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About Restoring Hope

Our Story

In 2008, Jason Pino, one of the founders of Restoring Hope Ministries, was working as a full-time youth outreach worker. This allowed him the opportunity to spend countless hours on the streets of downtown Ottawa. Through his experiences working with homeless youth in Ottawa, he found that emergency shelter specifically for homeless youth was sorely needed in Ottawa and other cities in Canada.

So began a journey. After a lot of searching, hard work and perseverance, First Baptist Church (the “Church”) in Ottawa generously offered the use of space in the basement of their building, free of charge, for Restoring Hope Ministries to provide space for an overnight shelter and drop-in facility for youth in early 2013. The Church is conveniently located near the downtown core in Ottawa, which is within walking distance from where the majority of Ottawa’s homeless youth congregate. Restoring Hope Ministries was able to provide between 6 and 10 beds at this location, and initially began by operating the shelter one night per week with the goal to add more nights as funding and volunteers would become available.

Restoring Hope Ministries was able to introduce additional evenings and we now operate five nights per week, Fridays to Tuesdays. We provide comfortable, supportive emergency shelter space and drop-in programs to homeless and street-engaged youth within our city. We currently accommodate young men and women between the ages of 16 (the minimum legal age in Ontario) and 24. We operate as a minimal-barrier structure without a formal intake process, which allows youth to access the shelter even if they have lost ID or are otherwise in distress.

In 2018, we were able to introduce the Combining Our Resources Effectively (C.O.R.E) program. This is a bilingual program created to address the gaps in our current healthcare system, related to substance abuse and addiction. It is there to assist the youth in navigating the system and to facilitate transition during the waiting periods that they encounter prior to entering a detoxification or withdrawal treatment program.

This experience has allowed Restoring Hope Ministries to realize three very important gaps in the current system for support of vulnerable youth in our community.
1. Withdrawal Management Programs for youth;
2. Day Programs for women experiencing sexual exploitation;
3. Safe houses for women escaping human trafficking.

Which now brings forward the journey to start these new programs.

What drives us

Our Mission

Restoring Hope Ministries is guided by the Biblical principle of “loving our neighbours”. Our mission is to love and serve the youth and young adults in the Ottawa area who are experiencing homelessness, are marginalized and/or are exploited. We do this by providing physical, spiritual, emotional and mental support and by addressing specific problems faced by these youth so that they may discover their talents, their potential and their worth.

Our Three Core Values

Unconditional Love – We believe that love is the core of building trusting relationships. The power of love brings hope that is transformational. We choose to love people where they are at without expecting anything in return, in hopes that they will come to love themselves.

Compassionate Care – We believe that individuals experiencing hurt need to have specialized and individual care; therefore, we develop and implement programs and services to support them on their road to a healthier life. These programs will be developed with a holistic approach that promotes healing and hope for the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of each person.

Collaborative Community – We believe that it takes partnerships and collaboration with other individuals, families, organizations and churches within our community to succeed. We value the importance and worth of a community as we address the needs of those we serve. We will continue to learn, grow and deepen our awareness of issues related to the programs from one another.

Our People

Restoring Hope Ministries follows the common non-profit model where ministry partner organizations are formed by one or more Founders and supported by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board of Directors ensures that fiscal stewardship and transparency is maintained and upheld at all times. As a primarily donor-funded charity, we have a diverse portfolio of fundraising programs and revenue sources to ensure financial viability and reduce risk. We are continuously working toward developing lower-cost fundraising sources.

Jason Pino, Executive Director & Founder

Jason Pino is the Founder of Restoring Hope Ministries. He has been operating an emergency shelter for youth consistently since 2013. Before helping to start Restoring Hope Ministries, he worked with homeless and at risk youth for 18 years. His experience has been varied in working with youth in group homes, drop in centres, street outreach, emergency shelter and housing. His educational background is a B.A. and an associate’s degree in church ministry. He has experience in both frontline and management level work in the social work field. His deep passion, vast experience and skills gained brings the necessary to help lead these new initiatives with success.

Board of Directors

Chair – Valerie Bruyere

Valerie Bruyere was born and raised in rural areas of Ottawa. She was self-employed and worked as a real estate agent for over 15 years. During those years she volunteered with various non-for-profit organizations gaining a diverse array of experiences. More recently, she is working for the Federal Government as Head of Operations. She has held various church leadership positions such as Treasurer, Events Coordinator, and others while also serving as a facilitator and co-leader for various small groups such as “Marriage Oneness”, “Discipleship Explored” and more. Currently, she is actively involved at Peace Tower Church and volunteers with many non-profit organizations that seek to help the oppressed in our city and participates in various short term mission trips.

Secretary – Julie Shaw

Julie Shaw works as a Clinical Biochemist at The Ottawa Hospital and Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratories Association and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Julie is originally from Caledon Ontario and has also lived in Edinburgh, Scotland. Julie previously volunteered with the St. Bartholomew’s breakfast program in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood when she was living downtown Toronto and completing her PhD at the University of Toronto. Julie regularly attends The Meeting House and Grace Communion International. Julie’s husband, Fraser Henderson, is a Pastor for Grace Communion International and Julie plays a supportive role to Fraser in his Ministry.

Michelle D’Amico

Michelle D’Amico grew up in Southern Ontario and moved to Ottawa in 1989. She worked in the Federal Government in various managerial roles for 30 years, where she was an active member of the Federal Speaker’s Bureau on Mental Health. Michelle is currently working as the Executive Director of a not-for–profit organization (National Initiative on Eating Disorders). Michelle has a passion for youth, and has volunteered with a number of not-for-profit organizations that focus on improving the well-being of youth and young adults. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) and has been an active volunteer within her church community.