Hello, my name is Julia. I think when it comes to donating money to an organization, it’s nice to see and hear how much your gift can be truly life changing for someone.
I was raised Jewish by my Canadian grandparents who moved to the US, specifically Beverly Hills in the 1950’s. I rarely saw my mother and never saw my father. When I was 13 my grandfather passed away leaving me and my grandmother to move in with my mother, stepfather and their infant son. There my grandmother and I experienced severe neglect and mistreatment. I ended up moving out at age 15, losing my Jewish roots in the process.
At the age 25 I married a man who was extremely abusive, I was in the hospital for concussions and a broken collarbone he caused over our 7 year marriage. He had become addicted to alcohol and cocaine, which left me in financial ruin and the marriage finally ended. Many years later I moved to Portland, Oregon where I met my son’s father. A year after we met, we began to date. Once I became pregnant he no longer allowed me to have friends, work, or do anything really. He became very dangerous to myself and my son. We moved into a domestic violence shelter. From there we were given a housing choice voucher so that we could move into a new place. It seemed where ever we went he would find us. I became determined to make the move to Canada as I had dual citizenship. We spent almost three months in a second shelter, and just before our time was up I received word that we had been accepted into a second stage transition house in Vancouver.
The building we moved to caused us a lot of stress. My PTSD and chronic pain were re-activated and we moved out for the sake of my health. We got a bit of rental assistance here and there but could not find a counselor without a year wait list, and none that were free. I wanted to reconnect myself with my Jewish roots at last, and introduce my son to Judaism.
One day I was online looking for help and found Jewish Family Services. I still remember my first time meeting Tanja there. I was badly in need of less expensive housing, counselling, and community. I was introduced to Leeya, my current caseworker and I found all of that and more. I was connected with Tikva housing and given a rental subsidy, we were signed up for the Jewish food bank, had many wonderful tickets to events given to us, had help with unexpected expenses, my son was offered camp at the JCC and this year he is being offered sleep away Ha Tikva camp. Schara Tzedeck invited us to many Shabbat dinners as well as their high holiday programming, we received a scholarship for my son to attend Hebrew School (T-Jex) and we began to thrive. JFS truly offers wraparound services and ongoing support.
We recently were given the good news from Tikva that we have been selected as tenants for their new townhouses in the river district and will be moving next year. I can now look forward to my son growing up in a safe home which is affordable for me and gives us the opportunity to build a community and make lifelong friends.
Our story would have never been possible without the generous support of JFS, its partnering agencies, and all of the wonderful donors. I humbly and sincerely want to thank everyone who has been a part of our amazing story. Thank you.