A Fresh Start

by British Columbia
Categories: Blog, Stories

Five-year-old Christina arrived at her first day of Kindergarten with a black eye and two broken wrists. This would be the first of countless episodes of being removed from her family home.

In addition to Christina, who was adopted, her parents also had a biological daughter, but sadly she was never treated the same as her sibling. The youngster’s father was a raging alcoholic and her mom was a pharmaceutical addict. Unfortunately she was the target of her mom’s drug induced rage and the devastating cycle of abuse began.

Christina had to be removed from her home countless times, but her dad, a police officer, would show up in his uniform and take her back home again.

She has a vivid memory of a day just after her 13th birthday. She was desperate for an escape. She took a small gray purse and in it put one pair of underwear, one pair of socks, a set of earrings, her ‘Harriet the Spy’ book and went to a church.

From the church Christina called her case worker who came immediately to get her. She bundled the girl up, put her in the back seat of her car covering her with a blanket so that no one, including her father, would see her.

That day Christina was placed in the first of 40 foster homes she would experience until she turned 16 when Children’s Aid provided her a place of her own. Her dreams of attending Hair School were shattered when she turned 18, ‘aging out’ she was unfortunately no longer eligible for assistance.

With no work and no money, she hopped on a bus to the city, becoming a stripper to support herself. Eventually she would meet and marry a man and together would have two kids. She recalls the day she learned he had been unfaithful and she began ‘using’ to numb her pain.

No longer able to cope, her kids were removed from their home and Christina ran away. Once again devastating circumstances followed; even though she had started a promising new job, her boss was involved in a murder, closing the door to that opportunity.

In the midst of those dark suicidal days, Christina had a moment of clarity.

“I knew I needed help so I went to The Salvation Army Homestead and my life changed.”

Fast forward to today, she realized her dream of becoming a hair stylist and started ScizzorFairy, an organization providing free haircuts to people experiencing multiple barriers.

For Christina, life has come full circle; she’s reconnected with her kids and has secured a full time Outreach position at our Harbour Light facility.

“I am so thankful for The Salvation Army and I’m excited about my future. I can now help others like I was helped.”

Your generosity has helped save Christina and her kids from a very different life. Because of donors like you we are able to continue to provide emergency aid to people like Christina who are torn apart by violence, addiction and mental health issues. You are helping to change the direction of people’s lives and we cannot thank you enough.