Jackie Turner is a college student at William Jessup University in California. She is a straight-A student, works part-time as a tutor, and wants to help troubled kids.
At face value, you wouldn’t know how deeply Turner was hurting for something many of us take for granted: a family. Growing up, Turner was abused, neglected, and starved. She spent her childhood locked in rooms and beaten any time she sought out food.
During the holidays, in December and January, things get especially difficult.
“I remember getting locked up and locked in rooms,” she said. “And I remember getting beatings for stealing food…. This time of year is hard. Everyone is talking about their cousins, their families, all the things that make up Christmas.”
Jackie couldn’t bear another holiday season alone, so she decided to do something radical: sheposted an ad on Craigslist to rent a family for $8 all she could afford.
“Maybe for like a couple hours just be like the light of their life for that moment,” Jackie said. “Eight bucks, just to sit, which for a college student is affordable.”
After she posted the ad, Jackie got dozens of responses, many from parents who wanted to help her, free of charge. But then there were the responses she didn’t expect. They were from college students and teens just like her. They needed a family too.
“People are hurting and broken and we need each other,” Jackie said. “We need to be loving people. And I think that’s what tonight’s about.”
So instead of renting a family, Jackie decided to create a new one. She invited all of the lonely kids out there and all of the generous parents and paired them off.
Jackie even found a mother figure of her own, a woman who worked at the very university she attended. Sometimes the family you need isn’t always the one you expected.
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