Your Gift Can Change a Life like Olivia’s this Mother’s Day

April 25th, 2016

This is Olivia, and her son Augustus. 

Olivia and Gus 1

As a mom, what Olivia wants most in this world is for her child to feel safe, secure, and loved. Olivia’s journey at Youville Centre has allowed her to provide opportunities for her son to grow, thrive, and learn; and she has become a strong, confident parent and young woman with a bright future ahead of her.

Olivia didn’t do this alone — help from donors like you made it possible. 

When you choose to make a donation to Youville Centre each Mother’s Day in our annual campaign, your contribution is making it possible for young moms like Olivia to succeed in ways they never thought possible. The impact of your gift doesn’t stop there; you are also making a healthy, bright future possible for the children of Youville’s young moms — children like Olivia’s son Augustus.

“It takes a village to raise a child” is not just a saying at Youville Centre — it’s a reality. You are part of our village, and we could not continue to provide opportunities for improved mental health, education, and child development for the moms and children at Youville Centre without your help.

Here is Olivia’s story — please consider giving a gift so that young moms and children at Youville Centre can continue to benefit from the same opportunities she and her son were able to access. Click here to donate now.


Olivia’s Story: 

I have so many hopes and dreams for my little boy.

I want him to be strong. I want him to have the confidence to stand for what he believes in. I want him to be successful. Most of all, I want him to be a good person.

But for a long time, I didn’t think I had what it takes to raise that kind of son. That’s how I felt when I arrived at Youville Centre: 15 years old and pregnant, depressed and doubting myself.

In high school, I experimented with drugs and alcohol. Then, after turning down a boy’s request to go out with him, I was bullied and harassed on social media. He posted the most terrible things about me on Facebook. I was called the worst names you can imagine. It was devastating. It sent me into a spiral of depression and self-harm that landed me in the hospital.

That was the first time I tried to take my own life. I had hit rock bottom. I felt like the terrible things this boy had said would follow me forever, like a dark cloud. I didn’t think I had the resilience or confidence to get through.

But today, I’m happy to tell you I see things in a whole new light.

And that’s thanks to Youville Centre, and to you.

I wanted to share my story with you in the hopes that you’ll celebrate Mother’s Day with a donation to provide young moms like me with the mental health support they need to become self-sufficient. Your kindness will empower them to be the best parent they can be.     

When I first arrived at Youville Centre, I was the youngest girl there. I had severe social anxiety and I didn’t feel like I fit in, since most of the girls had already had their babies. Then I met Jenny, one of two Mental Health and Addictions Counsellors at Youville.  

Jenny has been my support system at Youville from day one. I’ve had a lot of experience with other counsellors, but with Jenny, I felt comfortable right away. I didn’t have to lie about anything. I could put it all right there on the table.

That was the changing point for me. I started feeling better about my classes and I was soon making friends. It actually felt good to be with other girls who were going through the same thing. I didn’t have to feel alone.

Nine months after I arrived at Youville Centre, my son Augustus (Gus) was born. I worried about what kind of parent I would be. I was still living at home and although I had my parents’ support, I honestly don’t know what I would have done without Youville.

As Gus has grown up, Youville has been beside me every step of the way. When I was frustrated because I couldn’t understand what my baby was trying to tell me, the amazing childcare staff not only heard me out, but they provided suggestions that helped me feel more confident in my parenting. I joined a parenting program called Attached by the Heart, part of the Parent-Child Attachment Counselling program, where I learned how to better understand Gus’ cues and what I could do to comfort him.

Over my three years at Youville, I’ve earned almost all of my high school credits and I’m on track to graduate in June! But Youville is so much more than a high school for young moms.

Through my learning plan that focuses on my own unique strengths and skills, I’ve had the opportunity to explore my true passionphotography! I was the first member of the Sources of Strength (SOS) Program, and I’ve been working as one of the official spokespersons for 2 years. SOS is a suicide intervention program that promotes connectedness using messages of hope and strength. SOS helped so much with my own anxiety and depression, and now I’m responsible for all the photography. And you know what? I’m pretty darn good at it!

After graduation, I plan to take Business Marketing and Entrepreneurship at Algonquin College. My dream is to own my own photography business. Without Youville and without you, I don’t think I ever could have dreamed this big. I definitely wouldn’t have accomplished all that I have.

The truth is though, I’m nervous about leaving Youville. I worry about not having Jenny to lean on when things get tough and I really need someone to talk to. But I know that all the girls before me have felt the same way. Graduation Day is usually a mixture of tears of joy and sadness. Youville has been like a family for three years and I will never be able to thank them enough for all that they’ve done for me and Gus.

I want to thank you too, for supporting me and many other young moms, who have turned to Youville Centre in our greatest time of need. I hope you’ll consider making a donation today, to continue to provide a safe and supportive space that motivates, educates and nurtures two generations.

Thank you for helping me the best mom I can be for Gus.



Youville Centre client, and mom to Augustus   


 Olivia and gus 2