314 Words That Could Change Your Life: A Letter From Erica

It’s very rare for a woman to be at the right time and place in her life to be able to share her story in this way. But Erica feels strongly about using her voice to help others who may be in need and not know what to do in a relationship involving domestic violence.

Five years ago, Erica turned to the YWCA in Peterborough for safety while ending a violent relationship. Today, she's sharing her story to inspire others to support the services that helped her get her life back.

Read her letter below about how the YWCA helped save her life and give her hope...

A Letter From Erica

"I remember looking at my newborn daughter’s perfect little face moments after she was born, thinking: all you’ll ever know is love. Everything will be different now. This time I can trust him. But I was so wrong.
 
The abuse that began during my pregnancy only got worse. No one in my family knew about the insults he screamed at me or the things he’d thrown at me when he got upset.
 
I’d never told anyone that the man who’d promised to love me had grabbed me by the throat until I was gasping for breath.
 
I can remember crossing the Burlington Skyway on the day we finally left. It was a 3 hour drive to my parents’ place in Ennismore and my body shook the whole way there. I was terrified of what would happen when he found out we weren’t coming back.  

That’s when my mom reached out to the YWCA.
 
My counsellor understood everything that was happening and told me my instincts were right: the most dangerous time for a woman living with abuse is when she tries to leave. She listened to what we’d been through, answered my questions and helped me see my options and all the help available.
 
For the first time in four years, I was able to breathe and feel safe again.           
           
My parents did everything they could to help. They opened their home and their hearts the moment they learned what was happening. But there were a lot of questions they didn’t have the answers to either, like: What would happen if we contacted the police? Should we get a restraining order? Was it safe to leave the house with my daughter?
 
The YWCA provided information and practical resources that we could put into action immediately. Their support changed everything! Suddenly we had options, a future. My daughter and I had our lives back!"  —by Erica

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Do you or someone you know need help? YWCA Counsellors are available around the clock to answer questions, provide support and offer practical resources that help women stay safe and change their lives.
YWCA helps women, as well as the people who love them, because abuse affects us all. If you think someone you know or love may be experiencing abuse and want to learn more about how to help, please call 1-800-461-7656 anytime, day or night. You’re not alone.

Learn more about Erica's journey. Watch this powerful video below about how she and her daughter rebuilt their lives after reaching out for help...

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A Bunch Of Kenner Students Did Freeze Flash Mob At Lansdowne Place To Raise Awareness About Domestic Violence

YWCA Peterborough Haliburton and United Way of Peterborough & District have joined forces with women’s shelters across Ontario to take part in the annual Wrapped in Courage campaign. This year’s campaign was launched with a powerful Freeze Flash Mob Tuesday morning (October 16th) in the food court at Lansdowne Place.

About 50 Kenner students gathered in the food court along with YWCA and United Way staff, supporters, volunteers and board members, holding up signs to onlookers with alarming stats showing the toll domestic violence takes.

“Wrapped in Courage is an amazing advocacy project that makes a real difference for women and children right here in our community,” says Lynn Zimmer, Executive Director of YWCA Peterborough Haliburton. “Proceeds from every scarf sold [see info below on how to purchase them] in Peterborough stay local to help women and children in desperate need of shelter and support.”

“The courage of a woman alone is not enough,” says Lisa Smith, Director, Philanthropic Impact with United Way of Peterborough & District. “United Way is proud to stand in solidarity with women who have experienced violence and to partner with the YWCA for the Wrapped in Courage Campaign again this year.”

Together, YWCA and United Way invite everyone to purchase and wear a purple Wrapped in Courage scarf in support of local women and children fleeing violence. Scarves are available for $20 at Lansdowne Place at the customer service desk, and at YWCA and United Way from October 18th to November 18th.

For more info on YWCA, go here.

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A 9-Year-Old Peterborough Girl Is Filling Her Giant Crayola Bank With Donations To YWCA

A 9-Year-Old Peterborough Girl Is Filling Her Giant Crayola Bank With Donations To YWCA

Mya, you so rock

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YWCA and United Way Launch Wrapped in Courage Campaign

YWCA Peterborough Haliburton and United Way of Peterborough & District are joining with women’s shelters across Ontario to take part in the Wrapped in Courage campaign. You're encouraged to purchase and wear a purple "Wrapped in Courage" scarf in support of local women fleeing abuse.

