Scott Cronkwright would like to say a big “thank you” for the scholarship that brought him to the Poverty Reduction Summit in Hamilton last week.
“Please pass on how grateful I am for this opportunity,” he said during a break between sessions at the summit.
As someone who has experienced homelessness, Scott said the summit was a stepping stone for him in the process of rebuilding and refocusing his life.
“I’m the face of what you are working for,” he told the audience on the last day of the summit, briefly sharing his story in the closing moments.
Scott was a successful businessman whose life spiralled downhill after he had major surgery. Given opiate painkillers, he became addicted. The drugs eased the unresolved emotional pain that stemmed from being sexually abused when he was young, he said.
Addiction led to loss of his family and business. He ended up living in a park for a while. An outreach by a church shelter program helped him begin his re-integration into community life.
Still getting back on his feet, Scott said he was able to attend the Cities Reducing Poverty summit thanks to the Be A Light scholarship fund. The learning opportunities at the summit had exceeded his expectations, he said, and had given him an abundance of information to share with others.
Although he used to work in business, “I’ve changed my entire focus to community advocacy,” he said. He is setting up a foundation to address homelessness, addiction, and mental health, and plans to launch an awareness-raising campaign.
If you would like to contribute to the scholarship fund to help someone like Scott attend a future event, your contribution would be very welcome (please donate here).