Keyosha's Story: Finding Independence and Strength Through the YWCA
Three years ago, I made a decision that would change my life - I left my abusive partner. I was determined to raise my daughter, Laytia, in a healthy environment, even if that meant on my own.
Soon after I left, I joined a YWCA support group for single mothers. Through our weekly meetings, I found an incredible community of caring people that helped me transform my life.
Much of my life has been a struggle. Growing up, my mother suffered from a severe mental illness. Pain, instability and fear characterized my childhood. By age 14 I couldn’t take any more abuse so I left home.
I started to struggle academically from the overwhelming responsibilities of living on my own while attending high school. I grew closer to my guidance counsellor who supported me through school. I was determined not to repeat my mother’s behaviour. I had to graduate high school and I did.
In Toronto, I attended George Brown College. There, I connected with the man who would become my daughter’s father. He convinced me to move to Vancouver. Soon after my world fell apart. I became isolated. I had no friends or family. My partner became abusive. I spent the next three years planning my escape.
When I gave birth to Laytia I was alone, but finally free of his control. I began attending the YWCA’s ‘Baby and Me’ support group for single mothers. Connecting with other new moms was wonderful. It made me feel supported and gave me a sense of family I hadn’t experienced in a long time.
Returning back to work filled me with anxiety. I knew I needed to find child care for Laytia or I would lose my job. Finding available child care was impossible, no centres had space available for Laytia. I felt desperate. I wandered into YWCA Crabtree Corner. The staff were so helpful. They wouldn’t let me leave until I knew what Crabtree had to offer. I was given so much more than what I had asked for. I was listened to and empowered for the first time in a long time.
Laytia was accepted into YWCA Crabtree Corner Child Care within a week. I felt elated, filled with gratitude and relief. Finally, I was able to go back to work. I stopped needing the food bank. I could afford to shop at the grocery store.
Working through my grief, I was finally able to start working towards my dream of becoming a life coach. With the help of a YWCA employment program I have started my own business, and I can proudly say I am finally back to where I wanted to be before my life was uprooted.
With help from the YWCA I found a place where I belong. Today my daughter is healthy and happy and I have a career that brings me joy. I have dedicated my life and my business to helping women like me.
YWCA Program Participant & Life Coach
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