Yellowknife healing group to begin meeting Thursday
Group sharing sessions aim to overcome abuse, trauma, and addictions
Trevor Kasteel was 13 the day his father died. That was when the abuse started, from a family friend entrusted to take care of him.
"At the lowest point in my life, that's when he took advantage of me," says Kasteel.
The abuse lasted seven years, and the reverberations continued throughout his life. But several years ago, Kasteel was introduced to former Calgary Flames star Theo Fleury, whose Breaking Free Foundation offers support to survivors of abuse and trauma.
Through group counselling, Kasteel told his story and began to heal, and now he wants to bring that healing to people in need in Yellowknife, where he has lived for 45 years.
"You need to talk first in order to start healing," he says. "There's not nearly enough of that happening."
'I have to do this'
Kasteel says he has had support from YK Dene First Nations and the Tlicho government, as well as from the Department of Health and Social Services. According to Kasteel and co-organizer Dan Hosfeld, health minister Glen Abernethy has agreed to send staff members to the first meeting, and to make a mental health professional available to the group as well.
Hosfeld and Kasteel met at a yard sale Kasteel was holding to benefit ALS research. They believe they are providing a service that is much needed in Yellowknife.
"I see that there's quite a few individuals that can be helped," says Hosfeld. "In fact I think there's a need just about anywhere, because there's so many people that have gone through abuse, or gone through hardship."
The first meeting takes place Jan. 25 at 3 p.m. at the Calvary Community Church.
The pair hope to eventually expand the service, potentially even as far as having their own physical space. For now, however, Kasteel is content to share his story and invite others to do the same.
"Realistically, I know I have to do this," he says. "I have to help people."