A new exhibition at McDougall Cottage in Cambridge has opened with the aim of sharing stories of strength and survival for those who find themselves in difficulty.
The exhibit, Resiliency: Shared Stories of Strength and Survival, showcases the lives of five people who overcame significant trials and tribulations and found inner peace.
“One of the main messages we wanted to get across is what resilience looks like in action,” said Michelle Bartlett, chief content and experience officer at Mcdougall Cottage.
Organizers said the hope is that the exhibit encourages people to find the right medium.
“Looking back over the last two and a half years, it’s been a real struggle,” said Helen Fishburn, Executive Director of CMHA Waterloo-Wellington. “There was so much fear, uncertainty, it was overwhelming.”
The presenters offer insight into their personal journey, offering perspective and inspiration to people looking for support in times of uncertainty.
One of those presenters was Jesse Belanger who said he knows what it’s like to be lonely.
“I just know how the connection has worked wonders for me,” Belanger said.
After battling drug addiction and alcoholism, Bélanger spent three years in a women’s penitentiary. This is where Bélanger credits the start of his journey of self-realization.
“I never thought of myself as a woman. I’m from Timmins, so in Timmins we didn’t have transgender people, so I didn’t even know that existed,” Bélanger said. “I just know that I felt uncomfortable in my own body all my life.”
Belanger added, “If anyone is having trouble, even if I don’t know you, you can call me.”
Each presenter offers a short video outlining their personal journey, offering perspective and inspiration to people looking for support during these uncertain times.
“Everyone has needs, everyone has their own challenges,” said Melissa Ireland, one of the five presenters.
The exhibition runs until December next year.