Essentials for Life

Because of you, Ashley and Jennessey are reunited and have the essentials they need to build a better life in Kelowna.

Ashley introduced herself as a small town farm girl who moved to the big city (Vancouver) and got sucked into a life of partying and drugs. She first experimented with drugs at a young age, and eventually became a regular user in her late teens. While in Vancouver, she also became involved with an abusive partner who diminished her light and she lived in fear every day.

Ashley tried to escape this relationship and tried to get sober on her own. While she managed to stay sober for one year, she fell back into her addiction with no available support. It was at this point that she moved to Vernon to care for her sick father. Here she met the father of her daughter, Jennessey and together they lived a life in active addiction. Ashley became pregnant, her partner was sent to jail for assaulting her and her father died.

Through all of this she felt isolated and alone and, while trying to remain sober through her pregnancy, she relapsed 2 months after her dad died. Ashley then started to have complications with her pregnancy and her baby was born 3 months premature. For the first 2 months Jennessey was in hospital, Ashley was there for her; but when her partner was released from jail, she relapsed and her baby girl was taken from her and placed in care.

At this point Ashley was desperate and had heard about Karis through a friend. She entered the KARIS program and KARIS helped her get her baby back. They helped her focus on herself, her goals and helped her secure attachment with her daughter. She feels that Karis empowered her to be a good mother.

“KARIS helped take away the financial stress and burden… so I can focus on developing a more secure attachment with my child… which is also essential for life.”

Through the Essentials For Life program funded by United Way, Ashley was able to access the baby items and most important for her was the special formula she needed for her daughter; without it, she doesn’t feel that she could have provided at all well for her daughter. When her partner (and Jennessey’s father) passed away last year, Ashley believes she most likely would not have had the strength to go on, and would likely have relapsed – if it were not for the support she gets from KARIS’ Essential for Life program.

“When funders like United Way can offer funding to essential items for babies, we can say to parent, ‘we are going to look after you, and you work on your health… community partners are coming alongside for items for your baby, so you don’t have to worry about that now – you can work on your health.’” Deb, KARIS Support Society.

Ashley is so grateful to Karis and the program that has impacted her life and enabled her to keep her daughter and provide for her. She is now in the aftercare program at Karis and would like to go to school to be an electrician.

Find out more about how your donation moves people from poverty to possibility.