Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown

Thursday, April 27, 2017

GET SCHOOLED! Kim Reid's Class Visit at Bishop's University!

Mr. Kim Reid
Pic © Harry Zgnilek
On Tuesday March 28, 2017 Mr. Kim Reid – Founder/Operator of On Rock Community Services drove all the way to Bishop's University from Montreal to speak to my students. Enrolled in SOC292 Social Policy, the course is an introduction to the sociological study of social policy in the Canadian context and among many things, examines civil society in relation to a rapidly changing policy context. Students acquired a broad understanding of Canadian social policy in the context of a “globalized” world. Various case studies were used to highlight the different policies that affects us both directly and indirectly. The latter included tackling child poverty and homelessness in Quebec. Thus, given Kim's extensive experience in these areas of working with children and adults in need, it made him the perfect guest speaker.

Kim Reid - On Rock Community Services
Picture © West Island Chronicle
I met Kim a year ago when he came to give a talk to another group of students I was teaching at the time. He is instantly likeable and comes off as a no nonsense kind of guy. Tough love best describes his approach to life and it serves him and anyone who he considers a friend well. When not working at On Rock Community Services he also supports and contributes to charity groups like Riders Against Hunger, a motorcycle charity in support of On Rock Community Services. Best described as humble, there is no denying that Kim is a cut above the rest!

What Does On Rock Do You Ask?

  • They provide groceries to 200 + families each week. 
  • They run a dinner twice a week where a family can come have a healthy meal. 
  • They Run a school snack / lunch program for children.
  • They serve as a safe and friendly place for people in the community to socialize.
"On Rock Community Services is a community organization committed to making a difference in the Montreal area by being a resource for people in the community. This takes various forms, including a Food Bank, a School Lunch Program, and a Community Diner. ... Kim has a BA. From Concordia University in Applied Social Science. He has worked with adolescents for 33 years. Before founding ORM Kim worked for 14 years as a Child Care Worker with juvenile delinquents. He was responsible for designing clinical treatment plans, counselling of youth and families and teaching life skills. Kim does consulting on drop-in centre development with various organizations and groups seeking to start centres." (On Rock Community Services Website, 2017)

Kim Reid - Supporter of Riders Against Hunger
Pic © Kim Reid
Credentials aside, students found themselves hanging on Kim's every word. His openness to questions and to talking about his colourful career left us in awe at the remarkable life that Kim has led all of these years in his pursuit of helping others. So much so that I have no doubt that as he reads this he undoubtedly wishes that I would focus my review on those whom he credits for making On Rock successful - the hard working men and women who volunteer their time, patience and hearts towards a greater good. It is true, without them he wouldn't be able to do what he does so well. However, On Rock Community Services wouldn't even have been possible without his determination to put the needs of the many before the needs of the one. Mr. Reid is the heart and backbone of On Rock. In the spirit of sharing and giving, below are several student reviews of the venerable Mr. Reid.

Student Reviews 

First off, thank you so much for coming to talk to the class this semester! You are an inspiring individual! I also saw the B.A.C.A presentation last semester that you also took part in; your love for children and those in need is tremendous, it is truly amazing. These issues that you brought forward this semester in Mario’s Social Policy class, were both upsetting and eye-opening. The work you did to help those in need, is for sure hard to do, but you seem to make it sound so easy. I believe that what you are doing for the greater good of society, should be a step that everyone takes. By helping those in need, I would assume, makes them feel like they have a purpose, makes them feel like they have a place and are accepted in society. The world is a cruel place, we have seen this with the issues in Syria, now with Trump choosing to comb them, etc. It seems like we cannot escape the horrendous acts of some people; however, by doing what you do, you are making someone's life better! If only more people could have a heart as big as yours to want to help and create change. The passion you seem to have for what you do is astonishing. From the children who have suffered abuse, to the Youth Centres and the Food Bank, you really have done it all for those who need help. We need more people like you to spread the love and passion that you have for these projects. We need more people like you running for Government and creating change in order to better society, and to make sure that all people ‘fit-in’. We need more people like you to demonstrate that love is not only a factor of close-knit relationships, but can be spread throughout and among different individuals. We need more people like you to want to help those in need. And we need more people like you to stop the stigma and stereotypes related to, not only ‘special care’ counselling and youth, but to stop the stigma around those in need, the ones on social welfare, etc. who are run-down by society because we are too cruel to accept people who are ‘different’. Thank you again for all you mentioned and sharing your passion and absolutely beautiful heart with our class! Keep doing what you are doing Mr.Reid, you are making a difference for someone everyday! It might not seem like a lot, but it is humane, it is love, and it is remarkable! 
- Laura Battley 

