Yasmine’s journey with the YW started in December 2015. At the time, she was staying with her mother. While she was grateful for the shelter, her relationship with her mother had never been the best and living with her was becoming more and more challenging every day. Yasmine, who was 19 years old at the time, had lived with her father in Toronto before coming to Niagara. When he became physically abusive, her mother was the only person she could turn to – most of her family still lives in Dubai, Yasmine’s country of origin.
It was a cold December day when Lisa, the YW’s Off Site Transitional Support Worker, got the call from the young woman, who had been asked by her mother to leave her apartment and who was now all alone in a region where she had virtually no social network and no support. Yasmine showed great interest in the program that would offer her the support she needed until she was back on her own two feet.
Yasmine was added to the waiting list and Lisa made sure that she could stay in the YW’s Emergency Shelter until a unit was going to be available to her. Her enthusiasm and determination to get herself out of her desperate situation were unwavering. With the help of YW staff members, Yasmine applied for Ontario Works and was approved only a week later – she now had an income.
On February 1st, Yasmine was able to move into her own Off Site Transitional Housing unit but the young woman did not stop there: she had applied for school and started a course in English as a second language (ESL) only a week later. Lisa and Yasmine discussed her goals together and getting a higher education was quickly identified as her main goal. Well aware of the barriers she was going to have to face, most of them financial, Yasmine had faith that she would eventually get the university degree she was working towards. “Now that I have a place to call home, food and an income, I can do anything I put my mind to,” she explained to Lisa, beaming.
What followed came as an incredible, wonderful surprise to all of us at the YW: only a few months later, Yasmine had not only successfully completed her ESL-course but she had been accepted into an International Business and Marketing Program at a university in Denmark. With the financial support by her family in Dubai, Yasmine was going to be able to make it through the first couple of months in Denmark and she was determined to find employment as soon as she got there and we have no doubt that she went and did exactly that.
The day Yasmine was leaving for the airport, she stopped by one last time to thank Lisa and the YW for everything. “I can hardly believe the strides I have been able to make in only a few months. I have never experienced such amazing support. Your team at the YW made me believe that only the sky is the limit.”