Abuse and instability were part of Sarah Martin’s childhood. Her father would yell at her and twist her arm. Her parents fought. And the family moved often and faced financial hardship.
Sarah said it was a relief when her parents separated, but she and her mother and two siblings still struggled while living in government housing in East Vancouver.
Then they found a local neighbourhood house that provided a welcoming, safe place to visit. Through an after-school program supported by the United Way, Sarah met other young women and enjoyed movie nights.
It changed everything.
“When you’re vulnerable, that right connection can save your life,” she said.
Sarah shared her story during a visit to the Langara Council meeting on November 21. As an Impact Speaker for the United Way of the Lower Mainland, Sarah talks publicly about how support for the United Way has a positive impact on people’s lives. Langara’s United Way committee, which leads fundraising efforts at the college, organized her visit.
Now an adult, Sarah still visits the neighbourhood house where she attended the after-school program.
“My story has a happy ending,” she said.