April's blog theme is "activation" and few do it better than our Snohomish County Luncheon client speaker, Jennifer Bereskin. Jennifer shared a snapshot of her experience overcoming homelessness, domestic abuse, and alcohol addiction. This is her story.

"Although I've experienced many injustices, I hope that I can help create a better experience for future generations." - Jennifer Bereskin
 

Hearing and seeing Jennifer speak, you can't help but be inspired and motivated. Her story is one of generational trauma filled with domestic violence, rape, and chronic homelessness. Jennifer herself did not start high school until she was 16 years of age but even then she was determined to break those cycles.

Jennifer Bereksin Speaking at Snohomish Luncheon
Jennifer Bereskin

Jennifer gave birth to her son Corban while also serving as the guardian of her younger sister and fleeing a domestic violence situation. Jennifer found that navigating through the maze of government agencies was stressful but she eventually found her way to YWCA's Pathways for Women. It was here that Jennifer was able to focus on both her son and her own health because "when you're constantly in survival mode, it's hard to think past the moment you're in right now." At YWCA, Jennifer learned about the impact and importance of self-care. Jennifer's case manager helped come up with short term goals to keep Jennifer on track and connected her with legal services that ensured she would have sole custody of her son. Jennifer was also able to obtain therapy for Corban who was diagnosed with autism.

"Stable housing is a crucial part of his ongoing therapy. When we were experiencing homelessness, it disrupted his development so much that he started loosing motor skills and even stoped talking altogether."

Jennifer Bereskin, Nikki Giovanni and Maria Chavez Wilcox
Jennifer Bereskin, keynote speaker, Nikki Giovanni, and YWCA CEO, Maria Chavez Wilcox

 

Jennifer now has stable housing in Edmonds. Her son is a very smart, active, chatty 7-year-old who wants to be an astronaut. Stable housing allowed Jennifer to focus on her education and advocacy work. She is an advocate for the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance where she ensures all Washington residents thrive in safe, healthy, affordable homes. As an advocate Edmonds Community College, Jennifer serves on the Diversity Council, the Wellness Peer Advocate Program, and is a Tri-Chair Pow-Wow Community Member.

"I love being an advocate and plan to get a Master's degree in Public Policy as well as a degree in Tribal Law."

Jennifer has not let her experiences hold her back. Her hope is that she can create a better experience for future generations. She graduated with a degree in visual communications from Edmonds Community College in 2013.

Jennifer Bereskin

"Early in life, I was told that I wouldn't make it this far. That my dreams would never amount to much. I'm proud to say that I have and will continue to defy the odds."

We can't wait to see what Jennifer does next and wish her all the success in her journey. Jennifer reminds us that, "we cannot do anything without working together." You too can be part of YWCA's movement supporting women and girls and attend our King County Luncheon. We're a movement by our selves but we're a force when we are together. Join us and be "all in" for Washington women. 

Did you miss our Snohomish County Luncheon? No biggie. Check out pictures from the power Luncheon and join us May 16 in Seattle, for another power Luncheon.

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Jennifer Bereskin
Snohomish County Luncheon
Domestic Violence
Native Women
Native Advocacy
Edmonds Community College
Salma Siddick

Salma Siddick is the Social Media & Content Manager at YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish. An immigrant from Zimbabwe, Salma has lived, worked, and attended school on three continents.

YWCA

We share the stories of our clients, programs, and staff, as well as news about the agency and what’s happening in our King and Snohomish community.

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Wed, 04/24/2019 - 10:41
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