My name is Yasmine Jarecke and I am a junior in the Nursing Program at Montana State University’s Honors College. I grew up in Joliet, Montana, a little town of just over 600 people. My mother immigrated from Syria in 1967 and my dad is a photojournalist from Nebraska. While visiting family in Syria, I have seen firsthand how people suffer when they don’t have access to high quality medical care, specifically family planning. These barriers disproportionately affect women’s health. My dream is to one day use nursing to increase access to reproductive healthcare, especially in rural areas that need it most.

My first couple months at Montana State University were absolutely fantastic! I was enthralled with the rigorous nursing school program, while experiencing a flourishing social life. But then everything changed. At my first college party, I was sexually and violently assaulted by a stranger. I suffered from denial, shame and PTSD. The only action I felt ready to take was to seek care at a healthcare facility. Unsure of where to go, I made an appointment at a nearby clinic that claimed to provide pregnancy testing and STI screenings. During my visit, I experienced intense judgment and was forced to sit through a lecture about my decisions. In my vulnerable state, this experience further shattered my confidence and sense of safety. I left feeling confused, ashamed, and not knowing who to trust.

Eventually, I confided in my friend about the assault. She immediately encouraged me to make an appointment at Bridgercare. That appointment was the first step towards my healing process and self-love after the assault.

At Bridgercare, I was met with genuine compassion and nonjudgmental care. They didn’t just chart; they listened. They didn’t just prescribe; they offered a variety of therapeutic options. I left feeling like I could begin to take control of my own body again. My provider at Bridgercare is incredibly knowledgeable, and I still trust her to help me. She lifted me up and gave me hope when I was at my lowest.

Now, I don’t hesitate to go to Bridgercare for all of my reproductive healthcare needs. With their sliding fee scale, I can afford the services provided. This fall, I was able to do a nursing rotation at Bridgercare which allowed me to work side-by-side with the providers and nurses that have given me excellent care for these past three years. I am continually inspired by the way the medical staff empower their patients to make educated decisions that set them up to be successful in the future. With Bridgercare as my role model, I am looking forward to graduating next fall and paying it forward as a provider for women’s healthcare.

Even though I am a student with varying and limited amounts of money, I still donate what I can. I know how crucial their services have been for me and countless others just like me.

I believe in access to family planning. I believe survivors. I believe in equality for women. I believe in Bridgercare.

Let’s make 2019 the year where women can’t be ignored.

Will you join me?

Thank you,