Jackie

 Turner 

 Jackie's Story...

“I want to rent a mom and dad.” It all started with a Craigslist heart-breaking ad seeking a family for the holidays and turned into so much more. She got exactly that, but not in the way she expected."

There's this void, my biological parents aren't here, and it's kept this hole inside of me," she explained. "I've never felt the touch of my mom hugging me and holding me. I don't know what it's like to look in my dad's eyes and feel love instead of hatred."

Jackie wished for more this holiday season. "In most aspects I'm doing great, but what about the void inside that goes unspoken about?" Her Craigslist ad, posted to the Sacramento site, expressed the same sentiments, saying, “Hello, I am looking to rent a mom and dad for a couple of days during this holiday season. Every season around the holidays I am overcome with sadness.”

 The post went on to say that the family would, of course, be compensated for their time at a rate of $8 an hour. "I was looking for two people who would sit and listen to me for a couple of hours, so that I could cry," says Turner, who notes that she's played the listener role herself in her work as a camp counselor for at-risk youth.

Jackie has a full scholarship at William Jessup University in Rocklin, California, and a 4.0 grade point average, but things haven’t always been so rosy. She is estranged from her biological parents and was sexually molested and beaten as a child.  

She was able to escape her troubling childhood but said her life has not been easy.

She was sexually, emotionally, and physically abused by her biological parents before escaping into the streets, lived a life riddled with gang violence and poverty, eventually serving a one-year prison sentence.

"She was in gang life, on the streets, fighting, doing drugs, just making a mess of my life,"

Jackie was then arrested and sentenced to a year in prison for grand theft. After her release in 2010, she was ready to turn her life around and started attending a Christian camp for troubled young adults. She also got a college scholarship and enrolled at William Jessup University. The 26-year-old has thrived in school, getting straight-As and maintaining a 4.0 GPA but as the holiday season continues she realizes something is missing from her life continued at right...

 

Several families responded to Jackie’s ad. All were willing to take her in for free. She said she even received responses from people who came from similar circumstances.

Besides dozens of families offering their homes to Jackie, she said she received messages from other teens and young adults who had similar stories of traumatic childhoods.

 "When you speak up, people start learning that they're not by themselves. Often we lock things inside of ourselves, like a lockbox of our secrets. But then you let one out and realize, 'I'm not by myself after all, am I?'" she said.

Because of all the support and messages she received Jackie has decided not to rent one family but invite everyone who reached out to her to celebrate the holiday together.

 “Just to sit, just to listen,” she said. “Just to cry with me, no strings beyond that. I’ve never felt the touch of my Mom hugging me and holding me. I don’t know what it’s like to look in my dad’s eyes and feel love instead of hatred.”

But Turner got a lot more than that.

People who have been raped, people who have been abused, people who have been passed on from foster home to foster home saying the same things. Needing love for the holiday season just like her.

So Jackie organized a gathering for everyone who responded to her ad.

 “When you speak up, people start learning that they’re not by themselves. Often we lock things inside of ourselves, like a lockbox of our secrets. But then you let one out and realize, ‘I’m not by myself after all, am I?’”

Need to connect with Jackie Turner? 

And that’s what the holidays are about.


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