Elaine was born in Montreal and lived a conventional life working as a deli clerk, pursuing her passion to become a cheese expert. Unfortunately, her life shattered when she suffered the tragic loss of her daughter.

She moved to Nova Scotia to grieve and went on to lead what seemed like a great life working at the Cape Breton Post. However, what seemed like happiness on the outside was merely a façade for what was going on inside – Elaine was still deeply grieving the loss of her daughter.

In 2013, Elaine’s life was spiraling out of control as she struggled with depression, anxiety and grief. When she was diagnosed with PTSD she knew she needed a change, so she packed her bags and moved to Edmonton to start a new life.

A broken dream

Unfortunately, when Elaine arrived in Edmonton she found it hard to connect with people and struggled to find someone that could guide her to finding her new purpose. She was alone, sick and ran into some unfortunate circumstances that eventually left her homeless. Struggling with her mental health, and with no one to count on, Elaine resorted to prescription drugs to escape her reality.

Thankfully, Elaine realized the severity of her addiction and decided to make a change. She was determined to start a new chapter in her life – in Calgary. When Elaine got off the Greyhound bus in the new city, she immediately knew she had found exactly what she was looking for – the beginning of a new life.

“From the moment I got off the bus, I felt like Calgary was going to be the right place for me.”

Elaine set on a search for an organization that could help her piece her life back together – the light she desperately sought for after so many years of darkness.

The Mustard Seed Changes her life

Within the first day of Elaine’s arrival to Calgary, she found support at The Mustard Seed. She was referred to employment services and was enrolled in the Seed Academy employment-readiness class the next day.

“The Mustard Seed has helped me tremendously,” says Elaine with a smile, holding her completion certificate from the Seed Academy in her hands.

Elaine’s course facilitators at the Seed Academy opened her eyes to an amazing set of skills Elaine didn’t even know she had. Building her resume with them helped Elaine remember everything she’s learned over the years – even through the incredible hardships she’s endured.

“I learned so much with this class. I feel so proud of myself for this accomplishment.”

Turning a new leaf

With her mind set on finding a purpose in life, and with a new resume in hand, Elaine started to look for a job. She applied for several positions with the help of an employment coach during her one-one-one sessions at the Seed Academy. Elaine ended up making a special impression on one of the managers at the Sunterra near by The Mustard Seed’s 1010 Centre, the place she now calls home. So much so, that she got a job offer working in the deli department.

Elaine says she’s finally found her purpose in life, “I’m at peace here,” she says when she talks about arriving in Calgary and finding The Mustard Seed. “I haven’t been happy in 13 years, but here I feel like I have nothing to worry about.”

Gary, her manager at Sunterra, says Elaine really touched his heart with her story. “Elaine is a hard worker and brings a great personality to our team,” says Gary.

Elaine says she’s found a home, a job and a great community at The Mustard Seed. She aspires to be an Assistant Manager at a deli department in the near future.

“I want more people like me to know about The Mustard Seed’s services and programs so they can change their own lives too.”