Your presentation was astonishing. The work you do is from the heart which is rare to see in such a confusing world. I was blown away by the amount of love and dedication you put forward to helping others. I know I don’t just speak for myself, but the entire class, you are an inspiration. The work you put forward in society is so much greater than I’m sure you even acknowledge. From your anecdotes I can tell that in your community you have assisted and bettered the lives of so many people. Your community is lucky to have you and we were lucky to have the opportunity to listen and speak with you tonight. Thank you for being the amazing person you are in the world and sharing that with us tonight.  I will take what I learnt from you tonight and continuously apply it to my life to try to assist all that come my way in my present and future. Thank you again,  
- Nicolette Tsavdaris

I wanted to thank you for having taken the time to speak to my classmates and myself at Bishop's University on the outstanding, wonderful community work you are have done and still doing. Your self-determination, will-power, confidence, kind heart is inspirational. I have not seen anyone who takes his work to heart as you do. I almost cried with you when you talked about the poor treatment of those in need, and the importance to treat people equality, no matter their life stories. What touched me the most with your story was how you were able to give these people, who were being treated like they were no one, some form of hope and dignity. By the end of the day, all that mattered was helping, feeding, and loving them.  I also appreciate how you have enlightened my classmates and I on real matters that are not in textbooks. Textbooks do not have emotions; they are simply used to describe a situation, problem or provide some form of information. School does, in some way, disconnect or detach many people from reality and society itself. In my point of view, students are constantly competing with one another in academic work. By the end of the day, passing or high grades is all that matters to most of us. Sometimes I have the impression that we forget how to help one another, care for one another, and love one another. Your presentation probably made some people open their eyes on the importance of community work. I have a feeling these people, along with myself, donate or volunteer to organizations, such as your kind of organization. For me personally, you are my motivation to finish my degree and head straight into the social services. I am aiming to work with people in conflict with the law (not putting them in jail), help people with drug addictions, or youth labelled as "delinquents". I don't know exactly where I'm heading, but time will tell. Keep up the great work! Never let people bring you down (Yeah, I know, you mentioned it several times not to let others try to destroy you). What marked me with your story was the little victories working in the community work. Plus, the importance of making people feel a little better in their lives, giving them love to both people in need and those who volunteers. You are probably one of the only, if not only, organization that care about and respect their volunteers. Having been a volunteer, I have experienced disqualification for lack of experience and complete disrespect. Due to these experiences, I have not been very willing to become a volunteer. What I loved about your organization is the lack of competitive behaviour, and helping even other organizations in need. I swear my jaw dropped. You are a god. I love your opposition to social norms and expectations. In the end, it makes you who you are, and the reason why your organization has grown, expanded, and evolved.  I will have to come into your community and volunteer to help. You are my idol.  
- Sara Poirier

I just wanted to take a moment and write to you to thank you for the presentation that you gave. It was very inspiring to see you talk about all the work you’ve accomplished and how many lives you have changed. I don’t believe in randomness and you clearly changed my life as well.  You actually reminded me of The Little Prince from Saint-Exupéry and more specifically of what he said in the chapter 21:  “To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you--the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or ever sometimes when she said nothing”.  Just as the little prince finally understands, if you want a friend, you have to “tame” him/her. And by doing so, you realize that this person is unique and special. And that our actions mean much more than just what our eyes can see. We then realize that because we give a bit of our time to someone, this someone becomes our friend, because we “tamed” him/her, because ‘taming” is part of our imagination and our love that we put in things and people.  I know that people don’t really take the time to thank you or that some even makes your work harder to do. But I know they all wish they could be as kind and as courageous as you are. Giving to people without expecting something in return is something that everyone should learn to do. Because I know that a smile can save a life, as simply as it can seem. You gave back to people their dignity and a glimpse of what happiness is and how life is worth living for. And just because of that, we all are thankful forever.   Lastly, I would like to wish you all the best in what you do. I couldn’t say it enough and thank you enough for your kindness and courage. By changing people’s lives, you also change the world and maybe, after all, the world will learn from you. Cause I did and I know that my peers in class also did. Your words are as powerful as your actions and they change my life forever. And I know that they will stay in people’s minds and hearts. You made me understand that you don’t have to go everywhere around the world to travel. You just have to meet someone and “tame” that person because meeting someone and giving our time to that person and learning to know more and help someone is a travel in itself. 
- Valérie Huot

