Day 161 - Jennifer

Day 161 - Jennifer (1st person I approached)
June 10, 2014 - Jennifer was waiting to go to a yoga class when I asked her to chat. She told me she had almost an hour before her class started. I assured her she’d make it to yoga! Jennifer has being doing yoga for about five years now.

“I was feeling a bit edgy today, so I know that after doing this class, I’ll get grounded and feel better."

 

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Jennifer has two younger brothers.

“My parents separated when I was quite young, so my brothers are my half brothers. But I definitely consider them my brothers, and they think of me as their sister,” she told me. When Jennifer was about four years old, her mother moved them to Passmore, British Columbia (BC), a small community in the Kootenays region of BC.

“My mother was living a hippie lifestyle. A lot of hippies gravitate to BC,” she said. “I don’t remember that much from the move. I was a city kid. I missed sidewalks and paved roads so I could go out rollerskating. But I settled into it, I guess.”

 

Around the time Jennifer was in Grade one, she started dancing.

“I was in ballet classes and did that for a number of years,” she said. Jennifer and her mother moved to Vancouver when she about eleven years old.

“I continued dancing when we moved.” I asked Jennifer if she was a good dancer, and she told me with pride

“Yes, I was. I was taking classes and being mentored by Ballet BC." I told Jennifer I thought it was great that she was proud of her achievements.

"I won scholarships to attend school. But when I started going through puberty, I stopped dancing,” she said. I asked why she stopped?

“Because I was going through puberty,” she said laughing. Jennifer wasn’t enjoying school that much.

“My mother had just completed getting her teaching certificate and we moved to Grand Forks, in the Kootenays again. That was were she got her first placement. We lived there for a year, then came back to Vancouver." Jennifer was skipping school a lot.

“I didn’t ever feel like I fit in. I was rough around the edges, or at least, I wanted to be. I went to a couple of alternative schools,” said Jennifer. I asked if the alternative programs were any better for her.

”Well at Ideal School as it was called, that was were all the punk kids, artists and goths went, so I didn't feel so out of place. We still had classes and structure. And I still skipped classes.”

 

A couple of years after finishing high school, Jennifer went back to school to upgrade her marks.

“I wanted to go to University, so I had to work to get there. I studied Psychology and Criminology at Simon Fraser University (SFU). I'm interested in what makes people different. I was working toward becoming a Counselling Psychologist,” she said. Jennifer graduated with her Bachelors degree in Psychology. After getting her undergrad degree, Jennifer worked for a while.

“I started to realize that I was an artist and that I wanted to do something with that. I took a one year course in Art Therapy. I found that to be exciting and it inspired me to go to Emily Carr (College of Art & Design). I was there for almost five years,” said Jennifer. We talked about Jennifer’s feelings about school when she was younger, and how as an adult, she has spent a fair bit of time going to school.

“Yeah, I’ve spent so much time in school. I’ve taken classes and done courses at Capilano College, Langara College, the University of British Columbia (UBC), SFU and Emily Carr. That’s a lot of schooling. It was also schooling that I wanted to do. I liked it and was interested in learning,” she said.

 

Jennifer just completed a one year contract with a Women's Resource Centre.

“It’s an organization that works with women supporting advocacy, education and outreach, in issues of poverty and violence. I worked on a team that put together Canada’s first recycled shipping container social housing. It was an incredible opportunity,” she said. (*Fact Check - see link below.) We talked about how the project was one that saw tangible results and would have a long lasting, positive impact on the lives of those involved.

“The contract ended and now I’m looking for work again. I have a fairly eclectic resume. I’ve enjoyed working for non-profit organizations. I’d like to get into Project Management,” she told me. We discussed a few initiatives that the City of Vancouver is working on.

 “I’ve looked into a couple of opportunities with the City. We’ll see what happens.” I asked Jennifer to stay in touch, so I can find out where her next adventure takes her! #notastranger

*Fact check - http://www.atira.bc.ca