The Kitchener-Waterloo Overcoming Obstacles Handbook

Local resources. Inspiring stories. Practical advice.

Whether it’s physical, financial, professional or psychological, everybody goes through tough times in their lives. Josh Martin was 28 years old when he experienced his biggest challenge yet: an aggressive form of leukemia. Inspired by his journey, the Overcoming Obstacles Handbook is a free collection of real-life stories, practical advice and local resources in the Kitchener-Waterloo area geared at helping people who are facing adversity.

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Video features

Blood donors: helping others

Ten years ago, cancer almost killed me. Blood donors saved my life. And for that, I just wanted to say thanks.

Practicing gratitude

Gratitude. What’s so special about it, and how can we cultivate more of it in our lives to help us through tough times?

Life is awesome. Life is awful.

Sometimes life is an ice cream sundae smothered in chocolate. Other times it’s a flurry of kung-fu kicks to the gut.

Letting go

When my sister Meghan got stuck in the mud, she learned a valuable lesson about the importance of letting go.

Community resources in Kitchener-Waterloo

One of the most important lessons Josh learned from his health crisis was the importance of community. Whether it was accessing peer support programs, using the Cancer Society’s shuttle service to get to appointments or tapping into educational materials from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, community resources played a big role in his success.

Whatever obstacle you face in life — personally, professionally or otherwise — be sure to consider the resources available in your community. Fortunately, the Kitchener-Waterloo area boasts all kinds of organizations and programs focused on helping folks overcome a variety of obstacles.

Below, you’ll find information about some of them. This listing is by no means exhaustive, but it will hopefully give you a flavour of the kinds of resources available in your own backyard.

Physical health

Alzheimer’s Society Waterloo Wellington

Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank

Canadian Cancer Society – Waterloo-Wellington

CCAC of Wellington-Dufferin
(home and community care)

The Food Bank Of Waterloo Region

HopeSpring Cancer Support Centre

Hospice Of Waterloo Region

Nutrition For Learning
(student nutrition programs)

Families and individuals

Community Justice Initiatives
(conflict resolution, sexual trauma support, assistance for women and youth returning to the community from prison)

Extend-a-Family Waterloo Region
(support and services for families and individuals with developmental and/or physical disabilities)

Family & Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region

Family Counselling Centre of Cambridge & North Dumfries

Heartwood Place
(safe, affordable housing)

House of Friendship of Kitchener
(addiction, community and family services)

Kitchener-Waterloo Counselling Services

KW Habilitation
(programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities)

KW Multicultural Centre
(services and support for New Canadians, immigrants and refugees)

Learning Disabilities Association Of Ontario, Kitchener-Waterloo

Marillac Place
(safe home and support for young women who are pregnant, parenting or attempting to regain care of their child)

Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region
519-741-8633 (24-hour support line)

Women’s Crisis Services Of Waterloo Region

YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo

YWCA Kitchener-Waterloo

Employment and financial

John Howard Society Of Waterloo Wellington
(crime prevention, employment services)

The Literacy Group
(development in reading, writing, math, computer and workforce skills)

(mental health, employment and housing services)

The Working Centre
(unemployment and poverty programs)

Want to help others in your community overcome obstacles? Here are few local opportunities to consider:

Volunteer Action Centre KW
(volunteer opportunities)

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kitchener-Waterloo And Area

Canadian Blood Services Clinic
94 Bridgeport Rd E, Waterloo
(blood and platelet donations)

Habitat for Humanity Canada
(building homes in the community for people in need)