Deborah Canty

Deborah Canty

Outreach Coordinator & Facilitator

Debbie Canty

  1. How long have you been on the team and how did you meet LEFSA?

    I met LEFSA in 2004 and became a LEFSA team member in 2005. I met LEFSA while living in New Providence Women’s Shelter. I’d been there a few months, was on my way to sign out, and heard gospel songs, like my mom used to sing. Sr. Dorothy walked up to me and invited me in. The gathering gave me peace. I was hooked after that. She invited me to the Women’s Group, and Leadership Study Day. One day she asked me to do the opening prayer and I was late, but then she asked me to say the closing. After I completed EOP [Educational Opportunity Program] in 2005, she called me saying that she talked to the Team and wanted me to join them. I said to her, “I can’t do what you do,” and she said, “Weren’t you homeless? Just tell people what God did for you, he will do for others.”

  2. Any prior work or volunteer experience you want to mention before LEFSA?

    For me, LEFSA keeps the same principles as Alcoholics Anonymous. We work along the guidelines, and the God of your understanding.

  3. What do you do on the team?

    As a team member I go to shelters, organize and facilitate Women’s Group, Leadership Study Day and all activities we have, such as the picnic. I’m just trying to be a good team member. The shelters are the best part. We are there as someone to listen. When their faces light up, I get it. I want to spread it to someone else.

  4. What does LEFSA mean to you/why is LEFSA special?

    LEFSA is special in the hope that we give to people and by always being there. In Franklin [Shelter], people are just coming in with what’s on their back. Through the gratitude that people have, they really minister to me to be grateful for what I’ve got. This keeps me going—when I was sick, the women at the shelter nurtured me. Franklin was one of my first shelters. I remember how scared I was, tears falling down, God why me—what I’ve learned from this experience taught me to be humble, and that’s how I saw God in action.

  5. Do you have a memory of LEFSA you want to share?

    The shelter didn’t allow me to go on the first retreat. For the second one, I told Sr. Dorothy that they wouldn’t let me go, but Sr. Dorothy said to me, “do you want to go or not? I know people!” During the retreat, I got to know other people on the team, like James and Lucy.

    One day at a time. LEFSA thought me to stay in the now. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a gift—that’s why they call it the present. God just wants the best for us. I understand it better. I am a better person because of LEFSA. LEFSA taught me critical thinking, and like Sr. Dorothy said, I accept the consequences of my actions.

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