She has old eyes. That’s the first thing that struck me when I first met Kim. Her life’s path is discernible in the shadows that are always there, even when she’s smiling. When Kim first came to the YW shelter she had already experienced more in her life than anyone should. Kim was a victim of human trafficking, which led to a life in the sex trade. She explains that she didn’t feel she had anything other than her body to offer, having been told just that. Kim fell into a cycle too many women have found themselves in when the world seems to have given up on them.

She traded her body for the drugs that helped her get through the life she was living; a life full of physically and mentally abusive partners, and exhaustion. When Kim hit her bottom, she came to the doors of the YW, desperate for somebody to help her break out of the cycle she found herself in. With the support from our Women’s Advocates, Kim was able to leave her addictions and the survival sex trade work behind. She moved into one of our Off Site Transitional Housing units and now lives in a Niagara Regional Housing unit that she calls home.

“I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t found you guys,” she admits, quietly. She is embarrassed about her past, but I assure her she shouldn’t be. The woman who stands before me today is strong. She is capable. She has overcome odds others have found insurmountable. She has a full time job as a Social Worker and the days of not knowing where to sleep at night are long gone. Kim is excited about her life’s path now and the direction she is heading. After fighting her demons, she wants to help other women battle theirs, and be the beacon that the YW was for her.