It was a year before Rhea* even mentioned the abuse she was experiencing to the counsellors and caseworkers at JFS.

“I didn’t know how to ask for help at first; I couldn’t even articulate what was wrong. The violence, his isolating me from family and friends, and the undermining of my confidence had happened slowly, over a period of years,” she says. “He made it feel normal and I had to fight to convince myself that it wasn’t.”

For 18 months Rhea worked with her JFS counsellor on a plan to get her and her children out of their unsafe situation. During that time, she accessed other services including our food bank program because her husband controlled the family finances and did not provide the family with food.

“The thing I feared most was retribution. I was afraid to leave,” she says.

JFS was able to provide Rhea the support and safety she needed to stand up for herself. Through our guidance and advocacy, she reached her goal of finding safe housing where she could live independently with her kids. You, as donors, provided Rhea and her children with an advocate and the resources she needed for change.

Like Rhea, people come to JFS for one type of support like the food bank and after we sit with them, get to know them, often times more is revealed. We are grateful when we can help.

“Every day is still a battle,” says Rhea. “Sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve to be free. But I’m proud to have stood up for myself and my children. I know it took strength to do what I did. Knowing I am strong in their eyes gives me strength.”

It is not going to be an easy road for Rhea and her children to heal from the trauma they experienced. But thanks to donors like you, they will continue to grow and build their resilience.

JFS is built by many hands, to sustain those in our community who need us most so they can gather the courage to persist, to heal, and start over. Your support to community members like Rhea gives them an opportunity to start a new life.

You can alleviate the impacts of family violence and poverty in our community by donating to JFS.

Please consider giving at www.jfsvancouver.ca/donate-today.

*Name has been changed for privacy