Josie“I was born and raised in Manitoba. My grandmother and grandfather raised me because my mother wasn’t ready to be a mother, and I lived in a house with them and 2 Uncles and 2 cousins. My uncles were alcoholics and very abusive. There was a lot of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse in the home. I was 6 years old when I first got molested by one of my uncles.

My Grandmother blamed me for the responsibility put on her to raise me, but my Grandpa loved me and I looked up to him. He accepted me. When I was sick he cared for me! We could talk about anything and everything. He walked me to school every day, and I loved him very much! When the doctor put him into a care home I felt lost and alone. I visited him there, but then he lost his memory and he died in the care home. I still miss him today.

When I was 13 my mother and her new husband came to Lynn Lake and persuaded my Grandmother to let them take me back. Over the years I discovered alcohol and fighting. I was in 6 foster homes, was kicked out of school, was in 5 lock up centers. and placed in a group home. I’ve seen many different psychiatrists and counsellors, all because of my anger!

Eventually, I hit rock bottom and entered the Shayil Home Program. The hardest part about the program was learning to love others, and to be loved and accepted for who I am. I prayed for help with this because I knew I was empty and I had no feelings; I couldn’t feel or accept love.

One day one of the other resident’s children came to me and hugged me. I didn’t feel comfortable at first, but it kept happening, and then more children started to do the same. I started to feel love, and then I realized that God was healing me through them. The thing I liked best about the program was the class on Healthy Relationships, because it taught me what a healthy relationship was supposed to look like.

For now, my goal is to stay on for a second year, as I want to experience working and being stable. After that I don’t know, but now I have hope, and the world is open to me!”