At 20, I left my home community for a better life. There wasn’t much in the way of opportunity there and I wanted to go to school, get a job and make something of myself. When I got to Thunder Bay I realized how tough a move like this was and felt totally alone which turned into depression. In order to cope I began drinking, used up my savings and ended up on the street. I met the wrong types of people and soon was taking drugs and drinking too much to mask my pain. I was attacked, beaten and my small amount of personal belongings was stolen. The police found me and took me to a women’s shelter where I decided I had to make changes or I would end up dead.
I went through treatment and started planning for my future once again. With no money and no friends or family the biggest challenge I faced was being homeless. I learned about a residential program that provides housing and access to supports and other services. With the stability and resources offered through the John Howard Society I completed high school, got a job and was accepted into college. I was able to save money and worked on my sobriety. After about a year I felt ready to leave my sanctuary and go back into the real world. I now feel strong, stable and confident. I have my apartment, employment and school and feel I have been given a second chance in life.