My name is Laura and I am a survivor of human trafficking.
I have been at the YW’s Safer House for 5 months and I am feeling better than I have in years. After months of processing my trauma, I finally feel ready for my next step – to reclaim my life. There is just one problem… I never got my high school diploma. It has been challenging to find employment without one, let alone actually figuring out what I want to do. So now, after many years of struggling, I have decided I want to go back to school. Now, I am now independently studying to take my GED test in May.
At first, self-study was really hard. I think implementing self-discipline was the hardest part. Getting up every morning and picking up the books without anyone telling me to do it was difficult. For years, I had no control over my decision-making. Now, every day, I need to get up and decide to study, work hard, and fight for my future. I had to come up with a routine that works best for me and the way I learn. I find that waking up early, putting some fresh clothes on, and working at a desk that I have assigned specifically for my studying sessions works best. Getting ready and having a space in which I can put my mind to work without interruptions make things much easier. Repetition of this routine has helped me build my self-discipline.
I was making good progress, but I have decided to accept help from the Team Advocate and Team Outreach Worker. It has always been difficult for me to ask for help, especially here. At first, I was afraid the advocates would think I am weak for needing them… the way I thought I needed help from my trafficker. But self-discipline and self-growth come from uncomfortable places for me and the advocates know this. They have always been there for me open-minded and without judgment.
I am so excited to say I have started looking for a job! Earning my GED will be essential, but so will work experience. I hope to earn as much customer service experience as possible to become a flight attendant. I have started researching the airline industry. I created a mind map to list each step that will get me closer to my goal. It not only keeps me on track, but also inspires me to keep on working hard.
During my stay at the Safer House, I have met another woman, Jade. She’s also a survivor like me, but more importantly, she has become my friend.
My name is Jade. About four months ago, I have met this other woman at the Safer House. Her name is Laura. Over time, we have become close friends – something I haven’t had in a long time. Laura and I started talking after I found out she was studying for her GED test. Since I had recently just taken my own GED test, I knew that we were meant to meet one another in this house. I started to help Laura with her studying and it has been really rewarding. It feels good to help someone (but you already know that!) but also Laura has helped me in return without even realizing it. She works so hard every day and has inspired me to work hard too – I want to work hard on my addiction treatment.
The Team Advocate told me about the YW’s WARM program and it sounds like I might be a good fit. I have also been doing a lot of thinking about my next steps for post-secondary education. My ultimate goal: to open my own book store! After Laura showed me her mind map and encouraged me to make my own, the steps I need to take to reach my goals are all becoming a lot clearer. For the first time since I can remember, I am daring to dream big for myself and to challenge what I am capable of. My journey is long, but I know I can do it.