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Toby’s letter to you

                                                                                                                             December 2019   

Hey there…

Just so you know – I wasn’t scared when dad left. Because mom always takes care of us anyway. She’s the one who takes me to school every day, packs my lunches, and celebrates my birthdays. So it wasn’t a big deal… Okay, fine, maybe I was a little scared.

But that’s because a couple of months later, we lost our home and started sleeping in mom’s tiny car. Living out of the car wasn’t so bad. It was kind of like camping at first. But then the car stopped working, and I would get really cold.

The first time mom saw me shivering, she said we had to move to a shelter. I didn’t know what a shelter was but mom said it’s the best place for us. I know mom always knows best but I got really scared when she started talking about the shelter. Please don’t tell her. I want to be strong for my mom.

My name is Toby, I’m twelve years old and my baby sister Tamara is fourteen months. We just came to the YWCA with our mom, Joelle. The social worker told us we’re really lucky that they even have a room available for us! They got an opening JUST before we got here. Mom was happy about that, so I am too. But she also said they aren’t sure how long we will be here for. They are working with mom to find a home for us. I’m really trying to be brave for my mom, so I hope mom didn’t see the fear in my eyes when they said that.

I’m excited for a real home again, but I guess it’s kind of cool at the shelter. There are other kids, and some fun toys that we never had at home. We’ll even be here for Christmas! We get to set up the tree in the board room. And Sharon in the kitchen promised that we’ll get all of our favourite foods! Turkey, mashed potatoes… Ok, Tamara just likes the potatoes but I love turkey. And mom loves stuffing. It’s going to be a good Christmas they keep telling me.

Sometimes, I’m still scared. And I really wish I had my own room, Tamara wakes us up all the time at night. That didn’t happen in our old home. But anything is better than going back to sleeping in mom’s freezing cold car. I guess it’s people like you who make sure this shelter is here for us. At least that’s what my mom tells me. Thank you for helping us out. For the first time since dad left us, my mom is smiling again. Not always, not every day, but at least sometimes. Thanks for giving us a place to stay, and for giving me my mom back.

Dear Friend of the YW,

Every day, I see many children come through our doors, looking for shelter with their moms, and sometimes dads. It breaks my heart. We’ve had to house children like Toby in our reception area, on couches, in our boardrooms on cots. That’s been our reality because all of our rooms are full.  The need for shelter seems to be greater than ever before. This Holiday Season, please consider helping scared kids like Toby and his baby sister Tamara. Provide shelter to moms like Joelle, who are at their most vulnerable time.

Because of supporters like YOU, we sheltered over 300 children this past year. Because of YOU, we empowered more than a thousand kids in workshops at schools all across Niagara. And finally, it’s because of YOU, that families have shelter, food, and the resources they need to step out of the terrifying moment they are in, and into security.

I hope that you will continue to support the children and families we serve.

There are two different ways to give:


From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your support of the YW and children like Toby and Tamara,

Elisabeth Zimmermann, Executive Director

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