BmkpL7YCEAA0MSPOn May 1, 2014, the YWCA kept our temporary winter shelter open for one more night to host our fundraising event YWCA KEEP A ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS®. The event took participants through the experience of spending the night at our YWCA Winter Emergency Response (WER) program, offered during the coldest months of the year when shelters are at capacity.

Read our guest post by participant Katrina Jackson, one of the employees representing Hopewell, our Gold Sponsor!

After participating in the YWCA KEEP A ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS® event, I need to say thank you to all of the selfless women who do what they do every day to keep these vulnerable women safe.

There were so many reservations I had about taking part in the program, not knowing that it wasn’t just a program but a way of life for some. I see now that sometimes you need to be brought out of your comfort zone to really understand what we take for granted every day.

The most unsettling but eye-opening moment for me in this journey was laying on my cot and hearing the doorbell ring. In the late hours of the night two clients came to the doors of the shelter not knowing the temporary program had ended. Realizing that the YWCA must deal with the probability of turning someone away affected me to my core and I will forever be changed because of it.

The client guest speaker, Ellen, had a profound impact on me. She described how she became homeless after escaping an abusive partner, struggling with addiction and landing at the doors of the YWCA.

She faces each day with unwavering humour. I am so unbelievably honoured to have met her and heard her story. There are few people that could have gotten up in a room full of strangers and let them see what a real struggle is, and to do it with such grace and humility.

I am grateful for taking part in this and intend to continue helping in any way I can. It was an amazing experience!