“United Way is committed to lending its voice to important social issues facing our community,” says Jim Russell, CEO of United Way of Peterborough & District. “Violence in all its forms is unacceptable, and we stand in solidarity with women who have experienced violence, and say it must stop now.”
 
“This is an important advocacy project,” adds Lynn Zimmer, Executive Director of YWCA Peterborough Haliburton. “These purple scarves are a symbol that the courage of a woman alone is not enough."
 
***Scarves are $15 and are available at United Way of Peterborough & District, 277 Stewart St, Peterborough and at YWCA Peterborough Haliburton, 216 Simcoe St., Peterborough (between the two bus stations). All funds raised from the sale of the scarves will support services for women and children at YWCA.
 

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Crestwood Joins YWCA As First Local High School To Walk A Mile in Her Shoes

Crestwood Joins YWCA As First Local High School To Walk A Mile in Her Shoes

Amazing

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This Gifts With Meaning Online Catalogue From YWCA Is Wonderful

GREAT gift idea

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Watch: Maryam Monsef On Impact PCVS, United Nations, YWCA & Red Pashmina Has On Her Life

Our Evan Holt shot this video of Maryam Monsef talking about the impact the YWCA movement has had on her life and where it's lead her. Watch below...

[YouTube]

Read more about Maryam's backstory here.

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Here Are Pictures Of 4,595 Bras That Were Donated For Bras Around The Building

After nearly a month of collecting bras for "Bras Around The Building", today was the day where they would all be linked together and chained around the CHUM Kawarthas building on George Street. Firetrucks hoisted up the thousands of bras that were generously donated by the community in the campaign to help raise awareness about breast cancer. 4,595 bras were donated, meaning that OLG Slots—which said it would donate $1 for every bra collected—will be donating $4,595 to the Peterborough & District unit of the Canadian Cancer Society. Once the bras are cleaned now by both Rocky's and Kent Cleaners, they will then be donated to the YWCA for distribution.

 

[Related: Don't Forget To Donate Your Bras For A Great Cause]

[Contributed by PtboCanada's Julie Morris]

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Nourish Peterborough Documentary Raises Awareness About Need For Food In Community

Nourish Peterborough has a documentary to raise awareness around the need for food for so many in our community, and the organizations and food programs that are available to help out. The doc brings focus to ten of the organizations and community groups who advocate for food security within Peterborough, and addresses the need for healthy food for those living in poverty. You can rent the film free of charge at Have You Seen. I highly recommend it as it opened my eyes to how many are in need of assistance within our community and how many are here to offer help—including the likes of Our Space, Food Not Bombs, Collective Kitchens, YWCA and The Peterborough Gleaning Program. Watch the trailer below:

 

[Contributed by PtboCanada's Julie Morris]

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"The Wonderful Ones" Who Rallied Behind YWCA

Local YWCA executive director Lynn Zimmer calls them "the wonderful ones" (see video above)—those who rallied behind YWCA Crossroads Safe Haven Campaign so that the organization's dream of constructing a brand new shelter for women and children could come true.
 
During a recent Community Thank You Celebration held at Showplace, Zimmer veered from her notes in her speech to express how much each and every gift meant to the campaign and what a difference those gifts will continue to make for many years to come.
 
"Capital campaigns are designed to attract very large donations and recognize those donations by naming rooms and buildings in honour of those who have given very large gifts," she says. "Yet we are always aware that every gift to the Crossroads Safe Haven Campaign was heartfelt and many donors of smaller amounts have had to sacrifice more to give that gift than perhaps someone else who was able to give more. Everyone who gives to Crossroads is giving a gift of safety and healing. Every donor brings passion and compassion to their giving. Every gift is important and represents the love and caring of the people in our community."

Ann Douglas, PtboCanada contributor

[Photos of new YWCA shelter; Domestic violence statistics; YWCA Wonderful Ones]

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