Y Stories

As an inclusive organization, the Y helps children, youth, adults and families of all backgrounds achieve personal success in a safe and supportive environment.

Read how the Y is impacting people in the National Capital Region.

Maria, Y Mind Youth

When Maria began looking at the Y’s health and fitness schedules for a place to play basketball in the winter, she never imagined she’d come across a mental wellness program that would change her life. She had participated in Y programs in the past, but nothing beyond physical fitness classes. Recently diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder and looking for ways to help her cope with every day stresses and challenges, she decided to explore the Y Mind program further.

Read Maria's Story

Amira and Maja, Y Second Stage Housing Program for Youth

At the ages of 18 and 19, sisters Amira and Maja made the difficult decision to leave their family to pursue dreams of higher education and opportunity beyond their home country in the Middle East. With big ambitions and a little apprehension, they flew to Canada, ready to work towards brighter futures.

Read Amira and Maja's Story

Cheryl Davis,
TRY Supportive Housing Program for Women 

Not long ago Cheryl Davis was a regular Ottawa resident, enjoying a full life and working at a job she loved. But things changed quite suddenly once she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Cheryl focused her energy on getting well, and as time went on and treatments took their toll, she was unable to continue working.

Read Cheryl's story

Carina Urbani, Y Family Shelter

Carina was entering her final year of high school when things started to unravel at home. After returning to Ottawa from a stay out west, her parents struggled to find affordable housing. For a while, they stayed with family members and friends, but they soon found themselves with nowhere to go.

That’s when they found the Y. Carina’s family lived in the Y’s Family Shelter while she completed high school, and her parents worked toward finding a permanent home.

Read Carina's story

The Blodgett Family, Y Licensed Child Care 

Having quality, affordable child care can make a huge difference in a family’s life, as Sherri and Andrew Blodgett know well.

Their daughter, Paetyn, 4, has Autism Spectrum Disorder, which affects her ability to communicate and interact with other people. The family works regularly with speech and occupational therapists to help Paetyn learn and grow.

Read the Blodgett Family's story

Yousef Riyati, Y Active Assist

Yousef Riyati and his family know firsthand how Y donors can change lives.

As a busy mom with 5 kids, Zienab Shehadeh knew that her children would benefit from being active and spending time with other kids their age. The cost of enrolling everyone in sports and community programs was simply out of reach, so Zienab turned to the Y for help. 

Read Yousef's story

Jawahir Ismail, Y Employment Access Centre

The future’s bright for Jawahir Ismail, but it hasn’t always been so easy.

As a mother of eight, she knows the meaning of hard work, and has put her heart and soul into raising her family in a safe and healthy environment. Jawahir also knows that education and career are part of being a good role model and crucial elements in her ability to provide for her family.

Read Jawahir's story

Dou'ale Roble, Y Second Stage Youth Housing Program

Dou’ale arrived in Ottawa on his 17th birthday. Born and raised in Somalia, he spent his childhood under constant threat from gunfire and civil war. His mother sent him to Ottawa to keep him safe in January of 2011.

The first six months in Ottawa were difficult. Dou’ale was isolated and lonely; he was struggling to adjust to life in Canada while learning a new language. But all that changed when he came to the Y.

Read Dou'ale's story