Risa and her daughter were residing at Virginia Sam Transition House. Risa was a very shy and quiet woman who was afraid to express her feelings. Her first language was Punjabi and since I speak it this allowed us to connect immediately. She said she felt safe and comfortable sharing her story with me. During the six weeks we at the Quick Response Program worked with Risa she showed an increase in confidence and self-esteem.
Initially Risa was unaware of where to start after her separation from her ex-partner, and she suffered from stress and anxiety due to domestic violence. She was severely isolated as both she and her daughter were not allowed to leave the home due to her ex's orders. Risa didn't have any support or knowledge of any resources that would be available to her or her daughter. Our first priorities were to help her find housing, get her finances in order and be introduced to Canadian culture, policies and laws.
I'm so thankful, you came into my life at just the right time.
We helped her apply for Income Assistance and the Child Care Tax Benefit (CCTB) so she could afford living on her own. Through encouragement and self-esteem exercises Risa began to speak up for what she needed and wanted. We helped her secure a basement suite and connect to other community resources. Through emotional support and being an “extra hand,” a strong bond of trust developed.
We also shared information about domestic violence, Canadian culture, policies, and laws. She learned about Canadian currency and was able to obtain identification, a bank card and contact the credit bureau as Risa was significantly in debt due to her ex.
She needed much more than we at QRP could offer within 6 weeks so we connected her to Options' Settlement Program where she would get extra support through English Classes.
Risa was eager to learn and wanted to work. She was afraid to use transit because she never had before, but now she needed to in order to attend classes and appointments. We went with her the first few times to reduce her anxiety level, but after that she felt comfortable to access transit on her own.
Risa told us later, "I'm so thankful, you came into my life at just the right time." After just 6 weeks she felt confident and empowered to live her life as single parent and ensure her daughter had a stable and safe environment.