What is the best way to spend a Saturday in Fort McMurray?
“That depends on the weather. In the summer it’s really fun to float down the river, sit out on a patio or take the dogs for a walk in the Birchwood trails. In the winter I prefer indoor activities where it’s warm such as movies and cuddles with my husband and dogs on the couch.”
Jennifer was born to a young, single, mother who worked hard to provide for her kids in Baie Verte, Newfoundland. “She was a very tough lady. She taught me not to rely on anyone, to be strong and provide for myself.” They say it takes a village to raise a child and for Jennifer, that village was her mother and grandmother. Jennifer describes her Nan as “a really hard worker, she took care of everybody.” With these two strong female figures encouraging her, it isn’t hard to see how Jennifer had the courage to pack up and move to Fort McMurray after university for her first teaching job.
Not many people can say that their first job after university was such a great fit that they stayed there for 10 years, but that is what Jennifer has done. When she started at Father Mercredi, Jennifer got involved with Santas Anonymous, just helping out wherever she could. Fast forward 10 years and she is one of the few running the show. With the help of an amazing team of staff and students, Santas Anonymous helps provide Christmas gifts to families in need all over the city and in outlying communities.
Jennifer sees the financial strain plaguing young families in our region, but also sees first-hand how this community comes together to help each other. “If you do any work with any type of charitable organization, you will see this community’s generosity. There may be times where we struggle to get the funds we need for our program, but there is always someone who comes through.” As a teacher and a volunteer, Jennifer takes pride in helping our communities youth grow and succeed, and she plans to continue doing it for the years to come.