At Youville Centre, Mother’s Day is a very special occasion — so much so that we celebrate it all month long; for all of May 2024!

Photo of young mom with baby at graduation and family photo now, with a quote about her experience at Youville Centre

What does Mother's Day mean to you?

As a mom, what Christiana wants most in this world is for her child to feel safe, secure, and loved. Christiana’s  journey at Youville Centre allowed her to provide opportunities for her son to grow, thrive, and learn; and he is growing up to become a young man with a bright future ahead of him.

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

When you choose to make a donation to Youville Centre, your contribution is making it possible for young moms like Christiana 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 Christiana’s son Malaki.

“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 Christiana & Malaki’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.

Christiana's Story

What does Mother’s Day mean to you?

For me, it’s a time to reflect on my journey as a young mom, and now, as my son turns 19 later this year, it’s a chance
to celebrate how far we’ve come together. It’s a day to appreciate the love and support we received from
complete strangers that shaped our path and to recognize the incredible strength of mothers everywhere.

I first walked through the doors of Youville Centre in 2005, when I was just 18 years old and pregnant with my son,
Malaki. I came to Youville with a dream for a better future for both of us. I was young and unsure of how I would
manage to raise Malaki while finishing my high school education.

Photo of young mom with baby in her arms, smiling and sitting in a chair in a child care room

My son and I wanted to take this opportunity to personally thank you for being a supporter of Youville Centre. We want you to know the profound impact you’re having on the lives of dozens of young women and their babies every year, just as donors like you did for us nearly two decades ago. We’re sharing our story with you today, in honour of Mother’s Day, because it’s thanks to people like you that I received the vital support I needed 19 years ago that has enabled me to work towards the life that we have today. Simply put, your kindness changed my life trajectory forever. And for that, I can’t thank you enough.

Although I had the support of my boyfriend throughout my pregnancy, who is now my husband, as well as the love and understanding of my parents, I still felt like I was facing significant challenges. I didn’t have any hopes or goals for my life. Malaki was born two months premature, so I was entirely focused on caring for him, ensuring he was healthy and eating well, and closely monitoring for jaundice and all the things new moms worry about. Finishing high school or pursuing post-secondary education wasn’t even on my radar at the time—until I found Youville…

I first came to Youville when I was pregnant with Malaki, but I was too sick to continue taking the crowded bus across the city every day. After Malaki was born, a case coordinator from Youville encouraged me to return. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Our story showcases the power of past generosity. Your donation will create a ripple effect for other young moms and their babies for years to come. By giving a gift today, you can ensure that future mothers and their children receive the support they need – just like we did two decades ago.

Will you consider making a special Mother’s Day gift to Youville Centre today, to help the young moms and babies currently facing challenges and need the support from Youville?

Your gift of $25, $50, or even $75 will support education for two generations, provide mental health resources for every young mom attending Youville, deliver exceptional care through the child development program for each baby, and offer access to essential items like food and diapers that many young moms struggle to afford.

Youville is a welcoming, judgment-free space where young moms can learn, build friendships, and work towards bettering their lives. It’s a community within a community, providing essential support for young women, many of whom face mental health and substance use challenges.

This safe space allows these moms, some as young as 15, 16, and 17, to grow as individuals while raising their children. Youville’s open-door policy gives these young women opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have, thanks to the support of our community. It’s a nurturing environment that helps them blossom into the adults who, one day, may share their own success stories with you, just as I am today…

Toddler with paint brush in his hand sitting at a table with paper and paint

The Child Development Program was incredible. Malaki loved going every day, and it was so convenient to have him downstairs from my classroom, to be able to run down any time he was sick or just needed his mom. I remember how the staff created little photo packages to keep the moms connected to our babies’ milestones. They provided daily updates and focused on nurturing the babies’ cognitive development, which was truly wonderful.

There were small class sizes in Youville’s secondary school, allowing for more personalized support than a regular school. Classes focused on independent learning, letting us work at our own pace. If Malaki was sick, the teachers allowed me to take books home and continue studying. The program was flexible, so you could complete a credit in as little as two months, tailored to individual needs rather than a set curriculum timeline.

