Jen Temple believes in the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child.
And she’s particularly interested in helping out at-risk youth and families in the community, those on the margins that don’t fit into the traditional areas money is allocated.
The goal for OCS through the 2022 campaign is to raise more than a million dollars to seed la ong-term fund that will help for years and years to come.
“We are raising $1.5 million to develop a long-term discretionary fund to assist youth who need the kind of support that cannot otherwise be provided in a timely manner, if at all, by other agencies or the government,” reads a post on the OCS website. “This includes financial support as well as enhanced support services and mentorship when requested.”
As part of the campaign, 50 women have signed up to raise $25,000 each. These “Women of Options” are seeking community donations to hit their fundraising targets.
“I have signed up to help raise $25,000 for this amazing organization,” said Temple, who runs Clayton’s Hillcrest Village Shopping Centre. “Any nonprofit can apply for this particular funding and it make a difference at the street level.”
She added the idea is to “create an emergency fund that fills gaps not covered by other organizations or government funding models.”
She said there are many “amazing” organizations in the province that provide much-needed funding to many groups. But OCS discovered gaps in funding and that’s where they jump in to help.
“Some programs don’t kick in for 24 to 48 hours,” explained Temple. “That can begame-changing amount of time for some of these kids.”
Temple should know. She benefitted from a much-needed program funded by OCS when she was in high school and became a teen mom.
She said some of the stories about the life-changing help provided by OCS have tugged at her heartstrings and emboldened her to reach out to others in an effort to raise money.
“One young mom was going to school and had a daycare subsidy,” explained Temple. “But she was short $300 a month and she was stuck with a tough choice, either drop out of school and go on the system or try to find other help.”
Temple said OCS stepped in to cover the daycare cost for six months while the young mom finished her dental hygienist program. The woman graduated, got a job, and is now supporting her children on her own.
Another story Temple cited was one in which a young boy was involved in gangs. As his parents tried to drag him out of gang life, gangbangers began to threaten the kids whole family.
“Even with the police, the city, the gang enforcement unit, and many other nonprofits that were at the table, nobody had the ability to use their funds to move this family out of the province,” she explained. “Options used its funds in a critical 24- to 48-hour time period to hire a U-Haul, pack up together, and get the family out. Now that family has a second chance at life.”
Temple said the stories about OCS helping people are all stories of hope.
A third story she related involved a young mother who had fled an abusive relationship.
“She was living in a very seedy motel, but she had no money for a damage deposit, so she was stuck there,” Temple recalled. “She applied for a Christmas hamper with Options and when they discovered she was living in deplorable conditions, Options was able to help her get back on her feet again.”
Temple said the stories are endless.
“I believe with all my heart that it takes a village to raise a child and I want to be a part of these kids’ villages. They are our future and they need our help.”
Not content with raising the required $25K, Temple asked the Gary and Gail Grelish Foundation to match her fundraising efforts. They agreed. If she gets to $25K, that means OCS will get $50K. The donation will be the first ever for the fledgling Gary and Gail Grelish Foundation—a foundation started by Temple’s parents.
Temple’s fundraising page can be found by going to womenofoptions.ca, clicking on “2022 Gamechangers Campaign,” scrolling down to “Jen Temple,” and clicking on her picture. Temple was halfway to her goal as of Sept. 9, reaching $12,500 in donations.
The 2022 Gamechangers Campaign runs until the end of September.
“It’s a great cause,” added Temple. “When I was young, I needed help. And now I want to help others. There is so much need.”