Investing in community programs can have tremendous and sometimes, surprising outcomes. Jodi struggled for years before finding a place which could act as her anchor. Your donations help change the power of poverty.
“At one point, all I wanted to do was make it to tomorrow.”
Bipolar disorder is defined as an illness which causes unusual shifts in mood, energy and activity levels leading to difficulty in completing everyday tasks.
Jodi was diagnosed at the age of 14, and that has meant a lifetime of experiencing tremendous “up” and “down moments”. Classically trained as an opera singer, with a six year old daughter, Jodi spent some time living in a shelter, and not receiving her much needed medication. She was also trying to get by on income through Ontario Works.
“I would sleep the day away while my daughter was at school.”
Jodi’s life began to change when she connected to her local community center, in the Preston Heights area of Cambridge. She was asked to help out at a garage sale, and that experience led her to volunteering.
At first she didn’t participate in any of the programs offered, but she also didn’t want to stay at home anymore, and eventually increased her involvement. Before long, Jodi’s daughter was participating in summer camps, and youth drop in programs. And Jodi had taken an interest in not only participating, but helping to lead some of those programs.
Jodi is living proof following your heart can lead to wonderful things. She participated in the programs because they were beneficial to her child, and after four years of volunteering, she was hired on to help manage the Preston Heights Centre social media accounts.
She’s grown into a leadership role, delivering talks on mental health, and explaining how she found the support, and courage to be a survivor.
“The centre is one thing which has always been there for us…a place where we can share, where we can find comfort and where we found the opportunity to succeed.”
Jodi has come a long way from that time in her life when it seemed like the only goal was to get to the next day. Getting connected to the Preston Heights Community Group has helped her access a support system that she hasn’t had in years.
Today, Jodi is at an important crossroad. She isn’t sure of what’s next, but she sees many more doorways. Although she still has difficult days from time to time just as we all do, she can see a future where she’s contributing to small businesses, maybe by helping them with their social media using the skills she’s gained at the centre.
For the first time in a very long time, Jodi feels like she can live without worry and knows that she and her daughter have the support they need.