Stories of Hope
Stories of Hope
When I was a little girl, I used to get beat up a lot by every member in my family. I mostly got abused from my mom and my older sisters. Child and Family Services took me away from my parents. My mom and dad still had an opportunity to keep custody of me, but they messed it up. From then on I was always moving from home to home, which meant I never really got to call a place home.
I never got to grow up happy, to have a childhood where I could play. I was always scared of everything. The things that my parents did really damaged me on the inside. Life was difficult for me because I wanted the love from my parents and family. I guess going through those traumatic events I had to grow up fast. It was really hard, but it taught me a lot.
I have loving memories of a wise Elder who I considered my mom when I was little. It is her teachings that I am going to pass on to my loved ones. She gave me the love and care I needed. She taught me my native tongue, taught me not to be scared and taught me to live my life. I’m thankful that I found the happier side of myself. I have taught myself to let go of negative people to keep my circle of life at a stable point.
My advice for kids in care is to be thankful for what they have because a lot of people would love to have what they have. Don't think about the bad stuff. Give the people in your life a chance to prove that they are there for you. Don't give up. We all have our bad days. We have to give people a chance. Give your workers respect and they will give it back. Get comfortable and start bonding. Life's too short to always be down and moping around. Enjoy your life. We are all on this earth for a purpose and you can serve that purpose with a smile.
W.D. - Youth in Care
Specialized Individual Placement Service
“W.D is an exceptional young woman who has found a deep compassionate understanding of life. Her ability to turn traumatic events into powerful teachings is a sign of true wisdom. W.D has the gift of finding gratitude and appreciation for life as it is. She sees that beauty comes from within and she exudes a tender desire to help others discover the same. W.D has the power to break the cycle and I am so proud of her!"
Day Program Educator
I am a 21-year-old Aboriginal woman who was born in Winnipeg and I am from the Hollow Water Reserve. I have been in foster care since I was a baby and I was a permanent ward of Southeast Child and Family Services. I came into care because my biological family was having difficulties taking care of me. My parents experienced poverty and had issues with abuse, drugs and alcohol.
During my time in care, I had been placed in two different foster homes. My first foster home was where I met my two foster sisters and I was placed in that home from birth until I was five years old. We were apprehended from that foster home but I am not sure why. My foster sisters and I moved to a hotel for a couple days until they could find us another foster home. This is when I met my foster parents who eventually became foster parents in the Alternative Parent Home Program. I lived with them for the 13 years until I transitioned out of care and into the MYS Independent Living with Supports Program.
I have had many challenges throughout my life. I have struggled with trying to figure out how I fit with my biological and foster families, separating the positive supports from the negative supports and staying focused on the positives; facing peer pressure with drugs and alcohol and trying to make sure that I do not get caught in that lifestyle; the passing of my biological family members; and the need to learn life skills as I transition out of care. All those past experiences have taught me that I am a strong person and that I want better for myself, which means I need to break my family cycle.
I have also had a lot of successes in my life: my foster parents have become my family; I have a good relationship with my partner: I am currently renting a house in the country; and in 2009, I graduated from high school. After graduating, I decided I wanted to pursue a career as a child and youth care worker because I enjoy working with youth who are struggling. When I was young I would advocate for my friends. I want to help youth realize that the willingness to change is within them and that they have choices. I am proud to say that this past year I graduated from Red River College with my diploma in Child and Youth Care. As well, I received the Susan McDonald Bursary Award, which honours achievements of a graduating student who recognizes the importance of family and community and demonstrated strong advocacy skills in Child and Youth Care.
I have had the opportunity to work with at-risk youth at MYS, Marymound, and in school settings. I am looking forward to my career in child and youth care and I am confident that I have the skills and knowledge to be successful. I understand that my story is different from other youth in care and that I can’t compare their experiences with mine. But one thing I have learned is that you can choose your own path! With help and supports and a willingness to change, you can do anything. I am a prime example of this.
Former Youth of MYS
"Jennette is an amazing young woman who has overcome many obstacles. Her greatest strength is her perseverance and positive outlook on life. We are so proud of her!"
Darlene Papaioannou, ILS Program Manager