At She Does The City, we are dedicated to sharing women’s stories. To augment this mission, we are reaching out to our community of incredible women in order to expand the conversation, support each other and give back.

We created the #BehindEveryWoman campaign for United Way as a means to acknowledge the extraordinary women who got us where we are, and to offer a hand-up to the women who could use our support. We believe that behind every great woman are the women who have her back. That’s why we’re coming together to raise $10,000 in 2018 for women living in poverty.

Davia is one woman whose life has been positively changed by United Way support. This is her story. 

Davia calls Hetty Lawrence “Mom.” Hetty’s not her real mother, though—she’s an outreach worker at Yorktown Child and Family Centre. “Hetty helped me adjust to life in Canada,” says Davia. “She gave me strength.”

Davia was just seventeen when she fled her home in St. Lucia to escape a life of violence. She arrived in Toronto hoping for a better life, but nine months later she found herself pregnant, alone and afraid, with nowhere to go. “I was struggling,” she says. “I didn’t know what to do.” She was at her lowest point when she saw a sign on the street for Yorktown, a United Way agency. She watched other women going in and followed them.

It was a decision that would change her life.

Hetty helped Davia connect with a variety of crucial services, from navigating food banks and finding a safe place to live to applying for a health card and receiving tokens for transportation. Agency staff also helped the young mom-to-be enrol in prenatal classes and a cooking program. The support and encouragement she received at the agency, made possible by generous donors like you, gave Davia the confidence she needed to imagine a brighter future.

She even signed up to go to college and set her sights on volunteering at a child development centre.

Today, Davia is a strong, healthy single mother of two, a proud new Canadian, and a soon-to-be college graduate with a diploma in Early Childhood Education. She also hopes to pursue a university degree one day.

Davia still visits the agency at least once a week, participating in mothers’ groups and parent-and-child programs. She’s also enrolled in a nutrition program for single parents, where she’s learning about budgeting, shopping and preparing healthy meals for her family. “I also love that the food we learn to cook is diverse, from different cultures,” she says.

Davia’s connection to the agency is truly lasting. When she recently signed up to take a CPR course there but couldn’t find childcare, Hetty was there to watch her son and daughter.

“I’ve met the most wonderful people,” says Davia. “They’re my family now.”

We hope you’ll make a gift today to help local women and their families lead strong, secure futures. Make a donation to our #BehindEveryWoman campaign in the name of a woman who has made a positive difference in your life; whether it was a new boss who took a chance on you when you were a rookie, a friend who kept you going through that rough time, or the sister who has always had your back. Your donation will go towards helping a woman who really needs it. Donate here