In one of our SOC292 class, we had the privilege to welcome a guest speaker, Mr. Kim Reid. Our professor mentioned that a very interesting person was invited to talk to us about his experience as a social worker and that was all I knew about Mr. Reid. Hence, you can imagine my surprise as I walked in the classroom and saw an imposing man sitting on a desk facing the classroom, wearing all black with visible skull rings on his fingers. I first thought of a biker, a true Canadian biker and I was impressed but couldn’t relate this person to the class whatsoever. I assumed he was a friend from the biking days of our dear teacher Mr. Corbin.  As Mr. Kim Reid began talking, I realized that his voice was a bit shaky from time to time. I wasn’t sure what he was here for and what he possibly could want to tell us, seeing how nervous he was. However, Mr. Reid got my full attention the moment he said he was desperately trying to find ways to reach to kids and support them in any ways possible by setting up care centers for adolescents and kids. He mainly explained the issues he was faced with when dealing with authorities and institutionalized norms of running such care centers.  In other words, Mr. Reid had his own way of seeing things, of how he wanted to run his place and for that I think most of the class could feel how serious and passionate he was about this project. I was inspired, and the more he told us of his journey from a care center to a food distribution center all thanks to a completely unrelated request from one of Mr. Reid’s numerous acquaintances.  This is something quite personal that I am about to describe but hearing Kim’s story from the beginning to where he is at today, I was in awe, man. I could see how Kim radiated with positive energy when he told us of the hard and the good times of his journey. Helping people in need, it’s what drives him, it’s his passion and he has been dedicated all along. For me, the way events unfolded for him over and over is beautiful and truly inspiring, because he kept on believing in finding solutions. No solution means no problems. I’m still in awe. I am not assuming it was all easy and predictable, but in times where I am desperately trying to find my calling, such stories are powerful and perfect role models. I could elaborate more on how inspiring Mr. Kim Reid was to me but it mainly revolves around one thought; he believed in his ideals and did not back down whenever life would try to bring him down. This how he got where he is by employing hundreds of volunteers in various food distribution centers by starting with (almost) nothing. This is why I would like to say to Mr. Reid: “Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your story has truly inspired me in believing once more in my dreams!” I hope to hear more about Mr. Reid in the future and wish him all the best in his future projects. 

- Maximilien Rolland

I would like to thank you for taking the time to come to our class and present your work/life story. It was very informative and eye-opening to the unfortunate realities that surround us. However, your work and dedication is what helps people get through hard times, regardless of age or gender. I once found myself spending evenings going to my local drop-in shelter and benefiting from food banks, more times than I can recall. I am very grateful for places like these, and your presentation reminded me just how appreciative I am that they exist. I believe that by helping one person, in turn you help the world, and what you do is exactly that, regardless of how little or big your contribution is. Thank you again, I wish you all the best in your future endeavors, may they be riveting and inspiring, just as your talk was the other night.   Sincere regards, 
- Thaïs Pouvesle

Firstly, I would like to thank you for taking the time out your day to come and visit our Social Policy course. As I'm certain I can assume, you could/can do a lot of good in 3hrs and as such I'm happy you spent the time making a small group of Bishop's students a little better at understanding some of the problems faced within a capitalist society.  I was inspired by your logical thinking towards problem solving and the approach you took to improving not only the survival side of poverty but the dignity side as well. It was sad to relize that some charities get caught up in their own dreams of success and thus forget about the humans they're trying to help. Yet, I believe society could, should, and do look to you as a prime example of how the problem of poverty should be tackled.   Sincerely, 
- Jake Rose

It was an absolute pleasure having you in our class.  Your optimism and passion is truly inspiring.  It is so easy these days to be pessimistic, as I too have many issues against current social policies.  You have taught me that at the end of the day, it is genuineness and compassion that shine through in everything we do.  If everyone in this world had these great qualities of yours, the world would be a better, more peaceful place.  Best, 
- Lisa Robertson

Dear Mr. Reid, It was wonderful to hear your story. I am grateful and humbled by your experience. It is a bright feather in my cap and it gives me hope.  God bless,  

- Meghann Delves

I would like to take the time to thank you for coming to our class and speaking certain issues that Quebec is currently having with housing and lack of food. Your speech was truly inspirational, I love the fact that you are very passionate about the subject and so generous in helping others. Getting emotional about cases such as these, is very understandable and touching, considering that we all could have some form of personal experience in dealing with child poverty, whether it be ourselves or witnessing other families go through it. However, with a feeling of helplessness because we are unaware of what we can do to help. The action that you chose to take is very courageous, and these families are fortunate to have individuals such as yourselves taking a huge leap for them. Your program is absolutely amazing and I am very glad to have been there to listen to your speech to know that there is change happening in certain places in the world, in which we do not even know until its right in front of our faces. Thank you again for coming and visiting, you can come back to Bishops anytime and speak to the classes to increase awareness on this issue. I look forward to seeing you again in the near future! 
- Gina L. Patenaude

Ready To Get Involved?

Be part of the solution! Get involved in changing the lives of others, just by helping today! Run a food drive, volunteer or support us financially. Together, you can make a difference in the lives of those in need.

General inquiries contact: onrock@onrock.org 
Kim Reid: kim@onrock.org

About The Student Reviews

Laura Battley, Nicolette Tsavdaris, Sara Poirier, Valérie Huot, Maximilien Rolland, Thaïs Pouvesle, Jake Rose, Lisa Robertson, Meghann Delves and Gina L. Patenaude are presently studying at Bishop's University located in Quebec, Canada. Student reviews were written about Mr. Kim Reid's class visit for a course titled SOC292 Social Policy in the Department of Sociology.

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