“Some of us are just roam gnomes,” smiled Jackie. It’s a term she uses to describe those who move around often.
From early on, Jackie has had a tumultuous life. Her family moved around often and household struggles regularly led her parents to use drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms.
On occasion, Jackie would even be sent to search the neighbourhood looking for her mother who would not come home for days at a time.
Concerns about the well-being of the children eventually led to a fracturing of the family with Jackie and her siblings being removed from the home of their biological family.
It wasn’t long before Jackie and her siblings became ‘roam gnomes’ themselves, spreading out and losing contact, only hearing sporadically from one another when a heartbreaking incident had befallen a family member.
At the age of 19 Jackie gave birth to a daughter but felt unable to properly look after her. She would do her best to be a mom, but personal hardships resulted in her daughter being removed from her care thus mirroring her own childhood story. For 8 years, Jackie would not see her daughter. During this time, Jackie also lost both her parents and ended up living homeless on the streets of Vancouver for almost a year.
Jackie returned to Edmonton and after hitting ‘rock bottom’, sleeping outside in tents, searching for food in dumpsters and living on the streets, was eventually offered an opportunity to have a stable living space. It was at that time she was introduced to Welcome Home, a Catholic Social Services program providing companionship to help those making the transition from homelessness to settling into a new home.
Jackie’s experience with the Welcome Home volunteers has been ‘really good for her’ and has helped her create a stable foundation and make healthy, positive changes inher life.
Welcome Home suggested Jackie take part in the Community Garden, which quickly became her favorite project. Jackie has been passionately active in the project since being first introduced, shopping for plants and seeds and taking part each Tuesday in caring for the garden.
“I like being a part of the Welcome Home garden because there is something special about being a part of witnessing something grow.”
Through the help and services of Welcome Home, Jackie has maintained her housing and continues her forward momentum.
She and her daughter have reunited and live in a safe and stable environment and have recently adopted a new family member, Opportunity, a cute kitten with a name that seems to reflect the promising future of Jackie and her daughter.
Your gift is the reason Jackie has a new outlook on life.
Welcome Home is fully funded by Catholic Social Services and our Sign of Hope campaign and it only happens with your support. Please help by making a donation today. They, and so many others, need you!
Catholic Social Services (CSS) brings hope to vulnerable Albertans and has been doing this vital work for more than 60 years. Today, CSS is one of the largest providers of social services in Canada, helping more than 20,000 people annually, in three priority areas: newcomers to Canada, individuals with disabilities, and children, individuals, and families.
Sign of Hope, the charitable fundraising arm of CSS, provides funding for multiple programs each year, many of which are solely funded through donations. From September 21 to December 31, 2023, CSS runs its annual Sign of Hope fundraising campaign. Our goal is to raise $2.7 million to help meet the needs of vulnerable Albertans.
Donations to Sign of Hope empowers CSS to meet the unique and pressing needs of those it serves through its many programs and services. Funds raised help women and children fleeing domestic violence, seniors experiencing isolation and abuse, vulnerable and recently housed individuals, teens and youth who are at-risk-of, or experiencing, sexual exploitation, and those in need of mental health services.
Donations can be made online at www.cssalberta.ca/signofhope, or by calling (780) 439-HOPE(4673).