Mohamed’s story: Chasing his dream in Canada
Mohamed Hassan Mohamed came to Canada – and Saint John – in 2019, eager to forge a new life for himself. Originally from Somalia, he settled here intent on leveraging the business degree he earned years earlier at the University of Malaysia. More than anything, he wanted to become a Certified Professional Accountant, or CPA. Mohamed, 33, deals with pain and mobility issues continuously. He has ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory disease that can cause some of the small bones in the spine to fuse. Because of his mobility issues, Mohamed was able to get assistance in pursuing his goals through Ability New Brunswick, a United Way-funded partner.
Matthew’s story: From frustration to success
Matthew, who is on the autism spectrum, has always been a quick study. For five years, he’s been involved in the Sistema music program for youth. But Matthew struggled with the physical side of playing the violin. This meant slow progress, and it frustrated him and left him feeling he wasn’t good enough.
Madison’s story: the courage to seek a better future
Madison has struggled with significant mental health issues her entire life. At five years old, she was diagnosed with extreme anxiety and selective mutism. As she grew older, she was diagnosed with depression and social anxiety. She was targeted by bullies. By the time she got to high school, it all became too much and she quit school entirely. About five years ago, she resolved to get her education back on track and turned to the Saint John Learning Exchange, a United Way-funded partner. She was feeling good, going to classes twice a week, but a toxic relationship threw her education on hold.
Michael’s story: A new confidence
As an elementary school student in Charlotte County, Michael struggled in his reading. It was such a chore, it wasn’t surprising that he disliked it. But thanks to United Way funding, he was able to participate in after-school tutoring and in a summer learning program.
Madsen’s story: ‘A literal lifesaver’
For Madsen, the Community Living Centre in St. George is a big part of her life. Four days a week, Madsen goes there to socialize, continue her education and learn life skills. But with her disability, she is unable to drive and is entirely dependent on others to get her to a place that is so important to her.
Jessica’s story: ‘My daughter is my hero’
The day Jessica’s 9-year-old daughter disclosed she had been sexually abused, they huddled together in the living room, hugging, crying and telling each other they were sorry. It was the beginning of a frightening journey for the two of them as they navigated through investigations by police and social services, and as the girl feared seeing her abuser again.
Helping the seniors of Campobello Island
When the pandemic descended on Campobello Island, the impact was much more profound than the mainland. No restaurants remained open, grocery supplies were limited, as was the ferry service. The way off the island remained by land, but that meant crossing into the United States – even when that was possible, anxiety ran high. For seniors, this amplified any challenges they already faced.