Pat Hanlon

Key Worker, Phoenix Youth Shelter
Husband. Father. Golfer.

“I’ve been homeless, I was kicked out of home. I was the second youngest of nine kids and didn’t even finish high school. I had nothing at one point. I didn’t have the supports I needed around me. I managed to claw and hack my way through and managed to find my own success.

“I was a private butler for twenty years before I came to work at Phoenix. I’ve travelled to over 100 countries around the world. I’ve had so many experiences in so many different countries: bungee jumping in New Zealand, dove with sharks in the south Pacific, African safaris. I’m even one of the few people who have sea kayaked both above the Arctic Circle and below the Antarctic Circle.

“When my boss passed away, I knew that I had to continue working, even though I was financially stable - I was too young to stop working. After talking with my wife, I realized that I wanted to work with people who maybe weren’t as fortunate as I was. I hoped that I could do something meaningful by helping others and giving back.

“I can relate to youth when I’m here. I’ve been there before. I can understand them. In this job, we see crisis and we never know what each day will look like. But they are my motivation to come into work every day. Each day as an opportunity. I care about what happens to these youth.

“Recently one of our workers got a call from a former youth who had stayed here and was just about to make a big move - they wanted to thank me for what I did: for listening to them, for respecting them. I didn’t work with this youth directly, but something I did affected this youth. You realize with calls like this that we really are making a difference and that they carry a bit with Phoenix with them even when they move on.

“Working at Phoenix really feels like home to me, it’s my second home. Even when I’m not scheduled to work, I’ll come in and do maintenance. I love working here and it’s just a part of me. When I’m retired, I know that I will stay on with Phoenix and help out wherever I can.”

Pat started working with Phoenix in Spring 2012 at our Learning and Employment Centre, while on a student placement with NSCC’s Child and Youth program.

During this time, he also became a Relief Worker at the Shelter.  Pat continued working with us after his placement was done and has now become a Key Worker.