"I grew up in two places at once. A little town in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland called Foxtrap, and another in Rhode Island, USA. My sister and I were raised by our single parent - our mother, Donna, a phenomenal woman and teacher in profession and in life. Her true home was south of the border and so we returned there often for extended visits during the school holidays, but she raised us by the ocean in our quirky east coast town. We had a good upbringing by all measures, despite a lack of extended family in Canada. We were raised with a love of learning, with adventures, and with everything that supports a kid to thrive.
In 2001, our mother died by suicide. There were a lot of system failures that got us as a family to that place, and like most explanations and analysis of tragic events and the statistics that surround them doesn’t change the fact we ended there. I was in university, and my sister was barely in high school. And just like that, I learned that any life can change in an instant, and that nothing about our individual or collective circumstance is truly in our control. Our two-country existence as a family meant that we were never firmly rooted in either place. But the thing that has resonated in my life and career since that time was that our seaside community showed up for us in ways I cannot start to articulate to this day. Community support in Foxtrap was not a bank account that we drew down based on what we had invested in the past (which wasn’t much). It was what our community did as part of its DNA. I often say that we got very lucky, and in most ways we did. But moreover I’m profoundly grateful to have been lucky enough to have lived in that small town. That support changed my trajectory in life and shaped my belief that we all have the power of creating a community where we are truly supported and support one another as a foundational part of our of being on this planet.
Since then, my sister has gone on to have a thriving medical career stateside (now more commonly known as “where my nephew lives”) and I have been humbled enough to work in some of the poorest geographies on earth through a career in international development, and later to dedicate several years to working in mental health and addictions in Ottawa and Washington, DC. In many ways, though, our work at VCC brings me back to the heart of the most formative experience of my life. That we can have systems that mean nobody is left behind because of the circumstances they could never control, and that we can create a community where we are supported – really supported – as a part of our DNA. Enough for All is embodiment of the systems we need, and through our principles, articulates the connection that will get us there. And for that, I’m again both lucky and grateful to be a part of this work.