Far and away, the holiday season is the best time of the year. Sure, some of us will gripe about the winter weather or the traffic or the stress, but there are few things better than having the opportunity to spend time with your family, sitting down to a Christmas dinner, and enjoying a few days off of work to unwind and relax. Unfortunately, too many of us take these blessings for granted.
At this time of the year, we need to remember all of those people who aren’t able to come home for the holidays or celebrate Christmas with their loved ones for one reason or another. In a recent article for Yahoo!, writer Jennifer Carofano shared a story about a young woman looking to rent a mom and dad on Craiglist. The woman, 26-year-old Jackie Turner who is currently on a full scholarship to William Jessup University in California and boasts a 4.0 GPA, has overcome much adversity in her life including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, run-ins with the law, and a period of time where she lived on the streets.
After attending a camp for troubled youth, Turner has turned her life around but expressed to Yahoo! that there’s a void in her life and around the holidays she is “overcome with sadness.” To help her cope during the holidays, Turner posted an ad on Craigslist offering to compensate a family $8 an hour to take her in, listen to her, and offer a shoulder to cry on. Turner received more than a dozen responses from families willing to taker her in for free as well as thousands of other messages from people wanting to share their similar experiences with her. As a result, Turner partnered with her university to launch Unzipped, an event that will be held on the campus of William Jessup, featuring speakers who will share their stories of pain and personal growth.
Rather than spending time with just a fill-in mom and dad, it looks like Turner will be celebrating the holidays with a much larger family. A blessing I’m sure she won’t take for granted.