Gordon was born in Lac La Ronge, located in Saskatchewan, and home to one of the largest First Nation Reserves in the province. In 1977, he was sent to the Children’s Aid Society and placed for adoption as part of Saskatchewan’s “Adopt Indian and Métis” program. This program was in operation during the period known in Canada as the “Sixties Scoop” and was aimed at increasing the number of adoptions of First Nations and Métis children into non-Indigenous families. Gordon recalls: “We were broadcast on TV. Each child was given an ID number with a phone number for interested families to call. So, my family saw me, called the number and I moved to Peterborough, Ontario and stayed there.”
As a child, people believed that Gordon was illiterate because he could not read or write in English. However, this could not have been further from the truth. What people did not understand was that Gordon was fluent in Cree. “That was the beginning of people thinking I was slow. But I wasn’t slow at all.” In fact, Gordon was a voracious learner and craved information on a wide variety of topics. His grandmother, Hazel Dunford, who was his first mentor, would eventually be the person to teach him how to read and write in English.
During his adulthood, Gordon traveled throughout Canada and arrived in British Columbia in 1999. After spending some time in BC’s Southern Interior and Bancroft, Ontario, Gordon moved to Vancouver in 2019. While staying at a shelter nearby, one of his friends invited him to check out Mission Possible’s Power Breakfast so that he could get a warm meal and begin to find more community within Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
The Power Breakfast sparked his interest and upon coming to Mission Possible’s office, he was impressed to see the level of professionalism and respect from the staff and other associates. Once he completed the required steps, Gordon started work on the Clean Team and found that his favorite part about working at MP is being able to interact and connect with the other associates. Building friendships with his coworkers and sharing their stories makes showing up for work more meaningful.
Not only did he find a community and a supportive environment to thrive, but he found purpose and was empowered to make a positive impact in his community.
As a Downtown Eastside resident, he appreciates seeing the impact of MP on the community firsthand. Gordon shares that the Employment Readiness Program has changed his life! Now with a source of income, he is no longer houseless and can focus on building a secure financial foundation. Coaching has been the most helpful resource of the program for Gordon as his coach supports him as he reflects on his well-being and visualizes his goals. He enjoys that each month, they can check in with his goals and keep him accountable.
One of his main goals was to find further employment and he enthusiastically took on that journey. While working for the Clean Team, he got familiar with MP Neighbours and its Coordinator, J Hockley. He worked hard to pass the Basic Security Training course, as well as a number of other trainings so that he could apply for a position with this team. He is happy to share now that he is a Lead Patroller with MP Neighbours and a part of their permanent staff. He’s proud to be the successful applicant and loves that he is able to help make a positive difference in the DTES.
Gordon is also in the process of writing an autobiography, focusing on the various kind souls who he says have helped him throughout his life to become the person he is today. He also has big dreams of starting a social enterprise one day to employ individuals who face traditional barriers to employment and help them reach their full potential, something that he cherishes about Mission Possible.
Gordon believes that when coming to MP, you can leave your doubts about not being qualified enough at the door. He shares, “Because once you do that... it will open up an opportunity for you to get back into employment... and that allows you to build your confidence and see your own strengths.”
Transformations, like Gordon's, are only possible because you have helped give people a chance. Thank you for supporting Mission Possible and making a difference.