Jordan Apetagon is a survivor of inter-generational trauma in the wake of residential schools. He is just 25.
Both his parents attended the schools, and Jordan looks back on a life impacted by their pain and chronic alcohol use. As a child he took the role of caregiver for a mother he saw as mentally, emotionally, and physically unable to care for herself. At nine he phoned Child and Family Services to put himself into care.
His mother died in a house fire when he was 14 and still in foster care, and his dad from cancer a year after. That was when a bottle was placed in front of him and he was told it was his way to numb pain.
Thanks to United Way donors, he found his way back.
Today Jordan has sobriety and belonging at Studio 393—part of United Way Winnipeg donor-supported agency partner Graffiti Art Programming.
“It’s kept me out of jail. It’s kept me from wanting to turn back to the old ways where I used to be an alcoholic and I used to be a drug addict and a very depressed and lonely person…I honestly don’t think I’d still be here if it wasn’t for this place.”
He began exploring his creativity at the youth-led arts studio in 2015. He got involved in a mentorship program, learning life-skills, and sharing his story through hip-hop and freestyle music. For the first time Jordan found a solid foundation and people he could truly depend on.
The mentorship he found there made a real difference.
“I never had anyone respect me or acknowledge that fact that I was even there. I got that here (at Studio 393).”
In 2017 Jordan shared his story with Residential School Magazine. That led to him being asked to speak about his experiences with other youth so they can learn and take strength from him.
He wants people to also learn from his music, and to know that, “they’re not alone with whatever they’re going through.”
Jordan was inspired by Studio 393 when he wrote his song Where Do I Go, and finding a place where he could trust people.
Help give people like Jordan hope. Donate today.