When Beverley came to us eight years ago she was scared, lonely and unsure of what to expect. A friend had suggested she go to a shelter when she and her two kids, 9 and 11, had to leave an unsafe home environment, but a shelter was the last place she wanted to go. “I just imagined a shelter like you see on TV- a big room, full of mattresses on the floor, where you have to cling to your belongings so they don’t get stolen. I didn’t want to go. But I had no choice. It was either go to a shelter or go back to him.” And so she took the first step and walked through the doors of the YW. What Beverley found inside the YW “shelter” was a far cry from what she had imagined. “I was given my own room. I was treated with dignity and was seen as a person. The staff listened and showed me respect.” Beverley was astonished.Click here to read Beverly's story
Quickly Beverley felt safe and through the YW’s Life Skills programming was given the tools she needed to get her life back in order. Through the help of the YW, she was able to find work as a photographer for a local event and started to feel like herself again. After two months of staying at the YW, Beverley was put on the priority list for Affordable Housing but was told she had to wait another three months. “I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was sure I had overstayed my welcome and was going to be kicked out.” Instead Beverley was welcomed to stay another three months at the YW until she got a place of her own.
On July 1st, Beverley was handed the keys to her new apartment. “For the first time, I didn’t have to rely on anyone else. I had my independence back.”
Today, Beverley is an active member of the community as one of the photographers for snapd St. Catharines and snapd Niagara Falls. Looking back, the YW represents more than a shelter to Beverley, the YW represents hope.
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