Suzanne Leblanc doesn’t readily confide in others.
“Hey, it’s not easy talking about yourself,” she said. A caring person by nature, she’s more concerned about the wellbeing of those around her. She loves her man, Sebastian, as much today as the day they met. She’s shared her life with him for eight years now, “but not my apartment though,” she admits.
Suzanne was born in Montreal. She spent the first couple of years of her life in a shelter, but remembers very little of her childhood. At 12 years old, she was sent to live in a foster home and later in a shelter for women when she was an adult.
Now 34-years-old, she never had the opportunity to get to know her father.
“I went to court but they didn’t let me see him,” she says. “He came to see me in my foster family once to give me some money and a religious knickknack. I think the end of his life was hard, but I’m not sure.”
Suzanne never lived with her mother.
“I love her very much. I don’t see her very often, but I do love her,” she admits. Her eldest sister recently got married. For such special occasions, her family gets together, which give Suzanne a chance to see her younger brother, nephew (whom she would like to see more often) and her half-sister that she hardly ever sees.
She also has another family, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Montreal, a community mentoring organization. Her “big sister” Myriam, has watched over her since she was a child.
In her 20s, Suzanne did a couple of internships and had several jobs, including one in a thrift shop, but she never found stability in the workplace. She finally settled down in Lachine (a borough of Montreal) where she met Sébastien, the man of her life.
Sébastien is currently looking for a job in computer science. He is the one who encouraged Suzanne to sign up at L’Itinéraire. She joined in January and, thanks to the job, Suzanne is busy, has an additional source of income and opens up to the world. When she talks about her “lover” as she calls him, she smiles. Sébastien makes her happy and you can tell.
She’s also very proud of having written several articles for the street paper.
“I’m delighted, it makes me very happy working here,” she says. “I like smiling at people, talking to them and feeling some human warmth.”
If you meet her on her pitch in front of the restaurant Frite alors! on the Montreal’s Rue Saint-Denis. Suzanne will greet you with a big smile and a “Hello! L’Itinéraire! Would you like to fight poverty?”
Translated from French to English by Alexis Rappe for L’Itinéraire
Courtesy of L’Itinéraire / INSP