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Growing up as an only child in Regina, Gayleen struggled to discover who she was. She had a very difficult childhood due to her relationship with her mother, who was involved in several abusive relationships that included persistent drug and alcohol abuse. Gayleen was abused both physically and emotionally during the early years of her life and became withdrawn from her mother.

Gayleen turned to drugs and alcohol at the age of eleven to help ease her pain. At the beginning of high school, she adopted a street life which distanced herself from her mother. In the next two years, Gayleen became affiliated with gang members and turned to prostitution to afford her lifestyle. She continually found herself in trouble with the law and dropped out of school in the tenth grade.

By the time Gayleen was 18, she had already began using Cocaine, Heroin, Morphine, Ocycontin and IV drugs. She lost contact with many of her family members and became suicidal and depressed. After four pregnancies and several abusive relationships of her own, Gayleen was referred to the Shayil Home program by a local Pastor.

Shayil Home helped Gayleen with her addictions, relationships and offered her hope. The program improved her outlook on life and she is thankful for the support of the program and the opportunity to learn how to deal with difficult situations.

“It helped me let go of the past and move forward with my life. Today I am married to a wonderful Christian man who has been sober for five years. Together we have nine beautiful children between the ages of one and fourteen. Our home is drug, alcohol and smoke free. We’re still involved with Gateway church as part of our recovery program. We go to AA, NA and Alonon six times a week. We also attend church every Sunday morning.”

Gayleen plans to complete her GED and save money to go to University where she would like to get her social work or human justice degree. She believes that her calling in life is to work with young women of all ages.