Helping people in crisis through a United Way agency has made Jerilyn who she is today

She is proud to be helping people dealing with mental illness and other challenges, and grateful to the donors that make it happen.

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Jerilyn never intended to be a social worker. As a psychology undergraduate student looking to build practical skills, she started volunteering at United Way–supported agency that provides counselling and crisis support nearly two decades ago. The experience changed the direction of her life.

An opportunity to volunteer for the agency, helping people experiencing distress, inspired Jerilyn to pursue a master’s degree in social work and a leadership role in the “helping profession.”

Today, she works as the agency’s executive director, providing leadership to a team of dedicated and compassionate staff and volunteers, many of whom have experienced their own personal struggles.

“We’ve all faced adversity in the past—including me,” says Jerilyn. “There were times, growing up in a small town, when I didn’t have anyone to talk to.”

Jerilyn at her office.

Putting empathy to work

The agency’s on-site counselling services are something Jerilyn says are essential to people needing support – something she recognizes she would have benefited from herself., she was amazed. “That would have meant the world to me. To not feel so alone at that time,” she says.

This vital community resource for people from all walks of life is what inspired Jerilyn to put her own experiences to work for the benefit of others. She’s incredibly grateful to United Way donors, like you, who are helping to ensure that help is there—when and where it’s needed—for many of the one in five people who will struggle with a mental illness in any given year.

“I definitely wouldn’t be the person that I am today without the Centre,” Jerilyn says. “This is not only a career; it’s part of who I am as a person.”

Help more people like Jerilyn give others hope. Donate today.

EricaHelping people in crisis