At 16, Aaliyah left home. She had been sexually abused by her uncle, and felt that family gatherings were too painful. She sought comfort at the Emergency Youth Shelter at Our Place Peel, but was in a very low place. She believed the abuse could have been her fault and used self-harm to medicate her pain resulting in several hospital visits. Aaliyah left Our Place Peel and began living on the streets. She started stealing and heavily using drugs.

Then one day, in the midst of getting high, Aaliyah thought back to conversation with an Our Place Peel staff member. He said “You can make it, and when you are ready we will be here to support you.” This one conversation resonated with Aaliyah, and she decided to turn her whole life around.

She called Our Place Peel and got involved with the HYPE program where she could overcome her past issues to reconnect with her parents. She got a job and eventually moved home.

Today, Aaliyah is university bound. With help from Our Place Peel she realized that she can make it, with a little help along the way.  

When you give to United Way, you give more than shelter for an at risk youth. You give them the possibility to overcome life’s obstacles and pursue their dreams.