When Melanie entered Grade 9, her whole world changed.
All her life, she considered herself “straight-edge;” she was not interested in drinking and had zero tolerance for drugs. But when she entered high school, she made a new group of friends, and started getting involved with drugs and alcohol.
That then led to skipping school and stealing money.
Melanie’s father was also using drugs and drinking, and having that type of influence in her life was detrimental to her growth.
On her 15th birthday, Melanie and her father went to a homeless shelter. She learned about managing anger, and how to be more social, and was offered family and drug and alcohol counselling through local programs.
When Melanie turned 16, she had enough. She began living on her own with no source of income. To eat, and to stock her cupboards, she went to a local food bank, and then began volunteering when she turned 17.
“I enjoy giving back to the community because this program did help me out a lot,” she says. “I like to give back and help other people in their times of need.”
Melanie says the programs she used are extremely beneficial to the members of the community.
“United Way has helped me a lot in my life because I needed different programs at different points in my life, and they always made these programs available, whatever I was going through at the time.”