Overview - Jennifer's Story

When Jennifer made the courageous decision to leave the violence behind she needed to act quickly. She and her young son Michael left with just the clothes they were wearing and the few personal effects that happened to be in the car.

She was amazed to find how supportive the community was at every stage of the journey that followed.

They found a safe haven at a local transition house. Her counsellor there gave her a gift certificate for the WIN store so she could shop for some clothing and pajamas for her and Michael during their stay at the shelter. She was even able to get him some toys, as all of his had been left behind at the home they would not be returning to.

After a period of respite Jennifer found housing, and while she was excited about starting fresh the new place was bare and felt empty. They didn’t have any furniture, linens, or even dishes.

Jennifer was referred to the WIN New Start Program, and soon a wonderful thing happened: the WIN truck showed up carrying all the furniture, beds, linens, kitchenware and other household basics that she and Michael needed. Jennifer felt a profound sense of inclusion, support and hope as she unpacked the boxes, arranged the furniture and made their new house into a home.

Although the worst was behind her, Jennifer was facing major challenges as a newly single parent. When we checked in with her three months after her move, her food budget was stretched thin even though she was working two jobs. The stress of making ends meet on her own was weighing on her and she wasn’t able to spend as much time with Michael as they both needed and deserved. She had previously completed schooling in the health care field, but before she could attain a position with better pay and health benefits she need to complete one last course.

Jennifer came and met with someone at WIN as part of the Self Sufficiency Program, and together they established some goals that she would like to work on over the next year. They worked together to find resources in the community, as well as identify what WIN programs would support her goals.  With the help of the WIN Program Coordinator, she decided to apply for a WIN Self Sufficiency Bursary to cover tuition fees for the last course she needed to complete a certificate that was key to move forward in her career. She applied and was soon awarded with the funds she needed.

Before her course at the local college started, she had a few weeks. The WIN Program Coordinator encouraged her to apply for the WIN Transformations Program where she would have the opportunity to explore boundaries, communication, self responsibility and explore new choices in an in depth way. The course was only five days long but she was able to meet and connect with other women who are on similar path as her.  

Today, Jennifer has applied for a better paying job in the health care field, and has found a better balance for herself and Michael. She talks about feeling supported by her community and proud of her ability to accomplish her goals.

Jennifer is a character who represents the approximately one thousand women who the Victoria Women In Need Community Cooperative supports every year, thanks to the generosity of the community.