Jackie Lawrence

    Jacqueline is the Diversity and Equity Coordinator for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.  She is responsible for working in partnership with learning, leadership and community stakeholders to develop and implement strategies to align, integrate and measure diversity and equity principles and practices in our District priorities.  Jacqueline is the former Policy Advisor on diversity management at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).  Prior to CMHC, she was a consultant specializing in labour market research, communications and diversity strategies for clients in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.  Jacqueline is also a former Parliamentary Assistant and speech writer, the Executive Director of the National Women’s Reference Group on Labour Market Issues and the Executive Director of the Multicultural Women’s Association.  Her passions include writing poetry, travelling, and co-hosting/producing a community public affairs programme on CHUO 89.1 FM.

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    Milo's Story

    Every year when I was little, I’d think “this will be the year that everything will be okay”. And every year, I’d be crushed. By the time I was 18 I couldn’t take my dad’s drinking or my mom’s crying anymore, so I packed a knapsack with the warmest clothes I had and I left. It was freezing cold, and I was alone…but I was free.

    The next few months were rough and at times very scary. I spent nights in parks, doorways and even under bridges all with just an old sleeping bag a friend had given me. One night it was so cold that I walked until the sun came up, afraid that I would freeze to death if I slept.

    It took me awhile to get over the embarrassment to start asking people for money. But, it was swallow my pride or stay cold and hungry. After two weeks of doing this I learned about YSB. I didn’t know it then but, in that moment, my life changed for the better. I got connected to YSB’s Young Men’s Emergency Shelter and my first night in the shelter I slept 11 hours. I felt so safe and secure. I remember that moment clearly and I felt so hopeful I now have my own apartment in one of YSB’s long-term housing buildings, am attending college to become a graphic designer, and am working part-time to support myself.

    “For the first time I can remember, I’m really excited about my future. Growing up I just thought about getting by one day at a time.” I hope my story conveys just how life changing it was for me to be able to access YSB’s shelter during a really difficult time in my life. The team at YSB supported me every step of the way, and I’m grateful they were by my side. I hope you’ll consider taking the opportunity to transform the life of another young person like me today.

    Milo*

    *While Milo’s story is real his name has been changed to protect his privacy