by Victoria Dinh

The number of buzzers beside the front door of 2151 Hamilton Street suggest there are 19 suites. Every once in a while, its residents give each other an acknowledging nod, but how much do we really know about one another?

 

In Suite 4, Robert Purves proudly stands in his living room. Dozens of bowling trophies cover a ledge in the middle of his apartment.

 

Purves is a Special Olympic athlete. He started bowling at the age of 12, when his mother signed him up for a Saskatchewan Special Olympics program.

 

He described his first experience: “I picked up my first bowling ball and then they said, ‘How does it feel?’ And I said, ‘Good.’ So they said, ‘Throw it down the lane.’ And all of a sudden they said,

 

‘Yeah, you’re good.’ ”

 

He won his first trophy in 1985 at 16, and has been building up his collection ever since. At 44, he currently has about 40 trophies.

 

Purves will be representing Saskatchewan at the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games.

 

Down the hall in Suite 3, Ashley Ulrich and Matthew Polsfut can be heard singing, jamming out to Christian rock.

 

Before moving to Hamilton Street two years ago, Ulrich resided at Phoenix House, a group home for persons with long-term mental illnesses. She suffers from schizophrenia.

 

“I heard voices of people telling me I was no good. They were not positive voices,” she said.
Polsfut, too, has a history with mental illness. He has been diagnosed with clinical depression and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

 

About six months ago, they began performing together as part of a Christian band called As I Am. They use their music to raise awareness of mental illness.

 

Last week, Ulrich and Polsfut played a non-profit show at the Wascana Rehabilitation Center.
“We’ll keep going until the cows come home,” Polsfut said about their music.

 

The two are currently working on a music project called Love Light.

 

Who would have thought 2151 Hamilton Street was filled with so many interesting people? Purves, Ulrich, and Polsfut are a few of the many tenants there who prove you should not judge a book by its cover.

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