Balancing Business and Community: Karen’s Story

Peter and Karen Bjerland, and their dog Molly.

Meet Karen Bjerland

As I cuddled Jake after he had calmed down, he said something we will never forget. ‘Mum, family is just too hard for me.’

Karen has been blessed with a wonderful, fulfilling and successful career as the CEO of FaithLife Financial, where she recently retired. She has also worked in community development as the Executive Director of Community Justice Initiatives. In both of those roles, she has been inspired by the generosity and faith of her community.

At home, things have been a little more difficult. She and her husband adopted their son Jake*, who had a rough start in life. He lived in 19 different foster homes in just his first 24 months of life.

Even though Jake was a bright, charming boy, his behavioural problems presented a real challenge. As a child, teen and young man, Jake was in and out of different centres, hospitals and even juvenile detention.

House of Friendship was there for Jake when he needed it. Sometimes he needed a place to stay for the night. Other times he needed a warm meal. And sometimes, he just needed a reminder that he had value. That he was loved.

Karen believes that’s what made the difference for Jake. And by leaving a gift to House of Friendship in her Will, she knows House of Friendship will be able to walk alongside many, many other sons and daughters as well.