change lives.

Mary’s story: a life of deep poverty

It was an innocent question from staff at the Saint John YMCA as they welcomed four-year-old Mary on the first day of the Y’s pre-Kindergarten program.

“Do you colour at home with your mom?”

Mary’s answer is something the staff member with her will never forget.

“No,” Mary replied, “we don’t have crayons at home.”

The little girl came from a neighbourhood with a 90 per cent poverty rate. Something most of us take for granted – a box of crayons – is something Mary most looks forward to when she comes to the pre-K program.

The program at the Y’s Early Childhood Hub-North came at no cost to Mary’s family and is designed to give youngsters and families from the city’s most vulnerable neighbourhoods the tools they need to help end the cycle of generational poverty.

Thanks to the United Way and the generosity of its donors, this is more than a school readiness program – it is a program these children and families need.