By Lethbridge Herald on October 5, 2020.
The Streets Alive Mission’s flag was raised over city hall on Monday by an appreciative city for an organization who has been on the front lines serving Lethbridge’s homeless and vulnerable population for the past 30 years.
“Without you, I don’t know where we would be,” said Mayor Chris Spearman frankly. “It would be much worse in the downtown, and much worse in our city. You provide hope. You provide futures for people who are struggling. And the City of Lethbridge will always support you.”
MLA Nathan Neudorf called the faith-based organization a beacon of hope in a city which has it shares of troubles and problems in an increasingly darkening world.
“It is honour to speak at today’s occasion to recognize (founders) Ken and Julie Kissick, and all the work they have done for Lethbridge over the past 30 years. And, in fact, over their entire lives. On this the 30th anniversary of Streets Alive, it is fitting we take time to acknowledge and appreciate the way they have tirelessly served Lethbridge.”
The Kissicks, who were in attendance for the flagraising alongside some of their long serving staff and board members, appeared deeply moved by the Mayor’s and the MLA’s sincere and kind words.
“It doesn’t feel like 30 years,” Julie Kissick told reporters. “It has been such an adventure, and I have loved every minute of it, even the hard things. Thirty years– I look at now and I’m like ‘Holy cow, we made it!’ Other than that it is not really something I think about. There is so much need, and so much to do.”
Kissick said the backbone of Streets Alive Mission has always been a strong Christian faith which has continued to sustain them despite the grave challenges they face on a daily basis. Challenges which have only increased over the past few years.
“Things have gotten way worse,” said Kissick. “Back in the day when we started, it was alcohol and sniffing, and a little bit of heroin. And now once the meth hit the streets, we saw people really start to suffer with their addictions. That has brought a whole new kind of street life for them, and it’s a horrible life.”
However, Kissick also felt gratitude for the many people in Lethbridge who have helped them do their work, and who continue to help in so many different ways.
“We have seen incredible support through these tough times,” she said. “We trust God for it all.”
If she could wish for one thing, Kissick added, is that people in Lethbridge could be kinder to each other, especially toward those who are suffering through addiction and homelessness on the city’s streets.
“If we can have more kindness for them,” she asked. “I recognize the behaviours are a challenge to deal with. And I recognize as a society we struggle to understand. But if our first approach to them is love than everybody wins. But if our first approach to them is judgement, then everybody loses. And so we need to be willing to approach anybody with love first.”
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