November 27, 2018
When Olivia was 15, she struggled with many different things. She had self-esteem issues, disordered eating, and spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital for suicide attempts.
She struggled with anxiety and depression.
Olivia knew she needed to find support and change things in her life in order to become emotionally healthy – especially when she became pregnant with her son, Augustus.
So Olivia enrolled in the Youville Centre, a United Way partner agency.
It was a move that would change her life.
“Youville provided me with the counselling and support that I needed to help cope with being both a teenager and a mom.”
The Youville Centre is a fully accredited child and youth mental health centre with onsite academic partners. Youville offers mental health, trauma and addictions counselling, a licensed child development program, parenting programs, and a mentorship program so young mothers can complete their high school diplomas with access to wraparound services that help them succeed.
After almost four years of attending the Youville Centre and with the support of her counsellor Jenny Strange, Olivia has grown. She says she feels like a completely different person, and has found confidence in herself and stability.
She has grown stronger from her struggles.
“I have not let the stereotypes define me. Instead I have grown to define myself.”
United Way Ottawa funds the parenting program and mental health and addictions resources at Youville to ensure two generations of young people in Ottawa have the best chance at a bright future.
Olivia overcame the barriers others had placed on her as a young mother: she graduated at the same time as other teenagers her age, showing those who doubted her abilities that she could succeed. Now, Olivia is in college studying business and entrepreneurship, and she runs her own photography business.
“I may still have some obstacles to overcome, but Youville has prepared me to face them and to see these obstacles as an opportunity to learn and grow.”