Jasmine, the co-founder of Grow Still and visionary, was inspired to start an emerging adult wellness program after a long and enlightening journey with her own mental, spiritual, and physical health.
Utilizing the foundations of various psychological, wellness and social transformation theories, she put together her own framework and began testing it out on a friend. Although she learnt many things, including that “Diversity” is a necessary and important dimension of identity, she experienced a few downfalls within the program. Through health-related trials and discouragement from certain members of her social network, she contemplated letting go of her dream. Upon return from an adventure out West, she found inspiration in a program called Jeunes Volontaires, a provincial bursary allowing young adults to work on a project, be it artistic or socially-inclined. A generous friend and donor helped keep the team afloat until the grant kicked in, but it was the beginning of Jeunes Volontaires that gave Grow Still the momentum it needed to get off the ground. The burst of financial freedom also attracted others who were interested in building the program.
Vanessa has her own unique and inspiring story. At the age of 17, Vanessa ran away to avoid an unhealthy environment at home. She was placed in Youth Protection. Not getting much support from the system, eventually, as she puts it, she “fell through the cracks of society.” This meant that the system did not follow up to assure she had services and help in her transition from a 17-year-old in Youth Protection to an “adult.” Vanessa chose to complete the Legal Practical Nursing degree to financially support herself through University. Vanessa’s ultimate goal for her future was to use her own growth and healing experiences to create a business oriented to offering holistic health and multi- approached coaching support services to young people. Vanessa directly experienced the very visible gap in support services and wanted to contribute to society by using the privilege of her education as a platform of transformation change. Vanessa completed an Undergraduate degree in the Specialization of Human Relations concentration of community development, Graduate diploma of Case Work, an international internship in London England, and she is now currently enrolled at Lumia, an accredited Life Coach School on her way to be an accredited Life Coach. By the end of Vanessa’s university career, she had an extensive knowledge surrounding psycho-educational approaches, program management, team management, trauma- informed and crisis strategies, holistic well-being, resilience,therapeutic approaches, positive inquiry, coaching techniques, sexual health and gender studies, dynamics of cognitive & psychosocial development, relationship styles, well-being, cultural relativism, diversity awareness and much more which is brought to the core of and all the programs created at Grow Still.
Cue Daniel, the mentor, co-founder, and adviser for Grow Still. Daniel met Jasmine through a friend who recognized that their similar interests, goals, and ideas could benefit from one another. Before Daniel knew about Grow Still, he had followed several self-development trainings and was interested in coaching within his professional context and externally. He had already successfully curated several community programs like “La Noche Tropical,” where singles come together to dance, “Contagious Happiness,” a website where people share things to increase their level of happiness, and finally, a series of workshops to help young adults find their passions and connect with others. Daniel’s inspiration to join Grow Still comes from the fact that he wanted to offer people the opportunity to have tools when they are still young adults so they can be happy and fulfilled, as he wished he would have as a young man. In a few words, he wants to pay it forward.
Each founder took a different path that led them to Grow Still. It is their diverse experiences that has facilitated the development of a program tailor-made to help others with their own journeys of self-love and self-discovery. Through mutual efforts the founders continue to develop Grow Still surrounding themselves with people who help strengthen the community and advance towards collective goals. Through their actions the team aims to: Advocate for the recognition of emerging adults by the government as a population in need of support Encourage people from diverse backgrounds to meet their highest potential despite societal barriers, Combat the growing suicide rate within the emerging adults population, Reduce stress and anxiety through Grow Still support strategies, Direct, people to relevant and helpful resources, Turn our website into an online resource, and Create a global community. There are many challenges emerging adults continue to face in society however the founders of Grow Still have helped initiate a process of collective healing and strength. After all, to heal our community and society at large we must first begin to heal ourselves.