May 9, 2017 at 3:37PM until May 31, 2017 at 3:37PM
At YWCA Hamilton, we see Mother’s Day as a reason to pause, reflecting on the mothers, grandmothers, and other women who have inspired us and shaped our lives. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the women who continue to motivate us, and to remember those who have passed away, leaving their legacy behind.
Mother’s Day is also a time to think about the sacrifices mothers make for their children. I think about the difficult decisions my mother made raising two children on her own in Hamilton far away from the support of her parents and family she had left behind in another country.
Arriving in Canada in the mid-1960s, believing together they could find their dreams in a new country, my mother and father scrimped and saved to open a small photography business and to eventually buy a home. Circumstances suddenly changed when the marriage ended, and over night she became a single mother to my brother and me, losing her marriage and her business. She felt like she lost her identity, and this shook her to the core.
However, as a mother, she had no choice but to make it work. She persisted. She went to school at night to upgrade her skills. She went from one contract job to another constantly interviewing for every opportunity available. She didn’t own a car, which meant spending a lot of time navigating a limited public transit system. She wasn’t able to spend as much time with us as she would have liked, but when she did, she instilled values in us — independence and a thirst for knowledge among them. Her passion for art and culture broadened my sense of the world and made me believe passionately in the right to self expression and the importance of raising up diverse and marginalized voices to be heard.
My mother missed her family and thought about returning home many times, but my brother and I were her reason to stay in Canada. She didn’t want to uproot us and destabilize our lives again. She felt like she had lost everything. She felt very alone.
She reminds me of the sacrifices so many women must make in their lives. She reminds me of the importance of maintaining my own identity and for all women to seek and find their independence as she did. She reminds me that things can change in an instant, as we see in the lives of so many women who access YWCA Hamilton’s programs and services.
Since YWCA Hamilton began in 1889, it has had a mission of connecting women to opportunities, including employment training, affordable housing, and childcare. This year, we ask you to consider supporting us in honour of the women who have made sacrifices to help pave your way.
Your gift to YWCA Hamilton supports resilient women who are overcoming obstacles and breaking barriers, whether they’re accessing our employment programs in search of a job or to start their own business, are finding their voice through our Young Women’s Advisory Council, or coping with the challenges of a new baby with support from our Good Beginnings program. However, we can’t provide these programs and services without your help. We ask that this Mother's Day, you consider giving a gift that honours the women in your life who have inspired and helped shape you. Your support and generosity will impact lives for decades to come.
Director of Operations