873. 2982 or by E-mail:

For more information contact Community and Family Services:
281 Wellington Street
London, On
...or click HERE