Looking for hope and opportunity

Emerging from winter to the hopefulness that comes with spring, we eagerly await the day we can live our best lives post-COVID.

At times like this, I am mindful of the people in our communities who don’t feel that hope – those who need a helping hand.

This is why the United Way exists – to help. To help move from poverty to possibility, to help our kids be all they can be, to foster stronger communities and healthier people.

Over the last year, we have learned important lessons.

Dawn’s story: Courage, and a life transformed
Dawn grew up in a life of poverty, quitting school by Grade 8. She fell into a life of addiction and found herself homeless on the streets of Fredericton.

Determined to turn her life around, she moved to Saint John and beat her addiction. She was determined to improve her education – and her life along with it.

It wouldn’t be easy.

Suzie’s story: the only child
Suzie was six years old when she started with Bee Me Kidz in Saint John. An only child from a low-income family, she didn’t have many activities outside school – the financial cost was always a barrier to her parents.

They were delighted to find Bee Me Kidz, a United Way funded partner that offers a free and fun Saturday program.

“We were so excited to find a program in our local community that she could attend without financially harming our household. She was so excited to have something fun to look forward to every week!” her mother says.

Making connections for Shannon and others
At the United Way, we often hear from non-profit organizations looking for talented individuals to join their boards. And we hear from community-minded people ready to invest some of their time giving back.

Indeed, more and more people are getting in touch, not sure where to start on their journey.

People like Shannon Manuel, a Saint Johner who moved out to Alberta for a while before coming back.

In Wetaskiwin, Alta., she helped women connect with other female entrepreneurs and leaders. She still remembers the day she invited some in the community for an informal chat at the local coffee shop to discuss creating their growing businesses and building their network – and 40 women showed up.

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