OPSEU/SEFPO is honoured to shine a spotlight on Kyle Arnold, a member of OPSEU/SEFPO Local 744 who works as an outreach worker at NorWest Community Health Centre in Thunder Bay. NorWest is the newest local in Region 7, and is part of OPSEU/SEFPO Sector 17 – Community Health Care Professionals.
As an Outreach Worker, Kyle makes meaningful connections with people in his community struggling with mental health and addictions by using his experiences from a troubled past to guide them towards overcoming adversity.
“You can’t teach what I’ve learned from my own experiences. To be able to be on the streets here in Thunder Bay with people going through the same things, for them to be able to talk to somebody who has found a way out I think is powerful. I found a way out, and a lot of them want to know how I did that,” Kyle said in an interview with TBNewswatch.
152 people died of an overdose in the Thunder Bay District in 2021, a high figure for an area with a population of approximately 150,000 people. This places Thunder Bay as the highest per capita in Ontario. According to a CBC interview with Kyle, he believes 2022 numbers will be similar.
Kyle works hard along with other members in NorWest to steer at-risk individuals towards the services they need.
“Our members do incredible work out in NorWest Community Health Centres, and Kyle in particular and his story serve as a source of inspiration.” said JP Hornick. “Kyle advocates for people who are often stigmatized and misunderstood, and his passion brings light to an important problem in Thunder Bay.”
The mission runs deeper than a day job. Kyle also volunteers with PACE – People Advocating for Change through Empowerment – and Team DEK, organizations that help people struggling with mental health and addictions as well as advocating for expanded local resources.
In April 2022, the Thunder Bay Police commissioned an inspiring documentary about Kyle Arnold’s story called Against all Odds.
TBnewsWatch recently also recognized Kyle Arnold in a December 2022 article and has named him TBnewsWatch’s ‘Holiday Hero’.