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Inspiring Resilience: Jennifer Edwards' Journey of Compassion and Healing in the Peace Region

Inspiring Resilience: Jennifer Edwards' Journey of Compassion and Healing in the Peace Region

Jennifer Edwards’ deep connection to the Peace Region has profoundly influenced both her life and her extensive contributions to this community. Born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Jennifer’s family relocated to the Peace Region when she was nine years old, a move that shaped her formative years. Growing up within the Grande Prairie Public School division, she was immersed in a nurturing and supportive environment, surrounded by inspiring educators, family, and friends. Jennifer’s active participation in extracurricular activities, sports, music programs, and community events ignited a lifelong passion for community engagement and fostering a strong sense of pride in the Peace Country and its people.

Despite her early exposure to the region's positives, Jennifer faced numerous challenges throughout her journey. From enduring sexual assault at the young age of 16 to navigating the complexities of young motherhood with four children, and later experiencing divorce at 36, her life has been a testament to resilience. As a single parent, she confronted additional hurdles, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, which tested her strength and perseverance.

Yet, her greatest challenge came with a stage IIIB colon cancer diagnosis at 38, necessitating surgery and chemotherapy. Jennifer approached this trial with courage and determination. Throughout her battles, she found solace and strength in the bonds she cultivated with her family, friends, and community, recognizing their pivotal role in navigating life's darkest moments.

For the past 21 years, Jennifer has been raising her four children in the Peace Region, aiming to instill in them the same pride and connection to the community that she cherishes. Her inspiration to contribute to the Peace Region is rooted in her belief in human connection and support. From a young age, she felt a strong desire to help others, recognizing that simple acts of kindness could make people feel less alone and foster healing. "Human connection and support is what inspires me the most in this world," she shares. Jennifer emphasizes the impact of small, intentional actions, believing they don't need to be grand gestures to create significant, far-reaching effects. "There is always space to create moments of action that ripple outward."

Her inspiration also comes from witnessing human resilience and the collective ability to support one another, "we can create a world that feels a little less harsh and filled with a lot more love," she believes. Jennifer draws further inspiration from her Grandma Chick, who left a lasting legacy of love and community. "I wanted people to feel loved, understood, seen, and heard, just as she did," Jennifer recalls, hoping to make a similar impact on those around her.

Jennifer embarked on her journey to create change nearly a decade ago when she decided to explore yoga classes. Having weathered numerous trials throughout her childhood, teenage years, and while raising her children, Jennifer discovered a profound shift within herself as she embraced yoga. "I began to gather and grasp a lot of trauma in my body and truly felt the impact in my outer world reflecting that," she explains.

The turning point came when Jennifer underwent her yoga teacher training. "The true trajectory of my motivation to want to make a difference began," she recalls. Recognizing the transformative potential of yoga in healing from trauma, stress, and anxiety, she felt a calling to guide others on a similar path. This led her to develop her own program grounded in yoga principles, catering to individuals ranging from three years old to adults. "For the past six years, I've spent curating my practices and teachings into programs and products I hope are making a lifelong impact on people and their healing," Jennifer shares. Her unwavering commitment to guiding others reflects her deep-seated dedication to nurturing resilience and well-being within her community.

Additionally, Jennifer has made significant contributions to various organizations and initiatives in the Peace Region. One of the organizations she supports is the Pace Community Support, Sexual Assault & Trauma Centre. As a survivor of sexual assault, Jennifer understands the crucial role they play in the community. "They are healing our community in the quiet corner with little awareness and acknowledgment of all they do," she notes. In 2021, she organized her first fundraiser for Pace, raising over $8,000. Every May since, she has conducted a craft fundraiser, collecting hundreds of supplies to aid in the healing work Pace provides. Jennifer shares, “one quick stop at a store will support the trauma healing of someone in our community through the support of Pace, altering their life journey forever. I am a testament to the work Pace does, and know the life long impact of their services. If you or anyone you know would like to support Pace, please reach out for a donation drop off, or pick up.” (links below)

Jennifer is also a supporter of the homeless community in the city, understanding that homelessness often stems from challenging and traumatic experiences. Demonstrating her commitment to compassion and dignity, she provides regular support to Wapiti House and Saint Lawrence Centre. Furthermore, Jennifer has worked with Everybody Eats GP to aid in access to nutritious meals for individuals and families facing hardship.

Her support extends to Sunrise House, donating products from her company, It's The Small Things. She has also volunteered her time at Camp Heal-A-Heart and with various sports teams, schools, and other programs, creating healing and supportive spaces focused on mindset, breath work, and movement. Her efforts collectively support the community's overall mental, emotional, and physical health.

Today, Jennifer actively participates in numerous projects and initiatives dedicated to uplifting her community. During Sexual Violence Awareness Month in May, she collected a multitude of art and craft supplies to continue her support for Pace, demonstrating her enduring dedication to aiding trauma survivors in her community.

Moreover, alongside her advocacy for Pace, Jennifer authored a children's mindfulness book titled "You Are A Gift." Released during the same week as her final chemotherapy session, this book aims to foster literacy, ignite imagination, and impart valuable lessons to young readers, embodying Jennifer's commitment to holistic education and healing.

Through her company, It’s The Small Things, Jennifer designs affirmation cards, journal pads, and hoodies that radiate kindness and promote positivity. These products cultivate a culture of compassion and encouragement, enriching the lives of those who encounter them with uplifting messages and affirmations.

Jennifer continues to teach yoga sessions and workshops focused on self-esteem and confidence-building. By empowering young people with tools for physical and mental well-being, she helps foster resilience and a positive self-image among the next generation.

For women aspiring to make a difference in their communities, Jennifer offers advice rooted in resilience and self-trust. "Life circumstances do not need to restrict you," she emphasizes. She encourages women to tap into their inner strength, show up authentically, and create safe spaces for others, fostering a ripple of positive change in how individuals show up in their own lives.

Jennifer believes that women's active involvement in community-building and advocacy is essential for inspiring future generations and supporting mental health and wellness. "It not only supports our own internal dialogue, it is imperative for our younger generations to witness women sharing with open hearts their passions," she affirms.

Jennifer's personal journey has been marked by hardships, resilience, and a deep sense of purpose. She considers herself fortunate to have transformed her own challenges into opportunities for healing and growth. "Through the years, I have felt fortunate to create programs, offer my services, and create products that have all come from my own hardships in this life," she reflects.

By using her experiences to help others, Jennifer has found fulfillment and connection. "It is in helping and giving back that I feel the most connected to people and myself," she shares. This sense of connection has fueled her confidence to pursue her dreams, despite facing barriers and setbacks along the way. Jennifer's journey has taught her to trust in her past experiences, recognizing that they have given her the strength to create impactful initiatives that support healing within her community.

As part of the '30 Women for 30 Years' campaign, Jennifer Edwards hopes to leave a message of love, kindness, and compassion for future generations of women. Inspired by Maya Angelou's timeless wisdom, Jennifer believes that the true legacy we leave behind is not measured by our words or actions but by how we make others feel. "When this life comes to a close, it is how we live our lives and the impact we leave on those around us that truly matters," she reflects.

Jennifer's hope is for all individuals to show up in the world with softness and love and we can leave a lasting legacy of compassion and connection for future generations of women and beyond. "That is where we will make our biggest ripples in this world," she concludes, echoing the sentiment that love and kindness are the most powerful forces for change.

Learn More: 

It’s The Small Things


PACE Sexual Assault & Trauma Centre

Wapiti House

Saint Lawrence Centre

Everybody Eats GP

Sunrise House

Camp Heal-A-Heart



To learn more about 30 Women for 30 Years, click here