About

 

 

 

Linking Lives: creating pathways out of poverty by linking those in need with any & all available resources in our community.

 

Maria

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Write an “about me” they said, it’ll be fun they said; well it’s not! It is actually quite difficult to introduce oneself via print, to a stranger in eloquent but brief terms, so as to captivate and engender good vibes without sounding like an ad from a dating site, but here goes!

I am a fifty-year-old (roughly) mother of 4, and grandmother of 6  who thoroughly enjoys sarcasm and the quick-witted! This admission hopefully sets the tone for all future posts. My children in order of appearance are; Kaisey, Christopher, Maegan & Alexander and here’s where it gets fun, Kaisey has 2 boys {Jonah & Oliver} Maegan has 3 kiddies {Noah, Molly & James} & Chris has 1 {Logan} and if they had of told me how great grandchildren would be 30 years ago I would have just skipped all that bothersome parenting & went straight to cookie making and cuddling! These 10 individuals are the very best of all I have to offer the world; you’re welcome! Our journey has not always been an easy one though and we’ve experienced everything from intimate partner violence to drug addiction, from poverty to homelessness including, but not limited to; teenage pregnancy and struggles with mental illness. How did we survive you might ask? Simply put; because we had loads of help and support along the way. While financial support and material resources were often needed it was truly the close personal relationships that we developed with the PEOPLE in our network that allowed for my family to rise above our circumstances. For example the case manager at Social Development, Debra Ladds who never made me feel “less than” for needing financial assistance or Victims Rights Advocate Gaynell Clooney who never let me believe for one second that being abused was in any way my fault. These people “lifted” us up; that is how we survived successfully. This is our intent for those we will be fortunate enough to develop similar close, personal relationships through our work with Linking Lives.

This journey began six years ago when I returned to school knowing WHAT I wanted to do, WHO needed it the most and WHERE to go to get the help needed, but lacking the formal educational piece. I first attended NBCC where I graduated with distinction from the Human Services program in 2010 then went on to complete a BA/Psych with distinction at St. Thomas in 2014. NBCC unequivocally changed my life, which has more to do with Keith Ross & Darcie Dow, the instructors for the course and less to do with the academics involved while St. Thomas gave me the necessary tools to work in non-profit organizations. As a result, I have spent the past five years working in crisis response, child support and volunteer coordination roles at the 2 transition houses in town. This work highlighted areas in which shortcomings and gaps in service could often be easily overcome by linking the right people together. This can be as simple as linking a willing person or company with a truck and manpower to a single mom who needs help moving to a safer home or linking a struggling youth in our community to willing mentors and tutors! Everyone has something to offer. That belief is what this social enterprise will be built upon. Our goal is to create a volunteer-based network consisting of a variety of participants, encompassing a wide range of skills allowing for a multi-pronged approach to issues of poverty within our community. Rarely I have encountered any crisis situation that only required one level or type of response to reach a successful conclusion; poverty is certainly no different.  Further, once you are a part of our network you will, of course, be richly rewarded for all your good deeds but moreover, beyond that wonderful high of giving back, you will also belong to a network that will always be there for YOU as well. This blog will serve as one way for you to get to know us, share in our progress, successes & failures, joys & tears and I would invite you all to join us on this adventure of the heart! Cheer us on, share your thoughts and ideas, become a volunteer member of our network or just spread the word! Much Love & Much More to come….

“Start where you are, Use what you have, Do what you can” -Artur Ashe

 

Maegan

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First and foremost I’m a mama of three sweet(most of the time) children! Noah, 11, the serious and over cautious older brother. Rule follower with a side of spunk– he was the first to make me a Mommy! Molly, 3, the wildcard middle child! She possesses a spirit and zest for life that should be envied by all! And James! ‘The baby’– quite literally– at less than half a year old. He’s our calm and gentle giant!! Our highly anticipated baby. Currently employed as a registered nurse, I can say undoubtedly that I work my dream job! It fulfills my love of nurturing, challenges me and allows me to work with a brilliant and caring group of people! It makes 4 miserable years of post-secondary education completely worth it! I am also the wife of a dedicated, loving and incredibly supportive(not to mention kind of hilarious and pretty handsome) husband! As you can see– I seem to have all of my bases covered! Happy marriage, beautiful children, incredible career. BUT (and this is a pretty significant but)..

The outlook for my life many years ago wasn’t nearly this prosperous. Allow me to explain.

I was raised in a single parent home.. By a mother who worked hard with very little resources to provide for 4 children on her own. Well known to me, unfortunately, I had a father who struggled with mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse. Needless to say he had little to no involvement in my upbringing. To say we struggled to make ends meet is an understatement. We were poor. Pretty damn poor. I was a somewhat troubled teen (this probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise) and had my first child at the very (VERY) young age of 16. Throw all of these together.. You know.. Poverty, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy.. You could say the odds were against me achieving any degree of success in my adult life.

HOWEVER..One thing I remember very clearly from my childhood is the number of people who helped us, and more specifically ME, along the way. As a result of those many selfless people, I can say with confidence that I, at the age of 27, am abundantly blessed in every way. As a result, I feel a deep desire to PAY THAT FORWARD! To be, for others, that same encouraging voice and helping hand that was always there for me exactly when I needed it.

To say I’m excited about the endless possibilities Linking Lives Inc. presents is the understatement of the century!! I have so much confidence in this organization and it’s ability to make a huge impact in the lives of those around us BECAUSE I KNOW our community is filled with big giant, caring, giving hearts willing and ready to help! I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” -Helen Keller

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