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Women of Courage: Sharon

Mission Services’ Violence Against Women shelter, Inasmuch House, is marking 50 years of service to women and children making a new start in life. To commemorate we are sharing three stories of courageous women who are learning to heal and start new lives today. This is Sharon’s story.

Your gifts to programs like Willow’s Place help Sharon improve literacy and gain new cooking skills to help care for her granddaugher.

Sharon is young at heart. That’s probably because she had to grow up quickly in a large family that didn’t have much money. “I left school at grade five because my parents didn’t send me to school,” she explains. “They kept me home to look after them and clean the house. They both had addictions to alcohol and we had nothing growing up. It was hard because it was just us kids trying to take care of ourselves.”

Today, Sharon is getting the second chance she’s always wanted to improve her schooling. At Mission Services’ FoodFit program, a partnership with Community Food Centres Canada, Sharon is learning to cook from scratch using healthy ingredients. Then on Mondays she attends computer and literacy classes. She learned about both programs after visiting Mission Services’ Willow’s Place, a drop-in that builds on the work of Inasmuch House by creating a space where women can come during the day for safety, support, and resources.

Sharon preparing healthy snacks for Mission Services of Hamilton’s after school program in her FoodFit course, a program developed by Community Food Centres Canada that teaches food and physical fitness skills to people with barriers to healthy eating.

Sharon’s passion for life-long learning is also turning her into a role-model for her granddaughter. “She is a wonderful person who works hard,” Sharon says, “but she is bullied at school because she has a disability. That makes it harder for her to do well at school.” The new Pathways to Education program that opened at Mission Services is helping Sharon’s granddaughter succeed at school. “She does well at Pathways and enjoys coming here; she has friends and feels more confident. We both feel good when we come to Mission Services.”