My life revolves around empowering others to discover the power within themselves. As health and wellness educator. I have always taken a holistic approach to achieving a healthy and balanced lifestyle. This is the same approach I have used time and time again in my own life to overcome the many trails and tribulations I have faced.
Adopted at the age of three, I grew up in a small town raised by a white family in a predominately white community. Growing up as the “other” I endured years of bullying and cruelty. Although I was raised in a loving family, both her parents struggled with mental illness and therefore where unable to provide the emotional support needed to address the serious issues I faced. Hoping to escape my problems, I left home and ended up on the streets of downtown Toronto.
As a homeless teen, I experienced, poverty, precarious employment, sexual exploitation, teen pregnancy, and threats of violence. As a young teen mom, without a high school education, I struggled to provide for her daughter, working multiple low paying jobs. Determined to make a better life, I returned to school and relied on coping strategies like regular exercise, mindfulness, visualization and holistic eating to help complete an Honours Bachelor of Science in Health Administration. After which I worked at multiple large-scale healthcare organizations in information technology and research while completing a Master of Science in Health Informatics from the University of Victoria.
In 2018, I founded the R.I.S.E Initiative. The objective of R.I.S.E is to inspire, advocate, and empower youth who have grown up socio-economically marginalized, vulnerable, often exploited and having survived multiple traumatic events in their lives. This work gives me an opportunity to leverage both my lived experiences and background in healthcare and academic research to help other young people with a similar story to my own while raising awareness and helping to reduce the stigma vulnerable populations face.