Patricia poses in front of the Sunrise Community Link centre, a United Way partner agency

In November 2016, Patricia’s life was a stark contrast to what it is today. After fleeing an abusive relationship, she sought refuge in a women’s emergency shelter.

“I left my partner because it was time for me to look after myself and my kids, to secure a better life for us. Living in the shelter was incredibly hard. I thought about my children’s future every day.”

Determined to provide a safe home for her children to grow up and thrive in, Patricia turned to Sunrise Community Link, a United Way partner agency that supports families and individuals experiencing poverty or a crisis by helping them overcome adversity and build skills. There, a community advocate helped Patricia secure the funds she needed to pay the damage deposit for her new rental home.

“When I left the shelter I was happy. My children and I finally had a roof over our heads and a place to call our own.”

To Patricia, that was only the beginning of a new life founded in hope.

“I applied for social assistance but I knew I couldn’t stop there. I didn’t want to sit around and do nothing. I looked into the various programs Sunrise offered and I decided to apply to Sunrise $avings, a six-month program that teaches participants how to save and manage their money. I graduated from the program and with the funds I saved, I was able to buy furniture for our new home.”

With a place to call home, Patricia found a renewed energy and confidence that she didn’t know she had. A few months after leaving the shelter, Patricia decided to take the admissions test for Bow Valley College’s Aboriginal Upgrading program. She received her acceptance letter in the mail a few weeks later, and has been busy making plans for her future ever since.

“In five years, I see myself still in school, studying to become a nurse. In the meantime, I am going to focus on myself and my kids. After all that we’ve been through, I have hope. I finally feel like I have healed from my past. I dealt with it, I’m done with it, and now it’s time to move on. I can finally see a bright future for myself and my kids.”

 

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Work in action

Patricia left an abusive relationship and went to a shelter

Accessed Sunrise Community Link, a United Way partner agency

Secured a rental home and bought furniture with the money she saved through Sunrise $avings

Upgrading at Bow Valley College so she can become a nurse