Why We Exist
“Growing up, I never dreamed about my future. Since finding Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary, I finally have a dream for myself and my son.”
At the young age of two, Chantal was introduced into the foster care system. She had no relationships with her family and later learned her biological mother had passed away. Moving from place to place, from group homes and shelters, Chantal never knew the true meaning of “home.”
By 16, Chantal was living on the streets. She had exhausted all of her supports and now had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. In an effort to numb the pain, she fell into substance abuse and became entangled in criminal behavior. When she became the victim in an abusive relationship, Chantal continued to hold on, longing for connection of any kind regardless of how dangerous her situation had become.
“When I was living on the streets, I never thought of the future. I just thought of the day ahead and how I was going to survive.”
Luckily, Chantal’s story doesn’t end there.
Chantal found Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary’s Home Fire program in the summer of 2015. Home Fire works with youth so they can begin to heal, build community and reconnect with their Indigenous culture and natural supports. Being part of the 4Rs Youth Movement help us engage youth in critical cross-cultural dialogue that furthers reconciliation.
The staff at Home Fire connected Chantal with resources to help her overcome her addictions and seek advice for her legal issues. She started to create positive relationships with staff, plan out goals for her future and dream of what could be.
Chantal now has a 16 month old son and has made significant changes in her life. As a single mother, Chantal is now maintaining housing for her family while she navigates through parenting. Her goal is to make positive changes and to “give her son a life she never had.” She still accesses the Home Fire program and is grateful for staff like Kim, who continue to help and support her as she continues to set goals for herself and start making her dreams become reality.
Kim, Chantal’s Home Fire coordinator, is immensely proud of the growth she has seen in Chantal.
“It has been an honour to walk alongside Chantal over the last two and a half years,” Kim says. “She has shown me what a true picture of resilience looks like. I am excited to see how Chantel continues to make positive changes in her life, continue on her healing journey and be the best mom to her son.”