We all come from extremely different backgrounds. Each and every girl bringing about a diverse set of emotional, intellectual and psychological attributes. Some of us have been raised privileged, with a place to call home our entire lives, have attended University and never known the hardship of financial difficulties. Others, quite imposingly, are unfortunately way too familiar with the struggle to keep a roof over their heads and the adversities of poverty. However, no matter the obvious disparities, we all share one incredibly uniting experience,motherhood.
I found out I was pregnant in my second year of University; I had been dating this guy on and off for the past four years. Following my decision to continue on with the pregnancy, the father had left me and I had been kicked out of my home. This was most definitely the scariest and loneliest moment of my life. I reached out to Compass Point and they put me in contact with Shifra Homes. Nancy, the Executive Director of Shifra, welcomed me with open arms, both literally and figuratively. She made sure to get to know me and make me feel respected, valued and appreciated. She makes sure the house is filled with love, support and opportunity. My little man is the happiest, most patient and content toddler in the world. I truly believe he is this way due to the fact that he never, not for a single second, felt abandoned - and that's in part due to the support that I received from Shifra Homes. The people who generously donate, the health providers who diligently take care of us, the students who encourage us, and the loving, understanding women who run the program, all while standing by our side every step of the way, made this possible. Going back to Shifra isn't unlike going back home. It was and will remain, till the day it stays standing - my safe haven - and for this, I am forever grateful. -Aisha's Story
When I first moved into Shifra I was really nervous. I felt lost, unwanted, and unimportant. I didn’t like not having my own place. Before moving in, I lived with roommates and had the freedom to do what I wanted. I didn’t want to be at Shifra but my family was not able to help me and my only other option was living where I was with people who stole my food and a house that was never clean. My roommates fought, did drugs, stole from me and even left dishes in the couch. So obviously I wasn’t going to stay there with my son on the way. I knew that I would never have another opportunity to have a better start at life if I didn’t move. So I packed all my stuff and said goodbye. When I got into Shifra, I unpacked and slept. Nancy had bought me new blankets, pjs, and a pillow. I crawled into that little bed in the basement and felt peace. You see the other part I didn’t mention, was that I had been sleeping on a couch for a month and a half. I was already 5 months pregnant. There are schedules at Shifra, and classes, people to talk to. But I wouldn’t open up. I barely talked. By day three I broke down and cried because the fridge was full of food and you never had to ask to eat. The wakeup call at 10 helps me to this day with routine. It’s very important to have one. The prenatal classes made me feel part of something bigger and gave me friends outside of Shifra. Trust me you will make friends. I found my voice, my confidence, and love. There is always someone there for you. There is always help. There is always home. That’s what Shifra became for me. I saved enough to pay most my bills. I have plans to go back to school and I have new sisters. I have some days living on my own now where I miss them. And when that Monday comes and I get to see them, because I still go visit, it’s hard to leave. Don’t fight them like I did. Don’t resist the urge. Shifra is a magical place that can and will provide you with everything you need. All you have to do is ask. Nancy and Amy will always be there for you. They become your Mama Bears. They teach you things in ways that allow you to learn on your own. They will push you to be the best mother you can be. Honestly without Shifra I would not have found myself again. I would not have my own place, or the new sisters I have. I truly hope that anyone who reads this just knows this: I was an addict, my family wouldn’t talk with me and I had huge debt. Now, I’m clean almost two years, I have a home, I’m healthy, and basically debt free. My family talks to me again and I feel loved. So to everyone I ever met at Shifra, thank you. Thank you for a second chance at life. -Alysha's Story
I stayed at Shifra Homes because I was with my ex-boyfriend and I was living with him and his family and it was not a good relationship. He was mentally, emotionally and verbally abusive; his parents were like that too. I decided to leave his house when I was about 3 months pregnant because I knew if I stayed and they found out, that they would fight with me and try and force me into getting an abortion and if I didn’t they would kick me out. I went into a women’s shelter the day I decided I was not going hide my pregnancy anymore. I left work early, packed my things and left. After that my ex and his family became rude and his dad began harassing and threatening me and my family. My mom thought it would be better for me and safer to get out of Hamilton so I came to a Burlington Shelter, stayed for a few weeks and both the shelter and my mom told me about Shifra Homes. Now that I’ve been here and I’ve gotten to know Nancy and Lisa, it’s been amazing. They have been there for me through everything, I can talk to them about anything and they’ll be there. They take really good care of us here, and since being here with them I don’t feel stressed out anymore, it’s amazing what they do and who they are. Nancy will do everything and anything for us and to see us happy. I love her. If it was not for this house and these women I really would not be who I am today. I would not know what to do in raising a child or how to deal with stress or depression. I greatly appreciate all that I’ve been blessed with. -Stephanie's Story
My name is Jamey Buckingham. I have had the pleasure of going through the process of rehabilitation and becoming sober, allowing me to be the best mother I can be. When I met Nancy I was struggling with addiction and mental health. I was in jail and pregnant. I really needed somebody to take a chance on me and that somebody happened to be Nancy. As bad as I looked on paper, she believed in me and saw the potential in me that no one else could. She took me into Shifra Homes and I was given all the support I needed to succeed in my sobriety and in motherhood. I truly thank Nancy from the bottom of my heart for everything she has done for me and other women/young mothers. I am currently a student at Sheridan College studying Social Work and have completed my first semester with Honours! I honestly don't know where I would be in life nor do I think being a mother would have been an option for me. Nancy works hard and long hours. She does this with love and care from the bottom of her heart. She is a wonderful woman and deserves the utmost recognition. She continues to change the lives of many young mothers and babies providing them with a hopeful and bright future. -Jamey's Story
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