Shirley watched as the first Bridge Meadows was being built, never thinking that someday she would move in here herself. It just never crossed her mind. But, Shirley who already had a 4-year-old and who was expecting another child, was faced with a life changing situation—taking in her two nieces who needed stability and support.
When the court came to her about taking in her two nieces who had been in and out of foster homes, Shirley didn’t know how she was going to do it. But she knew she needed to. It was important to her to ensure that her nieces were raised by someone, a family member. Someone who could offer them permanency and reassure them they weren’t going anywhere else for the rest of their lives.
And that’s when she decided to look into Bridge Meadows.
“When I toured this place and heard about everything that was offered here I knew that this is where I needed to be.”
Since moving into Bridge Meadows Shirley said that everybody has been extremely helpful—whether it’s been taking her kids to school, the movies, or the park, the elders and others have been a tremendous resource as they provide a web of support underneath our family.
“I have elders cooking dinner for me and my family, coming over and just visiting, just sitting and talking. I know if I ever have a problem I can just go and talk to them. And it's not just the elders, it's the families, it's the kids supporting the other kids, the parents supporting the other parents. It's nice to know that you're in a safe place and everybody is watching out for everybody else, and nobody is just here for themselves. They're here to be a part of something.”
Most importantly being at Bridge Meadows has given her two nieces something they didn’t think they would have, a home. Up until they moved in they had been in and out of the foster care system, never having a sense of stability or permanency. But since being here, they have a room they can call their own. They've been able to go to the same school, which means they’ve been able to maintain the same friends, which is huge for them. And it’s all because they haven't had to be uprooted and start over. Again. According to Shirley, because of this stability and consistency her nieces have grown by leaps and bounds since they have been here.
Shirley’s hope is that all of her kids learn from this experience the power of being a part of something larger than themselves, and that they too give back to others. She said that already they look out for ways to support others in their community through things like clothing drives.
“It's not a community, we're a family. We're not just a place in the middle of nowhere. We're a community based on people that love and respect every other person and appreciate everybody.”