Image Credit: Ernest Doroszuk
"These guys come every Thursday night and they sing their hearts out," says Cathy Randall of Community Living Toronto. "They fill in song sheets and sing away! For those who can't read, I get up there and join in with them. I howl away and we all have a great time. It doesn't matter if they make mistakes. Everyone joins in and old songs get new lyrics. These guys can't go into a bar to sing karaoke so we offer it at our drop-in centre and we make a night of it. I know there's a big emphasis on integration these days, but sometimes our guys need some space where they can be out in the community but in a place where they can feel totally at home.
"Some of our guys live alone or in a group home or with their parents. Our drop-in centre is a place they can call their own. They hang out together; they have a snack bar stocked with their favourite food. They watch movies, play foosball and video games, and a few try their luck at the pool table. But for most of them, karaoke is the biggest hit. Singing and laughing: it's something we all need in life."