Julie loses everything and finds a new family

All Julie remembers of that night was the sounds of sirens filling the night sky and people taking her away. Her life, at the formative age of 11, changed forever the night her mother died in the bed next to her.

“After that awful night, things only got worse for me,” says Julie.

Julie bounced around a number of foster homes – never finding a place to call home, never finding the love that was lost.

Eventually, her dad re-entered her life, only to bail shortly there after and send her back to foster care, because he “couldn’t handle it,” says Julie.

Again when she was 14-years old, her father came into her life to “give it another shot,” says Julie. Unfortunately, the suffering continued. She experienced a year of abuse from her new step mom, who resented having her in the house.

Social worker intervenes to end the rollercoaster

“Luckily I had a great social worker at school and she got me into Sancta Maria House – I lived there for over a year and in that time I was able to focus on school and getting my grades up,” says Julie.

Julie had her own room and made some new friends, but it was hard a first getting used to new people, rules and housemates.

“Somewhere along the way I became part of the family,” says Julie.

The staff was always available to talk and even though they were not her parents, they helped her “through thick and thin,” says Julie.

Eventually she graduated from Sancta Maria House to Quinn House and was able to put her life skills into practice, while the care continued. The staff from Sancta Maria House “still check on me and make sure I am ok,” says Julie.

“Just saying ‘thank you’ is not enough,” says Julie.

Searching for two years Marah finds a way home

Marah didn’t get along with her mom. She never knew who her dad was. Fed up with life at home at the confusing age of 14, she ran away from her Calgary home where she lived with her grandmother and mother

“I lived on the streets of Calgary for a while until I decided to come to Toronto – I managed to hitchhike my way to Toronto,” says Marah.

She lived with a cousin for a while until things fell apart and she got kicked out. Marah heard about Sancta Maria House through a youth shelter and decided to give it a try.

They never gave up on me

After being homeless for two years, she moved into Sancta Maria House residency.

“I was not happy at first because I hated the rules and structure; I was rude to the staff, but they never gave up on me,” says Marah.

She said the staff was always kind, even though she hurled mean and terrible words at them. Soon, she was able to get back into a school and get some credits towards her diploma.

She found a warm, safe bed and home cooked meals.

“Christmas was the jackpot! It was the best Christmas ever,” says Marah.

Find home again

During her time at Sancta Maria House, Marah was encouraged to work on her relationship with her mom. She was given five dollars a week for a phone card to call her and chat. At the end of her stay at Sancta Maria House, she decided to move back to Calgary and continue “working on my relationship with my mother and grandmother,” says Marah.