My name is Jenny. If you saw me with my young son on the bus, at the mall or the park you would see a young mom just like any other. In most ways I am like any other mom. I live in an apartment, drop my son off at daycare and go to school. I have a great story and it isn’t over yet. I plan to be a lawyer someday.

There was a time when I wasn’t sure if that could happen. Let me tell you about how I got the help I needed along the way.

This story begins at a pregnancy place for young girls in Cambridge. I started living in Cambridge at the pregnancy house, had my son, but was still having issues with my abusive partner. I had to figure something out. A nice support worker helped me look into Michael House.

I am originally from Guelph and all my family lives there plus the move would give me some distance from my ex. It seemed like a good opportunity. I got in contact with Michael House and they met me right away and offered me a place in their new Supportive Housing program. I was one of the first women to live there. They were super friendly, kind and accommodating to my son and me. This looked like it might be the change I needed.

I want you to understand that I needed to figure things out, but that didn’t mean by myself.

During my stay at Michael House, I was able to focus on improving my mental health and my parenting. I attended a support group every week to help me manage my postpartum depression. I attended another group, called Let’s Grow Together, which helps parents who have struggled with addiction get support. Michael House offered classes on parenting, budgeting and other various support groups. Both my son and I felt like we belonged. One of my favorites was a cooking class and community potluck dinners.

While at Michael House I felt safe and supported. I really enjoyed how they had an overnight on-site staff that was always around. I found that the staff was very approachable and accessible. My confidence as a parent grew and I was able to embody all of the skills and values that I still try to practice today. I am very grateful for my time at Michael House. I left only when I got accepted into a bigger subsidized housing unit. Now I really have to put my budgeting skills to practice!

I appreciate the outreach support that Michael House offers. They have an Aftercare worker so even though I don’t live there I have someone who listens and understands if I ever feel lost. When I have any questions or need anything I can reach out on Facebook to one of the workers and I get the help I need. My son and I have also always enjoyed attending the Christmas parties and getting to see everyone again at the Drop-In.

One of the workers helped me out with a drive to my lawyer’s office when I was going through custody matters for my son. Last year I attended a couple of classes at the University of Guelph to study Sociology, and I recently was accepted to the Legal Office Administration program at Conestoga College. I haven’t let go of my career goal to become a lawyer.

While at Michael House I had the time and opportunity to learn, practice and lay solid foundations in parenting, education and strong mental health. Without that chance I do not believe I would be able to pursue these goals today. Michael House is a great supportive community and I hope someday that I can give back to them!

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