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Stacy’s Journey: Overcoming Tragedy

Stacy’s story of hardship began at a very young age.

While both of her parents struggled with substance abuse, Stacy was forced to enter the foster care system. At the age of 9, Stacy lost her father in a motor cycle accident. This was just the start of a tragic series of losses in her life.

In her family foster home, Stacy suffered from abuse for years. But finally , at just 15 years old, she escaped and found refuge at an emergency foster home.

There, for the first time in a long time, Stacy was able to find stability and balance in her life. She eventually moved into her own apartment and completed her high school and was voted Valedictorian – an accomplishment she is incredibly proud of.  She graduated with high honors and was given a full scholarship to pursue a college education! Stacy went to Niagara Collage and graduated as a Niagara Scholar of the Corrections Program. An incredible accomplishment!

Shortly after, she found a job in an Open Custody Program.

After years of hard work, challenges and finding her way on her own, Stacy finally felt like things were on track. She was finally living the life she was meant to live.

Unfortunately, a short time later, Stacy lost a close uncle and then just four months after that, she lost her grandfather. The loss of her loved ones was difficult, more difficult than she ever could have imagined. She struggled to cope, so instead, she drank. During this time, other tragic losses continued with the passing of a best friend due to cancer and another death of a friend by suicide. Everyone she loved was leaving her. Lacking the support and coping mechanisms necessary, Stacy turned to drugs which led her down an even more treacherous path. Eventually, she lost her job. Now, everything she worked so hard for was gone.

Stacy finally stepped foot in the YWCA Niagara Falls shelter in 2015, it was the first of many stays she had with the YW. Her impulse to rebel sometimes lead to Stacy being asked to leave the shelter when she did not comply with shelter guidelines. In shelter, the Women’s Advocates worked with her to identify her needs and she was introduced to the STOMT Program.

From the Niagara Falls shelter, Stacy entered into the YWCA Housing First Program. She continued to struggle to achieve her goals due to her substance use, but her Women’s Advocates continued to fight for her. The YWCA staff saw so much potential in Stacy. During her stay in the YW’s Housing First program, she found out she had a heart infection and was hospitalized for 2 months. Something that seemed so terrible turned into something good when this shocking news and lengthy hospital stay became a turning point for Stacy.

Finally, Stacy was able to enter recovery for her substance use for 6 months and was thrilled to find out she was pregnant. At this time, she was transferred into the YWCA On-Site Program. She gave birth to a healthy, happy baby boy named Tyson. Tyson is now Stacy’s entire world.

“He gives me purpose and motivation to keep going.”

Stacy has now successfully completed the On-Site Program and is about to move into a beautiful two bedroom unit through the YWCA Off-Site Transitional Housing Program.

When asked, “What was the best thing about the On-Site Program?” Stacy stated, “The best thing was the support from the staff and knowing I was accepted back without judgement”.

As she moved into the final stage of the YW’s Traditional Housing Program, her Women’s Advocate asked her, “If there was anything you could change about the programs at the YWCA, what would that be?” Stacy stated, “I would not change a thing. I am very happy with the commitment from the staff and would like everyone to know that the YWCA staff’s persistence saved my life.”

It is through the support and partnership of Delta Bingo Niagara Falls that the YWCA is able to provide ongoing support to the most vulnerable members of our society. Thank you Delta Bingo of Niagara Falls for your dedication of the work and services of our YW Culp St. emergency shelter.

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