Kitchener, Waterloo & Cambridge Area

29 Young Street East
Waterloo, Ontario N2J 2L4 (Google Map)
Telephone: 519-603-0223
Fax: 519-888-6422
Email: info@sanguen.com

Wellington, Dufferin & Guelph Area

176 Wyndham Street North
Guelph, Ontario N1H 8N9 (Google Map)
Telephone: 877-351-9857
Fax: 519-888-6422
Email: info@sanguen.com

News

Meet Jenn!

If you’ve spent any time around Sanguen’s offices in Waterloo or Guelph, you know that our team includes some amazing volunteer outreach workers! In the coming months, we’d like to introduce them to you here on the Sanguen blog.

So far, we’ve profiled Sharon and Johnathan and Natasha. Now we’d like to introduce you to Jenn – who’s here to tell us why she volunteers with Sanguen.

jenng2

 

Hi Jenn! Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Let’s start off easy – tell us a little about yourself! 

I am originally from Toronto and came to Guelph to go to treatment. I had a supportive and loving family life, but found myself on a really self destructive path for most of my young adult and adult life. Using and abusing substances, becoming an IV drug user, in and out of jail and contracting Hep C along the way. At 34 years old, I decided this wasn’t the life I wanted to continue living, and came to Guelph to go to long term treatment. Since treatment I have remained drug free and now live in Guelph.

That’s quite the journey! How long have you been volunteering with Sanguen?

I have been volunteering and doing outreach with Sanguen for three years.

What do you do when you’re not volunteering with Sanguen?

Presently I also work at a group home for folks living with mental illness as a support worker. I am also a member of a 12 step fellowship in which I support other women living in recovery. And I have some great friends and family that I love to spend time with.

You’re a busy person! What might someone be surprised to learn about you?

I am one of the coolest Aunties out there!!

I don’t think anyone will really be surprised by that, Jenn!  Tell us, why do you volunteer in general? 

I believe volunteering is an amazing way to be involved in the community in which I live. I have received so much help along my journey, and I believe strongly that I must give back that which was given to me.

Why did you decide to volunteer with Sanguen specifically?

I couldn’t imagine a better place to be involved with volunteering than Sanguen. I feel blessed to work with sanguen team, who are some of the most amazing people I have met. Sanguen stands for all that harm reduction embodies. No judgment, no stigma, meet people wherever they may be at are all philosophies of Sanguen. The approach Sanguen takes treats people with compassion and dignity, regardless of their choices in life, and I believe passionately in the work that Sanguen does for our community.

Well, that makes my next question pretty easy to answer, but.. what motivates you to stay involved with us?

The passion and compassion that Sanguen has for our community is all the motivation I need to stick around. I am motivated every day to be part of a team that wants to make our community a better place.

You do a lot of different things at Sanguen – in the office, in groups, outside of the office.. Of all the things you do while volunteering with us, what’s your favourite?

Sharing peoples lives, both the good and the bad with love and support, and being part of a safe place for folks to come.

What has surprised you most volunteering for Sanguen?

How resilient and strong folks can be in the face of adversity.

Everything we do at Sanguen is based in harm reduction – so I have to ask: why is harm reduction important to you?

Better question, why isn’t harm reduction more important to more people!?! Harm reduction is based on all that is loving, supportive and compassionate in an otherwise sometimes destructive world. I believe strongly that with love, support and understanding, the stigma of drug use can be eradicated. Why would we treat anyone with judgment when we can just listen and try to understand them? When we accept where someone is at, without judgment or fear, we open the doors for positive and lasting change in lives and society at large. And isn’t that a beautiful thing??

It sure is! In your opinion, why is outreach an important part of Sanguen’s work?

Outreach is such an important part of Sanguen because we go to where the people are. Often outreach is the first point of contact for folks. Instead of forcing people to come to us, with barriers and hoops to jump through, we come to you. Outreach is a starting point for beautiful and fulfilling relationships to develop. It is a whole lot easier to talk about the bigger issues or changes one might be facing when the relationship has started in a place of sitting around on a park bench sharing a coffee and a chat than a clinical office somewhere.

What do you wish more people knew about Hepatitis C?

More people need to know THERE IS TREATMENT FOR HEP C. IT IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE!!!!

How do you feel about the people you meet while doing outreach in our community?

I feel love, understanding and awe for the people I have met doing outreach.​ The connections that have been made and continue to foster are what make me feel like part of my community.

Thank you so much for chatting, Jenn! We’re really glad that you’re a part of the team!

One Response to “Meet Jenn!”

  1. Renee Golder says:

    Jenn you are an Inspiration to Us all ! You show Compasion to the Ultimate ! If I could say only only one word… “ANGEL”
    Thank You

Leave a Reply