How Diana Turned Her Life Around
Single mothers and their children remain the poorest families in BC – they have the most difficulty finding affordable housing and are among the most likely to go hungry. Without access to child care, housing and opportunities for sustainable employment, single mothers are unlikely to achieve personal and economic independence and may find themselves trapped in poverty and unhealthy relationships.
By accessing YWCA programs and services, Diana* was able to turn her life around. Here's her story.
"I left my violent boyfriend with nothing but my son. We had nowhere to go, and because I was a stay-at-home mom, I had no money and no job to support us.
"Those first few months alone with Sammy were the scariest of my life. We were homeless and living in shelters. I couldn’t afford daycare so I couldn’t look for work. I felt like I was trapped in poverty. I felt powerless and alone.
"I found out about a weekly YWCA Single Mothers’ Support Group near me and I decided to join. I liked the idea of meeting other single moms who were going through similar struggles in life. I still remember my first group meeting, I was emotionally fragile and terrified that my ex could still hurt me and my son.
"Each week I became stronger. I learned how to stand up for myself and how to set boundaries in my life. I learned how to access services that would protect us from my ex. I learned how to be a better parent to my son. I also made friends with the other moms in the group. We supported each other. I finally had people in my life who cared about me.
"I also received a free YWCA Health + Fitness pass. This was life changing for me. I worked out as much as I could. I loved yoga classes and swimming in the pool. Having that time in the gym for myself was so important during that stressful time. It helped me become stronger, both physically and mentally. I felt like myself again.
"Through my group I found out about a YWCA employment program for single moms. I knew I needed to go back to school if I wanted to get off social assistance and support my son on my own. The staff at YWCA Futures in Focus program were wonderful and I was surprised how well I was doing in the program and how much my confidence was growing.
"My facilitator from Futures in Focus encouraged me to go back to school, she even helped me apply for financial assistance and scholarship programs. Last year I graduated from Sprott Shaw College with a diploma in Legal Administration. I now have my first full-time job at a Law Firm and I am able to support Sammy and I on my own. I can’t believe how different my life is now and how happy we are.
It feels like every aspect of our lives has been touched by the YWCA and I am so thankful that I found the support I needed when my world was falling apart. I found my community, happiness, health and the path to fulfilling career through the YWCA.
*Names changed to protect privacy. The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent the family in the story.