Before I came to Eva’s Phoenix, I was in a hard place.

My family and I didn’t get along. Living at home I was lost to the person I was and how to use my voice. I was trying to move forward but was only a shadow of the person I am now. I knew that for my sanity and for my mental health, I couldn’t stay at home.

When I left, I was in the shelter system for a while. Though I was no longer at home, I still felt stuck. I was all grown up yet still had training wheels on, and it was frustrating. I was at Eva’s Place for seven months until the staff suggested that I apply to stay at Eva’s Phoenix. It didn’t feel so at the time, but moving to Phoenix was probably the best decision I could have ever made.

Being here, I have my own room and I can cook for myself, I can live life and do the things I need to move forward. Phoenix gave me what I needed, somewhere I could assert my independence, yet know if I looked behind me, there were always supportive staff to back me up.

Living at Phoenix has helped me to restructure the essence of who “Jessica-Anne Grey” is, as a human being and a young woman. I am a go-getter. I always try to push forward. I began working on my dreams again. I applied for school and this September I will be attending Seneca College to study Behavioural Science. But just like any other human being, I have my low moments. There were many different aspects of Phoenix that helped me find my way back to that high and the Running Club was one of them.

It’s funny, because I used to hate running, but I needed something other than just my everyday struggles, something that would elevate and motivate me. When I feel good physically, I feel better emotionally. Every time I run, I am reminded that I’m capable of things I’m not always sure of. When I run, I am reminded that with effort, you progress. When I run, it shows me that I’ve learned to love myself and that my body deserves love. And some days it’s because life is hard and sometimes all you need is just to listen to yourself breathe.

On October 18th, I will be running in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathonto help bring healing to other lost souls. With your help, we can make a difference in the lives of so many others like me. Eva’s and their programs, like the Running Club, have changed my life in ways unimaginable. Before I could not stand for myself and now I am ready to stand up for others.

Eva’s can only continue to help guide youth if they have support from members of our community like you. So I will run to prove that this is a cause worth fighting for and I will fight my hardest. Will you join me?


You can help youth just like Jessica.

Our award-winning programs have been proven to help homeless youth lead productive, self-sufficient and healthy lives.

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