Britney was a 40-year-old mother struggling in an abusive situation and came to the centre for support. Through this support she was able to leave her abuser and became empowered to start her new life and fulfill her dream of becoming a chef. This is Britney’s story.

Britney survived multiple sexual assaults as a child and an adult. Her past trauma consumed her confidence and she lived with anxiety and depression.

Britney came to see us because her Ontario Works case manager was going to stop providing financial assistance. The case manager thought someone else lived at her address. We helped her work through the issues with Ontario Works and discussed her goals for the future. During this process, she found her passion for cooking.

“I felt stuck. I had to do what Ontario Works (OW) said or stop receiving financial aid. When I came to the centre, I told the person working with me how frustrated and angry I was. We talked about my case manager at OW and how threatened I felt. The centre called the supervisor at OW to learn how to change my case manager. They also helped me become reinstated with OW because I couldn’t do it by myself,” said Britney.

When Britney explained her passion for cooking to us, we took her to a local school so that she could learn how to become a cook. We found funding to cover the cost of the school’s tuition. Britney was finally able to recognize her capabilities and was slowly able to build her confidence.

Britney was dedicated to her education. She brought her homework to us, and we helped her with it. After six months, she received a cooking certificate and took other courses to enhance her knowledge.

She became a successful student but lacked confidence in her appearance. Britney had lost her teeth from being beaten in the abusive relationship. We advocated for her and found funding for the cost of dental surgery. When the surgery was completed, she cried at the beautiful sight of her smile.

With our support, Britney secured employment as a cook at a country club. She broke the cycle of generations of family members living on social assistance. Britney felt proud of herself because of this accomplishment.

“The centre coached me on how to respond to job interview questions. I guess my responses were fantastic because the head chef at the country club hired me after the interview,” said Britney.

Britney works full-time at the country club and has worked there for more than five years. She stays in touch with us and is thankful for the support we have given her. She hopes to never need financial assistance from Ontario Works again.