International Women’s Day – Jessika’s Story

This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”

Seasons Centre would like to celebrate the tremendous efforts by women and girls in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a driven Seasons Centre Team Member, we are excited to feature Jessika’s story this year.

Jessika demonstrates exceptional participation and leadership in all areas of life and her work is driving progress for everyone. Seasons Centre is grateful to have Jessika as a valued member of our Board of Directors and strong advocate of the work we provide. Thank you, Jessika!

Here is Jessika’s Story:

“I joined Seasons Centre for Grieving Children at the age of 8 and quickly realized I was not the only child experiencing grief.  My brother and I were placed into a group entitled “What About Me?”.  In the coming group sessions, I learned that there were other children my age experiencing the same emotional pain as me. For once, I wasn’t alone.  My mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and Seasons Centre was able to bring our family comfort and support.

  In June of 2001, my mother died from breast cancer at the age of 33.  I was 10 when my mother died.  I was left feeling heartbroken, angry, lonely, and confused.  Family and friends tried to support me and help me through my grief, but to little avail, I didn’t feel they really understood.

“Seasons Centre was the home that I went to for comfort.  In the safety of the four walls of Seasons, I was able to express all of my grief.  I threw paint at the walls when I was angry, I wrote letters and drew pictures to my mom when I missed her, I cuddled large teddy bears to stop the lonely feeling inside, and I shared my inner thoughts with the caring group buddies.” 

Over many years, I progressed from group to group.  I was part of Sons and Daughters, Early Teens, and finally the Young Adult Group.  Throughout the years of growing up, Seasons was always there for me.  I honestly don’t know where I would be in life if Seasons Centre wasn’t there to help me through what was the hardest time of my young life. 

After leaving Seasons Centre, I always wanted to find a way to give back to this amazing organization because they had given so much to me.  I was going through college, university, and the CGA (CPA) program for my professional designation and at that time, I couldn’t juggle my time appropriately to start getting involved. 

In 2014, I was nominated to join Seasons Centre’s Board of Directors.  This was my moment to start giving back.  At that time, I was the youngest Board Member, and I was actively involved for 3 years.  I initially struggled with sharing my thoughts and comments with the group, but I was told my comments were thought provoking and mighty.  After switching jobs, I unfortunately had to step back from my position with the Board of Directors however, I kept in touch with the Managing Director, as well as other Board Members and staff.

In 2020, another opportunity arose, and with a little push, the Managing Director encouraged me to rejoin the Board of Directors.  I actively sit on the Board of Directors and am pleased to be part of the 2021 Gala Committee.  I am able to bring my perspective as a past participant to the table and help ensure children and families experiencing grief have somewhere safe to turn. 

Today, I am a Cost Analyst at Honda of Canada Manufacturing, and I am part of the HCM Living Well Committee.  I participate in the hockey and baseball league with work.  I’ve had my inner adventure beast awoken, which has caused me to become addicted to traveling.  I am also a motorcyclist and recently returned to my downhill skiing roots.  I’ve been told that I’m strong, compassionate, loving, funny, thoughtful, and the list may go on.

I still have good days and bad days like everyone else.  My mom’s passing didn’t get easier per say, but my way to grieve and cope has become something I can manage.  I thank Seasons Centre for being there for me and my family.  I started with Seasons at a young age seeking support, and now I am a proud Seasons Centre monthly donor and Board Member, sharing my story about the importance of Seasons Centre’s programs and education to help fellow children and families in their grieving journey.”

– Jessika
Board Member & Past Participant