Mr. Lakes shares his weekly conversation with Alumna Jordan (Traynor) Guildford (2000-03) now living in Calgary, Alberta.
Jordan has turned “pain into positivity” for thousands of women and their families. She did it by tapping into generosity, her own story, and the beautiful power of jewelry. She was always an illuminating personality at King’s-Edgehill School, and she continues to sparkle in her adult life as the founder of the nationally renowned Calgary-based charity, Gems for Gems. She is a woman and a mother with a mission and the ability to accomplish it. The success of her charity recently led to her recruitment as the Team Lead of the United Way of Calgary Ambassador Programme.
Jordan started a jewelry drive to give Christmas gifts to women in Calgary shelters, and it has grown over the past four years to be a multi-faceted charity that helps women develop life skills, self-confidence, and to end cycles of abuse. During a recent conversation, Jordan combined articulate eloquence with passion as she described her personal journey to improve her community with a focus on positivity and looking-forward. “We don’t talk about back-stories at all. We are 100% about the future,” she says. “Gems for Gems re-connects the women with being women and lets them know they are not alone, and people understand what they are going through. It reminds women that they are more than just a life source.”
Jordan’s past was not easy. She came to KES on a full scholarship as her family struggled to make ends meet. “We had nothing,” she says. “We often went without food, heat or hot water. I was a day student, but I would eat dinner at the cafeteria on occasion as we had little at home. I remember once being gently reminded that I was not allowed, but then it stopped, and I was allowed to dine there. I think someone said something. It really helped.”
Jordan points to Ms. (Esther) Mosher (1967-1972; Teacher 1977-2012) as a key mentor in her development. Ms. Mosher recalls Jordan as: “A hard working student and a very good track athlete. She was very helpful at encouraging and assisting her fellow teammates. She was always aware of others and would speak up if she saw anything as unfair or unjust.” Ms. Mosher attended Jordan’s wedding several years ago to fellow Nova Scotian, Tommy Guildford. The couple have two young children and manage to balance a very active life of charity, work, and family. Jordan is, indeed, a gem as her charity provides gifts at key times to women facing challenges.
It’s a powerful and optimistic message. “It tells women that their journey is not over, their story is not written, and there is more to come,” says Jordan. To hear the story in Jordan’s words via video, please click here.
If you would like to help by contributing to Jordan’s cause, please send your jewelry, to be given as a Christmas gift to women in shelters, to the following charity mailing address:
Gems for Gems
PO Box 11001 Seton PO
Calgary, AB T3M 1Y6