Team Leads Woman To Better Road
John Howard Society’s Re-Integration and Provincial/Residential Services Program encompasses the transitional housing and re-integration services for justice involved male clients, and services and transitional housing support for women. Services provided include: Transitional Housing; Breakfast Program; Food Packs; Hygiene Kits and Re-Integration Services. The programming that is offered includes anger management, substance use and life skills. The reintegration service program facilitates outreach work, risk assessment, counselling and programming for individuals in conflict with the law and who are at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness in order to address their interpersonal concerns and give them an opportunity for a second chance in society.
Sarah came to a Thanksgiving dinner at the John Howard Society in 2009. She was the quiet, but polite girlfriend of a resident and said little more than “hi.” A week later, that resident had been arrested and Sarah entered the office during an evening shift of the My Own Place Program, badly bruised across her face and torso, visibly limping. Sarah then became a client of the program. “I did not know them at all but they brought me in and listened to what happened. I felt so at home and at ease talking to them”.
Sarah was assaulted by her former boyfriend near the end of October 2009, leaving her with life threatening injuries that continue to require medical attention. The incident resulted in numerous surgeries, physical scarring and an acquired brain injury, all of which required regular doctor visits. It was realized shortly after that a Canada wide warrant for drug trafficking in British Columbia had been issued for Sarah; she had been used as a mule for the trafficking of crystal meth. Staff accompanied Sarah to court to have her charges brought to Thunder Bay so that she could face them. She plead guilty and was assisted by the Bail Program, “the staff never gave up on me, and they never once turned their back.”
After 2 years of regular meetings, emergency housing stays and referrals, Sarah was able to reconnect with her family and made the move back to British Columbia. She now showed a deep sense of optimism and determination toward over coming her medical concerns and legal history in order to make a life for herself that she had long since dreamed of, “to this day if it weren't for the team I would not be clean and sober for now going on 2 years.”
Sarah has maintained sobriety, purchased a home and rebuilt a relationship with her parents and siblings. She maintains contact with staff, continuing a positive outlook, “I am now also getting my degree in medical assistance, I am engaged and we have a healthy 4 month old.”
The road she followed was difficult — a pattern of abusive relationships leaving her near death in some cases, medical issues, miscarriages and conflict with the law. But Sarah did not give up and continues to be an inspiration to the staff, “I honestly don’t know where in life I would be if I did not have the support I have with the John Howard Society. Thank you, I owe a lot of my accomplishments to them.”
The United Way of Thunder Bay is addressing social issues in our community and investing in 3 critical areas: Moving people from poverty to possibility; Fostering a strong community; Helping kids to be all they can be. Your donations are improving lives for local people every day. By donating to the 2014 United Way campaign you can support Re-Integration and Provincial/Residential Services Program and 62 other local programs in our community.
To learn more about programs supported by the United Way and how you can make a difference by giving, explore our website or call 623-6420 today.