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Trauma healing in community

Children do not get a choice in the kind of home environment they are raised in, but as a community, we have a choice in the kind of community environment

which supports them.

Two essential truths that currently co-exist:

1. 18-20% of Canadian children are experiencing the adverse effects of their parent's unhealed trauma and subsequent substance use, which is compounded by the stigma of mental illness and substance use disorder.
2. Many parents with a substance use disorder do not have adequate support that could enable their healing and promote healthier substance use.

This environment places youth whose parent's have a substance use disorder at double to triple the risk for mental illness, substance use disorder, and suicide. We are on a mission to change that!


OUR vision

to increase the support, resources, and relationships youth who are exposed to the stress and stigma of a parent's substance use have access to through:

  • knowledge mobilization and anti-stigma awareness

  • community resources for youth and adults

  • Community capacity building through anti-stigma training,  peer support, and systemic transformation

A canada that protects families from substance use stigma and its harms.


our guiding principles

we are rooted in a relation view of health and healing.

Lived experience: We believe that the voice of those with lived experience needs to be at the forefront of initiatives wanting to create lasting change for children and families impacted by substance use issues. 


Community-centred: Harms, health, and healing happen within community. We see people as multidimensional individuals made up of stories and experiences from which includes the people and experiences of their past, present, and future: all of these stories need to be considered when viewing a single person. We believe it is NOT necessary to know what experiences the person has had in order to provide support.​

Resilience Informed: We understand that resilience happens in the context of stress/ adversity, and we know that healing and resilience from adverse experiences happens within the context of belonging, connection, and community. A primary goal then is to INCREASE our connection, belonging, and access to community.​

Rooted in Compassion: We believe that seeing people through a lens of compassion is imperative to supporting families healing, resilience, understanding, and growth. 

how was starlings inspired?

Starling Community was founded in 2018, which was inspired by the founders own experiences with parental addiction and stigma.


Agnes says, "of course, there were the experiences within my home that impacted me profoundly, but as a young child I was also incredibly affected by the harm of a stigma that I witnessed and internalized by many of the systems currently in place, including the healthcare and justice system. Now as a registered nurse and parent, I recognize how stigma prevents the creation of policies, practices, and supports for children as well as for parents struggling with an addiction, supports which could mitigate the impact of toxic stress in childhood, and stop the cycle of trauma in families. Thankfully, for myself, I have an incredible support system that has offered me hope even during some of my most hopeless moments. This support has had the most profound influence on my healing and is the foundation which Starlings is built on. My hearts work is to ensure every single person who has been impacted by a parent’s substance use and society’s stigma of addictions is offered hope and an opportunity to heal. I invite you all to join us."


Past events

Image by Mehdi Sepehri

we have proudly partnered with:

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Image by Rita Vicari


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