A Story of Recovery: Jay

Jay’s path to higher education has been a long and winding one. Jay was admitted to Harvest House at 19, struggling with a crack cocaine addiction and having been kicked out of his parents’ house. At age 23, Jay is now clean and sober and has just completed his first semester at Carleton University. With the support of his community at Harvest House, Jay has achieved an incredible turnaround and the future is bright for this promising young scholar.

Since starting at Carleton, Jay has continued to work hard on his recovery and his schooling and was the first recipient of the Merkley-Haight Award, which is awarded to an eligible student who has overcome significant personal challenges in pursuing higher education. Having successfully completed his first semester, Jay is fitting in well at school off to an excellent start.

The transition from high school to university is challenging for many students, but especially those with few positive experiences in the public school system. As Jay was preparing for school this summer, he felt anxious and was nervous that he might not be prepared for the rigors of university life. However, he states that the supporting and positive environment at Harvest House boosted his confidence and he entered Carleton knowing he has the support of an entire community. Harvest House was able to not just help him with his academics, but provide a space in which his self-esteem grew and allowed him the opportunity to realize his potential.

He states that “being around Harvest House allowed me to be proactive about my studies, instead of being stressed before school.”

During his first year Jay is taking courses in a wide variety of subjects in order to get a feel for what he likes and would like to study in the future. His favourite course is Sociology, and he enjoys the people in his program, saying the “camaraderie in my program is great, and makes me feel supported and welcomed.” Jay has become a leader among his peers, so much so that other students are asking him for help!