Anna is a first-generation immigrant to Canada and former participant of the Homeward Bound Halton Program through Home Suite Hope. Homeward Bound Halton works with homeless or inadequately housed mother-led families, provides a two-year college education in a marketable skill at a fully-accredited institution, provides structured, goal-oriented case management support, including support from an Industry Council with representatives from multiple business sectors.
Through the program, Anna was able to complete her education in Software Development and Network Engineering at Sheridan College. She is currently independently upgrading her skills towards the bachelor’s in Technology Software Engineering degree on a part time basis and hopes to be able to continue her studies towards a Masters and PhD in the future.
Today Anna works as a Software Engineer at an Oakville company where she feels valued, brings her strengths to her team, is learning new skills and manages her life as a single parent. She completed two co-op terms at Sheridan College and one at the Treasury Board secretariat. While at Sheridan, Anna was invited by Google to their Passport to Google event in Waterloo HQ, to explore their internship opportunities and what it is like working at Google. She was one of only 17 students invited from all Sheridan campuses. She also attended her first hackathon at York University, which incidentally happened to be the first all-girls hackathon in Canada. Anna and her team won Best use of Microsoft Azure API. They presented their idea as an exhibitor at the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2016. Anna is always looking for opportunities to help and support her community and women in STEM fields.
It wasn’t long ago that Layla found herself isolated, pregnant and residing in a women’s shelter. Today, she and her son are living in a small apartment, subsidized through Home Suite Hope’s previous ReStart Halton Program.
Our ReStart Halton program provided single parents with children in their care up to two years of rent relief through a housing subsidy. The program was designed to help single parents take back control of their lives by giving the time needed to work on the obstacles preventing them from being independent and self-sufficient. The obstacles are numerous: job loss, sickness, escaping a violent relationship, or being a newcomer in a city without friends or family. Whatever the reasons, Home Suite Hope’s wrap-around care and goal-centred supportive services are there to help families in crisis.
Layla joined the ReStart Halton program in 2017, and the HSH staff saw how determined she was in giving her son a stable home. They recommended her for the Homeward Bound Halton program. Joining the Homeward Bound Halton program would mean Layla could give up her two low-paying, physically demanding jobs to focus on her education, and more importantly, her young child.
Launched in 2015, Homeward Bound Halton provides hard working and determined single mothers, like Layla, a hand-up in changing their lives by going to college to pursue a new career. The program has been designed to provide all the supports a single mother needs to return to school full-time. This includes a two year college scholarship, rental support, and assistance with their job search following graduation.
Returning to school is not easy, and it’s more challenging as a single parent with young children. Those selected for the program must be ready for the full-course load, numerous assignments and late night studying, all while being a full-time parent. There will be tears and moments when it is all too much to balance, but they are not alone. Home Suite Hope’s case workers are there every step of the way to provide encouragement and guidance. Their door is always open.
Tanisha is a single mother of three children, with two different fathers. One father was not involved at all in his children’s life, and the other father only saw his child part-time. Tanisha described herself as socially awkward and a loner. She came from an area that was predominately white, secluded and lacked opportunities for her future. When she moved to Oakville, it was to pursue a life for her and her children, but she intended to move back to the countryside once she had financially stabilized her family. She was part of the first cohort accepted into the Homeward Bound Halton (HBH) program and went on to be one of the first HBH graduate. She learned about various cultures while attending school at the Brampton Sheridan College campus, and opened herself up to make a few friends along the way.
Tanisha graduated with a 4.0 and secured a permanent position in a top financial institution with an income of approximately $50,000/per year. Now she is not only a successful professional, but also knows how to interact with others confidently. She has decided to stay in the Oakville community so her children will have the same opportunities that she did.