Case study

EM’s Story

EM started coming to The ClementJames Centre five years ago to get help with debt. She describes the support the centre has provided her family.

“My family and I have been getting services from the centre for the past five years. It started off with coming into the centre when I was having a hard time with my rent and getting support from Crosslight. I was still at that stage where I wanted to develop my writing. Being a child of war I didn’t receive a basic education in primary. My speaking is mainly self-taught and when I wanted to improve my writing, I used to come to Hannah and speak about my concerns and insecurities around that.

One of the biggest impacts the centre has had is when my oldest was being bullied, ClementJames stepped in. When my daughter was struggling with her maths, they went beyond and got someone to tutor her. He was a really nice gentleman. Hannah was really amazing in how she always listened to me. When I come into the centre, I’m always being heard.

There are so many places you go and you express your concerns and your needs and your frustration but you might never feel like you’re being accepted or like you’re being supported but that’s never been the case at ClementJames. I was accepted and I still am. being accepted as who I am, no matter my background or what beliefs I have. At the same time, whatever concerns I have, I never feel like it goes on a deaf ear. Whenever I come across any issues, I don’t think twice before I go to the centre! I sometimes walk in without an appointment because it just feels like home. I remember coming into the centre and having tears in my eyes crying and being given a cup of tea but feeling like there was hope at the end of the day when I left. Hope for better, hope for change.

I’m doing so well because of the support that I’ve obtained from the centre. I’m managing financially even though we’re in hard times. I don’t know how I would be able to manage the little that I have if I wasn’t mindful of my spending. With my mentor, Calla, we talked about budgeting, meal planning, and getting a few essentials for my family that could make life easier. Every time we talked, it was like the centre was listening and connecting me to the things or people that could help me get to the next stage. I have a fridge so I’m able to do a full shop once a month, cook meals, and pre-prepare things.

I’m proud of myself as a mum more than ever because I’m able to homeschool my children. Honestly, it is down to my effort but it’s through the guidance, support and encouragement that the centre has provided me. That door was open for me to celebrate the job I got, that door was open for me to conquer some of my struggles, that door was open for me to seek support for my husband. Never have I felt like that door wasn’t open for me.”

*Picture is a ClementJames stock photo.