Helping the seniors of Campobello Island
When the pandemic descended on Campobello Island, the impact was much more profound than the mainland. No restaurants remained open, grocery supplies were limited, as was the ferry service. The way off the island remained by land, but that meant crossing into the United States – even when that was possible, anxiety ran high. For seniors, this amplified any challenges they already faced.
Lisa’s story: Escaping an abusive relationship
Lisa had broken away from her abusive partner, children in tow. But she had reason to worry – while justice officials were working on bringing criminal charges against him and establishing a no-contact order, she knew he had a history of not caring about either.
Ahmed’s story: Nothing is impossible
To this day, Ahmed still remembers the sign that hung in his high school classroom in Saint John: “Nothing is Impossible.” Ahmed, born in a refugee camp in Somalia, fled Africa as a teenager with his father and siblings. Arriving in a brand new land proved challenging. As he struggled with his schooling, a friend mentioned the Teen Resource Centre in Saint John as a place that could help. The very first person he met there – a staffer named Sarah – was so endearing and helpful that today Ahmed describes her as his “Canadian auntie.”
Madison’s story: From despair to opportunity
Amid struggles with mental health, Madison dropped out of school at age 16 and began working a series of minimum-wage jobs. At 21, she became pregnant. With a toddler in tow, she decided she wanted a better life for herself and her son. She saw that opportunity through education, and began her journey to earning her high school diploma through the Dr. Christine Davies Education Centre at First Steps.
Madalynn’s story: Forging a new future
In searching out options for her future, Madalynn turned to the Saint John Learning Exchange. From the moment the young mother became involved with the learning exchange, she felt welcome – everyone there was so supportive and understanding. She didn't feel the daily pressure that weighed on her in her traditional high school.
Sarah’s story: A frantic search for affordable housing
Sarah did not know where to turn. She needed to find a place to live, and she couldn’t afford what was available. That’s a stressful situation at the best of times – with COVID, it seemed more daunting. Sarah needed to find subsidized housing, but had no idea where to start. She had heard of 211, a new information service in New Brunswick. She dialed, hopeful that someone there could help.
Suzie’s story: the only child
Suzie was six years old when she started with Bee Me Kidz in Saint John. An only child from a low-income family, she didn’t have many activities outside school – the financial cost was always a barrier to her parents. They were delighted to find Bee Me Kidz, a United Way funded partner that offers a free and fun Saturday program. “We were so excited to find a program in our local community that she could attend without financially harming our household. She was so excited to have something fun to look forward to every week!” her mother says.
Dawn’s story: Courage, and a life transformed
Dawn grew up in a life of poverty, quitting school by Grade 8. She fell into a life of addiction and found herself homeless on the streets of Fredericton. Determined to turn her life around, she moved to Saint John and beat her addiction. She was determined to improve her education – and her life along with it. It wouldn’t be easy.
Melinda’s story: renewed hope in recovery
As a young woman in her 20s, Melinda had a full life yet ahead of her. But she struggled with an addiction to alcohol. When doubt and worry made her question her relationships and the future of her job, she decided to turn to the Sophia Recovery Centre.