And the mental health support was instrumental. At the time, I was involved in a lot of drama with friends and my counsellors helped teach me resilience skills and day-to-day coping mechanisms that I still use to this day.

Along with the early childhood educators, case coordinators, counsellors and teachers, other Youville staff like the cook, make a big difference. When I was there, our cook ensured we all ate healthy meals every day, preparing breakfast, lunch, and snacks for moms and babies.


I don’t know where we’d be today without Youville and the support of people like you. Your donations directly impact the lives of moms at Youville, helping them pursue education and break cycles. You’re paving the way for young moms and their children to reach their full potential.

Looking back, I realize the incredible blessing Youville was in my life. It provided me with a fresh start, support from counsellors, teachers, early childhood educators and cooks who made a huge impact. Youville taught me resilience and gave me the strength to push through tough days, like when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2010.

Youville’s support continues to help me navigate life’s hurdles. Malaki attended Youville for two and a half years during his most formative years, and the lessons he learned there shaped him into the capable young man he is today…

Selfie photo of a young mom and a toddler smiling
Photo of a young mom holding a toddler beside a male in a red shirt
Christiana's 2007 Graduation

A note from Malaki

I’m proud of my mom. I’m 18 and she was my age when she was pregnant with me, having to make all of these huge decisions about her life. She was able to go through plenty of things that I don’t think I would be able to go through right now in my current situation.

My main goal today is school. I’m in my second year of university in a program called Film Studies.  My end goal is to become a film director – preferable in the science fiction genre. Last year, I directed my school play and I took my class to the National Theatre School Drama Fest provincials and I won the Provincial Directors Award. In addition to school, I’m working on other small projects to build my film portfolio for the future. And I know that all of this was made possible, thanks to Youville and donors just like you. Youville’s second-generation bursary helped to fund a good portion of what I had to pay for the first semester of university last year.

Although I don’t remember my time at Youville – I was around two years old when my mom graduated – I’ve heard all of the stories and mom has shown me so many pictures. I understand the gravity of what this organization has done for our lives and for so many other people’s lives in our community. I’m not sure what might have happened to us if mom didn’t graduate high school and if she didn’t have the support from the Youville staff. I’m really grateful that people like you continue to help this organization and continue to care for other young mom’s and their kids.

I think it’s important that we share our story – what we’ve gone through – to help other young moms. So many people give up or don’t get the support they need. And I feel like growing up I had a lot of opportunities that many other people didn’t have, thanks to the support we received from Youville. My hope is that by sharing our story, other people will reach out for support. – Malaki, second-generation Youville client, 18 years old.

Photo of Malaki and Christiana at Youville Centre's 2023 Graduation where Malaki received a Second-Generation Bursary

Today, I’m 37 years old and Malaki is 18 years old. I’m married to my high school sweetheart – Malaki’s father – and we have another son, Tyson who just turned 11. I work for a government agency dedicated to enhancing the lives of children, youth, and families in need of support, as well as promoting the advancement of women across Ontario. Talk about a full circle moment!

Life is incredible, and I have people like you to thank for that.

I’m sharing my story today to hopefully inspire other young moms in our community who are searching for a brighter future for themselves and their children. I remember attending the Youville Centre graduation ceremony in June 2007, listening to an alumna speak. I thought: that could be me someday. Fast forward to June 2023, and I watched Malaki receive his second-generation bursary to attend university. In that moment, I realized: we made it. Sixteen years ago, we listened to a woman tell her story of triumph, and now I’m that woman.

I hope you will join me in making a meaningful contribution to Youville Centre today, in honour of Mother’s Day and all of the moms in our community who are facing similar challenges and striving for a better future for themselves and their children.

Thank you for considering a special gift that truly makes a difference.

With gratitude, Christiana                                                                                                                              Youville Graduate, Class of 2007   

Photo of a family standing in front of a 2023 high school Graduation banner
The Moxam family at Malaki's High School Graduation in 2023

P.S. Please give as generously as you can to Youville Centre today, in honour of Mother’s Day. Your generosity will help empower young women to overcome obstacles, pursue their dreams, and create brighter tomorrows.

When you give to Youville, you’re helping two generations!

Please select here to donate to Youville Centre’s 2024 Mother’s Day Giving Campaign