To this day, Ahmed still remembers the sign that hung in his high school classroom in Saint John: “Nothing is Impossible.”
Ahmed, born in a refugee camp in Somalia, fled Africa as a teenager with his father and siblings. Arriving in a brand new land proved challenging.
As he struggled with his schooling, a friend mentioned the Teen Resource Centre in Saint John as a place that could help. The very first person he met there – a staffer named Sarah – was so endearing and helpful that today Ahmed describes her as his “Canadian auntie.”
“It was a lot of fun and it felt like home again – having people taking care of you and always being there for you,” Ahmed says.
It was at the Teen Resource Centre that Ahmed met Cassandra, a case manager who found subsidized housing where he and his siblings could live. Staff at the United Way-supported centre helped them source dishes, furniture and settled them in with groceries.
Last year, thanks to the support of the centre, he was able to graduate from high school – the first in his family to do so.
“I was so proud of myself and it was great,” he says. “I’m happy that my brother and sister saw me graduate high school. I hope they will do the same thing and follow my lead.”
To learn more about Ahmed’s story – and how he was reunited with his mother – watch his Stories of the City video.
The video is the first of a four-part series highlighting the impact of United Way-supported organizations in the region. New videos are released every Monday on our Facebook and YouTube accounts and on our website and will be a feature of our 2021 fundraising campaign.
These deeply personal stories of struggle, courage, resilience, and hope are a testament to the power of community. Our hope is that through these stories, others will find encouragement, empowerment, and a belief that anything is possible.