Alumnae

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Youville Centre alumnae at the 2013 Shepherd’s Ooh ‘n Ahh Fashion Show.

We would like to be in touch with you!

Please contact us  at communications@youvillecentre.org if you are interested in doing any of the following:

  • Applying for an alumnae bursary for your, or your child’s post-secondary education. You and your child are eligible for alumnae bursaries if you have proof of enrollment to a post-secondary institution for the upcoming academic year.
  • Sharing your story with us! Please read the alumnae stories below, and consider getting in touch with us to share your journey. Your story will help inspire future Youville Centre students and help us to share our work with our community.
  • Giving a donation — Click here for more information about how you can give back to Youville Centre.
  • Volunteering — Click here to apply to volunteer at Youville Centre. Please note, you must be a graduate of Youville Centre who has been away from the centre for five or more years to be considered.

We are so proud and inspired when our alumnae share their journey to Youville and what they have been up to since they attended our centre. Please read below and enjoy the videos to hear from some of the  courageous, inspiring young moms who attended Youville Centre:

Clarissa’s Story

This story is extra special to us here at Youville Centre, as Clarissa is our current Communications and Fundraising Manager. She has truly come full circle and is now giving back to young moms who are on their own journey towards creating a brighter future for themselves and their children. Many thanks to United Way Ottawa for helping us tell this story as well as Dominique’s story.

Dominique’s Story

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“At the time, high school completion seemed like a dream”, says Dominique, a graduate of Youville Centre’s class of 2009, as she reflects upon her life prior to attending Youville. “Being 20 years old, alone with two children, and on social assistance preoccupied my life.” Before attending Youville Centre, Dominique felt alone and disorganized: “I felt as though I wanted to be immersed into bettering my educational goals, but that seemed impossible”, she says. Having struggled with depression and addiction in her early teenage years, Dominique dropped out of school at the age of 15 andspentmuchofhertime in and out of the criminal justice system, living periodically in shelters. At the age of 17 she became pregnant, and at that time she realized that she “needed to stay clean and sober, and make healthy choices” in her life. Through the support she received at Bethany Hope Centre, she learned about Youville Centre and decided to enrol. At Youville, Dominique was able to attend school, be close to her child, and benefit from the parenting programs and mental health and addiction counselling she needed. “Using Youville Centre’s services such as: food bank, clothing donations, counselling and other supports has helped me financially and socially”, says Dominique. Her time at Youville also inspired her to give back to those in need through her own career. “By attending Youville Centre, I was not only able to achieve my high school diploma, but I was inspired personally and educationally by the professionals around me.”Since graduating in 2009, Dominique has gone on to earn a college diploma and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, is now working at the Children’s Aid Society. She will be attending Carleton University this fall to begin her journey towards a Masters in Social Work, so that she can achieve her dream of a career in child protection. When asked what advice she might give to the young mothers currently attending Youville Centre, Dominique urged: “Keep an open mind and use every resource that Youville has to offer.” During her own time at Youville Centre, what she valued most was, “the ability to feel and be understood without having to say anything, and having the utmost support and encouragement from staff who believe in your abilities and capacities.” Dominique’s children Hunter and Sadie are now 9 and 7 years old.

Tammy’s Story

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“It seems like a lifetime ago I attended Youville, but I always treasure the friendships and memories that I have. I am who I am because of my experiences, good and bad. I will always be grateful to a wonderful woman named Sister Betty Ann Kinsella whose vision and dreams helped the lives of not only many mothers, but their children, and significant others, and inestimable others.”Tammy’s story began on July 31st, 1990, the day she became a mother to a beautiful baby boy, and wondered, “Now what?”. Tammy was fortunate to have a supportive family, a clean bill of health and a supportive father in young Alex’s life, but she still realized that she lacked a high school diploma, a means to support her child, and a plan for the future. “My first priority was always to be self- sufficient, and able to look after my children financially and emotionally.” Tammy moved into the (former) Youville residence or “res” as the students called it, in October of that same year. “If there was something that could have helped your journey, Sister was always trying to locate and allocate it for you. Using all resources available to her and us, she tried to share her wisdom”, says Tammy. Tammy graduated from Youville Centre in 1992 and went on to work as a Hairstylist, Salon Manager, Retail Manager and Childcare Provider, and is now a Professional in the world of Real Estate Sales. She is married to Alex’s father, and together they are both gainfully employed and raising their three children, Alex, Daryl and Hailley “to be compassionate and understanding people.”Alex is currently studying at Algonquin College, Daryl is furthering his education at Carleton University, and Hailley is attending high school.  “In the end, [without Youville Centre] I would not have done as much as I did, or set so many goals to accomplish. And no, I did not accomplish everything I set out to do; my plans have changed and evolved with time and wisdom. Never say never”, says Tammy. “You never know what the future holds. I always tell my children not to waste an opportunity.”

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