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Read Our Y Stories

As an inclusive organization, the Y helps children, youth, adults and families of all backgrounds achieve personal success in a safe and supportive environment.

Read how the Y is impacting people in the National Capital Region.


Cheryl Davis, TRY Supportive Housing Program for Women

Not long ago Cheryl Davis was a regular Ottawa resident, enjoying a full life and working at a job she loved. But things changed quite suddenly once she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Cheryl focused her energy on getting well, and as time went on and treatments took their toll, she was unable to continue working.

After a successful surgery 1 1/2 years ago, Cheryl was given a clean bill of health and considered a cancer survivor. With no income, and now struggling with mental health issues, Cheryl found herself homeless. Read more. (PDF)

Dou'ale Roble, Y Second Stage Youth Housing Program 

Dou’ale arrived in Ottawa on his 17th birthday. Born and raised in Somalia, he spent his childhood under constant threat from gunfire and civil war. His mother sent him to Ottawa to keep him safe in January of 2011.

The first six months in Ottawa were difficult. Dou’ale was isolated and lonely; he was struggling to adjust to life in Canada while learning a new language. But all that changed when he came to the Y. Read more. (PDF)

Samuel Patry, Y Kids Academy

Eleven-year-old Samuel loves being active, but has never enjoyed organized, competitive sports. So when his mother told him about the Y Kids Academy (YKA) – a program that teaches children aged 10-12 years about leadership, healthy lifestyle choices and how to properly use fitness equipment – Samuel jumped at the chance to participate.

As a grade six student, he was eligible to receive a free one year membership to the Y once he completed the 12-hour program. Read more. (PDF)

Yousef Riyati, Y Active Assist

Yousef Riyati and his family know firsthand how Y donors can change lives.

As a busy mom with 5 kids, Zienab Shehadeh knew that her children would benefit from being active and spending time with other kids their age. The cost of enrolling everyone in sports and community programs was simply out of reach, so Zienab turned to the Y for help.  Read more. (PDF)

Shannon Lambert, Camp Davern

Even though Shannon Lambert last attended Camp Davern over 25 years ago, she says the lessons and skills she learned at camp are still useful today.

Shannon began attending Camp Davern when she was seven years old, and for nine years, she returned every summer. Without her parents by her side, she quickly developed useful leadership and social skills. Read more. (PDF)

Hannah Lovell, Camp Davern  

Summertime had always meant fun for 10-year-old Hannah Lovell and last year she had her sights set on returning to camp. But when economic circumstances put summer camp out of her family’s reach, Hannah wasn’t sure a getaway would be possible.

Still recovering from a car accident, Hannah’s mom, Erin, didn’t want tight finances to get in the way of summer activities. Read more. (PDF)

Jawahir Ismail, Y Employment Access Centre

The future’s bright for Jawahir Ismail, but it hasn’t always been so easy.

As a mother of eight, she knows the meaning of hard work, and has put her heart and soul into raising her family in a safe and healthy environment. Jawahir also knows that education and career are part of being a good role model and crucial elements in her ability to provide for her family. Read more. (PDF)

The Blodgett Family - Y Licensed Child Care  

Having quality, affordable child care can make a huge difference in a family’s life, as Sherri and Andrew Blodgett know well.

Their daughter, Paetyn, 4, has Autism Spectrum Disorder, which affects her ability to communicate and interact with other people. The family works regularly with speech and occupational therapists to help Paetyn learn and grow.

Last year, they were referred to the Y’s licensed child care program by their social worker, who thought the Y’s enriched learning environment and the structure of a conventional daycare would be helpful for Paetyn’s social development. Read more. (PDF)

Carina Urbani, Y Family Shelter

I was starting my last year of high school when things started to unravel at home. After returning to Ottawa from a stay out west, my parents couldn’t find a place to live. For a while we stayed with family members, but we soon found ourselves with nowhere to go.

That’s when we found the Y. My mom, dad and I lived in the Y’s Family Shelter while I finished school and my parents worked towards finding a permanent home.
Read more. (PDF)