Ashley and her mother came to the Red Door in 2002. Now a donor of the Red Door, Ashley spoke with us, and recalled her experience when she and her mother suddenly found themselves homeless.
“As a kid, you don’t pay the bills, so you don’t really know what’s happening. I just remember coming home from grocery shopping with my mom one day and there was a note on the door of our apartment. We were locked out. My mom started going into hysterics. I was confused. I was embarrassed. I felt like my life had just stopped.”
Her mother never let on that she was struggling to make ends meet. When she received the eviction notice, she was crushed. They had no family or friends that they could reach out to. She didn’t know where they could go. Luckily, a security guard from the building, who had come over to help calm her down handed her a card with a number for Red Door.
“We were nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but when we arrived it felt welcoming and comfortable. I was embarrassed to be there at first, but during my stay I began to feel for the first time, like I was part of something. Everyone was there because they were facing some adversity, and we were all in it together. I knew things would get better.”
After 3 months Ashley’s mother was able to find a new affordable apartment in good neighbourhood. Ashley began working part-time and helped support her mother. Despite other financial difficulties, they were able to get through it together. When she graduated high-school, Ashley went on earn a university degree and is now working as a Business Analyst for a large telecom firm.
“I look back on my experience as an important hurdle. Even though there were difficulties, through our stay at the Red Door we learned how to overcome. To me that’s what any good social program should do, give people the ability to take care of themselves – give them the skills to overcome any hardship.”
In 2012, Ashley decided to start giving back the Red Door as member of our Family Guardians monthly giving circle.
“I always knew when I came to a point of being financial stable I would give back. It’s my way of saying thank you. Because I know first-hand what it’s like to be in the shelter, and I know how much it benefited us, I would never want a family to be turned away because of lack of funding.
It’s rewarding to know that I am helping another family that requires the Red Door’s services. I am sure that they’ll get the same warmth and compassion from your organization that my mother and I received.”
Learn more about how you can help as a Family Guardian.