By Sucheta Singh, Marketing and Communications
Jacquoline Martin has fought against many odds. She’s lived with epilepsy since she was three months old. She still has seizures every four to five months.
“If I have to take a day to rest, I’ll take a day to rest, but it’s not something that will stop me from fulfilling my dreams,” she says.
Her road to fulfill her dreams started a year ago when she founded Vancouver Outreach. The biweekly distribution program gets basic necessities to people in need in the Downtown Eastside. Over the past year, over 20,000 items, such as toiletries, have been given out.
This caught the eye of the Women’s Executive Network, an organization that pushes for the advancement and recognition of women in management, executive and professional roles. Next thing she knew, Jacquoline got an email saying that she was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women, which also includes previous winners like Arlene Dickinson, the CEO of Venture Communications who is better known for her role on CBC’s Dragon’s Den.
“Most of the people on the list have extensive resumes but what they were really looking for was how many times you’ve been able to fall and pick yourself up,” says Jacquoline.
Along with Vancouver Outreach, Jacquoline is working on a new project. Together with Douglas alums Zeeshan and Karina Hyatt, founders of Prizm Media, and Danison Buan, founder of Refood, she will be launching Karebox Technologies Inc. in March.
Karebox is a charitable subscription box company, which Jacquoline says is the first of its kind in North America. More details will be made available when the initiative launches but for now, she says the company is creating innovative methods of tackling homelessness across North America with the use of technology.
“I used to live in poverty. My parents had lost their million-dollar business. My dad had worked 15 years to build a welding shop, and he made quite a bit of money, and all of a sudden he lost it all.”
Because of this experience, Jacquoline says she wanted to design a box where subscribers had access to goods to take care of their needs.
“The reality is 4.9 million Canadians live in this kind of poverty, and no one is helping them. As this poverty grows, can the food bank keep up? No, it can’t, because the people who are feeding the food bank are middle class and the middle class is dying.”
While more information about the service will be available at the launch, the goal is to take the service global.
Meanwhile, Jacquoline says she’ll finish her degree at Douglas College and then decide if she wants to further her studies. She credits the College with giving her the opportunity to make connections that have helped her vision thus far.
“There are things I’ve learned here and relationships I’ve formed that have made an impact on me. They’ve shaped everything I’ve done.”