Japanese woman holding a matcha drink

Rising Above: Keiko’s Success Story

In 2021, Keiko faced a crossroads in her life. Balancing the demands of single parenting, pursuing an education and navigating the challenges of finding stable employment seemed like an insuperable task. The tide started turning when Keiko’s case manager at WorkBC referred her to the YWCA Employment Navigator program, where she found support to move forward in her journey toward self-empowerment and giving back to her community. 

As a single mother with sole custody and no immediate support system in Canada, Keiko also had to face difficult decisions, one of those being to decline a full-time job offer at a prominent airline company, a career that she always aspired to pursue. However, her determination to be there for her son and commitment to social justice prevailed. This decision marked the beginning of a journey filled with both challenges and triumphs. 

At a pivotal moment in her life, Keiko chose to answer a higher calling: giving back to her community. Despite facing the hardships of finding a job while parenting alone, she dedicated herself to supporting Indigenous women in the Downtown Eastside. Her experience as a survivor of domestic violence motivated her to provide guidance and support for those who needed it most. 

Through the Employment Navigator program, she found the support and mentorship she needed to navigate her educational journey. Jennifer, YWCA Employment Navigator and Keiko’s dedicated advocate, provided consistent mentoring, encouragement and invaluable information about financial aid resources. This support system became the cornerstone of her educational success. 


"As a single mother, I knew I had to be there for my son, and thanks to YWCA Employment Navigator, I found a way to pursue my passion while still being present for him. For me, Jennifer was more than a mentor. She was a guiding light, helping me find my way in a sometimes-overwhelming educational landscape."  


The Employment Navigator's scholarship workshop opened her eyes to new possibilities. She set her sights on applying for scholarships and bursaries to support her educational pursuits further. Now, armed with a fresh sense of purpose and determination, Keiko is embarking on a two-year journey to obtain a Bachelor of Social Work. Her goal of working with organizations like the Provincial Health Services Authority and Vancouver Coastal Health reflects her unwavering dedication to making a positive impact on her community, especially to supporting BIPOC women and families in the Downtown Eastside. 


This story of resilience is made possible in part by Scotiabank, Vancity and RBC. Visit our YWCA Employment Navigator page and learn how the program can help you with your pre-employment, education, or career goals.