When I first met Jessica in our Crisis Program she did not say much. She was very polite, but made little eye contact often looking down. Jessica said please and thank you often but would not speak unless asked a direct question and mostly would give one word answers. She did not share much but mentioned she was going through some losses in the family. Jessica originally comes from further north in BC, but left to change her lifestyle.
After losing her mother, Jessica felt she was left with no choice but to move and create a new life for herself. Jessica said that the rest of her family was not taking the loss of her mother well and were using drugs and alcohol to cope with the loss. Watching her mother deal with addiction made Jessica determined to create a new path for herself. As the weeks progressed Jessica opened up to us more about her family life and desire to find a job and start a life of her own. Jessica said she wanted a fresh start. She signed up for a pre-employment program where she learned many skills including resume writing, job interviews and other important life skills. Now she is employed at a clothing shop where she gets to give her expert opinion on cute outfits and help others to feel good about themselves.
Recently, we went on an outing where we took a sea ferry across the water to watch a play on the other side of Vancouver. All of the girls mentioned that they had never been on a sea ferry before but Jessica was visibly the most excited. Her face lit up as we passed landmarks and she smiled and laughed with the other girls. At one point when the boat was cruising across the water in beautiful Vancouver, Jessica turned to me and mouthed silently, “I’m happy”.