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May13WedThanks to The Salvation Army, Jeanne can look at herself in the mirror again. And she likes what she sees. May 13, 2015 by Linda Leigh
Jeanne hadn't smiled for two years. When people stared at her broken and missing teeth, she felt embarrassed, unattractive and worthless. Today, with help from The Salvation Army, she has turned her frown upside down.
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- Faith & Friends
Journey to Depression
Jeanne's life journey has been one filled with trauma and heartache. Her father was an alcoholic, and she was beaten on a regular basis by her mother. Her two brothers molested her, and she was raped by her sister's boyfriend.
At 15, Jeanne was pregnant with her first son. At 20, she was pregnant by a different man. Neither was ready for fatherhood, and both quickly abandoned her. Overcome by feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, Jeanne attempted to take her life.
The events of Jeanne's past laid the foundation for a difficult future. Depressed and anxious for decades, she wondered if she would ever heal.
Filling the Gap
Then The Salvation Army's Health and Wellness Program stepped in to help. “The program exists to help people rise out of poverty, to get healthy and back on their feet,” says Vanessa Giuliano, director of The Salvation Army's community and family services in Woodstock, Ont.
It was formed in response to a community social report that determined basic health needs weren't being met with some of the region's most vulnerable citizens.
“The Salvation Army filled the gap and the program has been well received,” says Giuliano.
Assistance consists of financial help with dental procedures, prescriptions and eyeglasses. Small grants are provided or loans are set up. Other support includes transportation to out-of-town medical appointments and medical equipment such as portable blood-pressure machines.
“For many years, depression impacted my ability to function,” says Jeanne. “Medication was helpful but its side effects caused my teeth to decay. I live on a fixed income and just couldn't afford to get my teeth fixed.”
The dental help Jeanne received from The Salvation Army has had a huge positive impact on her mental stability.
“Dentures changed my life,” says Jeanne. “I'm able to smile again, and that self-confidence helps me cope with whatever challenges come my way. It's been a long time since I've felt accepted. Now I look at myself and say, 'You're awesome.' And that makes me smile.”