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Creating A Powerful Story Each Day She Wakes Up

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Tenacious, spunky, gutsy, hardworking are just a few of the words used to describe powerhouse Veronica Hendrick-Lockyer.

The community, her friends and family see this lady as a ‘tower’ of strength and fortitude yet she would openly share this was not always the case. Veronica came through the ranks as one pulled down by hard times. Surviving an abusive marriage, then abandoned to raise four children without any visible means of support would have toppled most under similar circumstances.  ‘It wasn’t an easy road to travel’, she shared yet here she stands today, not only as a survivor but as someone that overcame tremendous odds to now thrive in her present circumstances.

The journey to re-build a wrecked life requires determination and support even if that support only comes in the way of someone believing strongly enough in your ability to keep marching towards something better.

One obstacle Veronica and other such women deal with is the perception they’re  difficult to deal with, in fact a ‘head case’. Apparently, women coming out of abusive situations are seen as unable to cope with life. Veronica shook her head in frustration as we discussed this particular stereotype.

She explained that such women are usually traumatized at this point of their journey. Once forced onto support (welfare) they are only ensured basic needs, ie financial support for shelter and food.  She went on to say, ‘this difficult time does not mean they have given up or are incapable of wanting more for themselves and/or children.’

From Surviving to Thriving…

During her own journey from survival to thriving, Veronica noticed that accessing programs or models to help emulate greater self esteem and self awareness was missing from the system. She vowed to reach back and help other displaced women not only by providing shelter but working to bring them up through the hierarchy of needs ensuring such things as self esteem, protection, family connection, work and so on are met.

Veronica established Glass Tower Offices Corporation (GTOC), an entire corporation devoted to ending the cycle of poverty through education, dignity and self sustainability for displaced yet aspiring women.  It provides ambitious, disadvantaged women next level housing and the tools for higher education and the support to re-enter the workforce as viable, self-sustaining contributors in their community.

I’m not super-human – I simply made a decision that I can do what I wanted to do. Veronica

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Veronica with her children, Conor, Sammantha, Cassandra and Gabriel

As I spoke with Veronica, I could see GTOC held a place of extreme importance in her life.  High levels of passion and dedication allow her to give this project the attention needed to get through the difficulties associated with housing and mentoring these women. Finding much needed resources for Rose Hall Retreat, the house where the women stay during their contract period, is an ongoing concern. The usual costs associated with owning and maintaining a house is added to the intake and mentoring process that is part of GTOC. A lot of financial risk is taken on in order to help get these women to the next phase in life, a risk she willing takes on.

…And Beyond

As I studied this soft-spoken woman, I marvelled at her road travelled. Here was someone that in spite of the odds, gathered herself up to move past the stereotypical perceptions, poverty and self esteem issues to where she now stands. Veronica is the recent winner of both the Regional and Provincial Enactus Student Entrepreneurship Awards.  A current mature business student at Loyalist College, her Glass Tower Offices project was entered in this prestigious competition. She is now on her way to the National level in Calgary for the April 2014 competition. I for one have no doubt in her ability to leave with the top prize in hand.

When asked what she wants others to know about her, she calmly stated, “I’m not super-human. I made a decision that I can do what I wanted to do.” I felt her commitment to her vision in that  moment. “Gratitude plays a huge role in my day. Without it I can’t accomplish all that I need to do. That and the love and support of my amazing children make all of this possible.”

Each time I think, ‘I can’t’, I think about the tireless, beautiful, dedicated woman I interviewed. Mother, student, entrepreneur, artist, author, friend and mentor, she continues to create a powerful story each day she wakes up.

Congratulations Veronica, the world needs more like you.

Glass Tower Offices Corporation Blog

Photos: Gail Paquette, Photojournalist

 

 

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