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Davia and her children at an agency

Young families often need help on several fronts. Thanks to your generosity, Davia and her children are off to a strong start—and their future is looking bright.


A circle of support

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 17 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 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, soon, a 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.”