Hi! I’m Gracyn, a youth ambassador for Orenda! Being an ambassador to me means getting the chance to share my story and encourage others and help them persevere through tough times. Orenda has given me the opportunity to grow and develop through mine and I want to be able to do the same for others.

Growing up in a divorced family had always made me insecure. I felt like nobody knew what I was going through and that It was somehow my fault. I never knew how to properly work out what I was going through and come out successful. I soon learned that I wasn’t the only one going through what I had gone through and that many people do go through a divorce.

A few years later I entered into junior high, a completely new school not knowing anyone. The feeling of being insecure had come back. How do I look? What do I do? Where do I go? Who do I talk to? Am I good enough?

I’ve never been an expert at making friends or fitting in. I never really had much of the same desires and interests as others. But Orenda has given me a place where I can make friends and find people with the same interests and beliefs as me!
I feel like everyone just assumes being insecure is just something that happens at that age. Which is understandable because you are going through a lot of changes and trying to figure out who you are, but you shouldn’t feel the need to not be you to just ‘fit in.’ I find many lose who they really are because they are trying so hard to be someone else, and sometimes this results in different eating disorders and other self-harming activities to try and just fit in and be someone everyone will love.

The feeling of not being thinking you’re not good enough can be one of the worst feelings you can have. You get that feeling of helplessness and defeat. You get those tears prickling in your eyes and that lump in your throat as you hold back the tears. But the thing is…. YOU ARE MORE THEN ENOUGH!! Even if you don’t believe it in the moment, you are always more then good enough! You are absolutely amazing!!! You just need to realize that!

I remember when I was in about grade 8 my older sister had been dealing with an eating disorder, she had become anorexic and had nearly died because of it. My heart was breaking at the thought of possibly losing my sister. Seeing the change in her because of people’s judgements and hurtful comments was heart breaking, people don’t understand the power of their words. But with a lot of self love and self-work, she has become such a strong, powerful, healthy and beautiful women. She inspires me everyday to keep persevering even through the tough times when you have a lot of doubt.

Being young and seeing your sister go through such a traumatic event really shifts your worldly views. You begin to doubt and question what is right and wrong and why things happen.

A few months after all of this happened we ended up no longer having our biological father in the picture. He had put us in many unsafe situations and was never a supportive fatherly figure. He had became an alcoholic when I was around the age of 10. He began neglecting us when we were there and not providing us with the proper necessities. A few years later my sister and him had gotten into a big fight regarding his girlfriend and her children. But I continued to go because I thought he was my father and I had to stay and love him. After that he began putting me in unsafe situations such as; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, leaving in the middle of the night and taking me to places where I wasn’t safe and had no way of getting out of. He would show up to different places while intoxicated threatening to take me and we started to realize this wasn’t a safe environment to be in. As I got older he would make jokes about me growing into a lady and would make me feel very insecure and not good enough. I struggled with low self esteem. But I soon began to understand that I shouldn’t need to feel this way and that if he really did love me he wouldn’t make me feel this way. So I mustered up the voice to tell my mom that I no longer wanted to have him in my life. Losing a father in your life after being raised to love him was hard especially when they don’t put up a fight to even keep you.

I began feeling I wasn’t good enough and that I was unwanted and useless. But really I was strong for voicing what I wanted and for being able to see what I need and what is best for me. I now have an amazing man I get to call my step dad and an incredible mom, who both support me very much and love me more than words can describe. I also have a little brother and my older sister who I love and who love me and I couldn’t be happier with where I am in life!

Even when times seem tough and hopeless there is always a way to grow and overcome the situation you just need to seek it, and Orenda is a place that can help you with that. They help you ignite your power and help you uncover beauty within yourself. They supply such an amazing community that makes you feel welcomed, wanted, loved and accepted. I couldn’t ask for a better community!