Samantha is a survivor.

She was born into a family that showed her that love is conditional and even hurtful. When Samantha moved into the foster care system she continued to struggle to find stability and acceptance. Samantha’s youth was dark and painful, and she often felt desperately alone. How can a child ever understand that the future could be different than the past she already lived?

But, Samantha is a survivor. Even when she didn’t know where to turn, she didn’t give up hope. Change started in 9th grade when she sent a letter to her teacher asking for help. Her teacher connected her with a Social Skills program provided by the Learning Disabilities Association of Chatham-Kent. This United Way funded program helps youth like Samantha learn to deal with their rage, defiance and other emotional wounds.

The result? Things got better for Samantha. And today, Samantha has come full circle. She has recently completed her Early Childhood Education and Child and Youth Worker diplomas, and is working towards her Bachelor of Social Work degree.

Samantha is working with children in situations like her own, to help them become survivors, too. She believes if she can help one other person, then "it was all worth it."

Statistically speaking, Samantha should be a part of the never-ending cycle of abuse and poverty ... but she's not.

Samantha credits United Way programming as the reason she is who she is today. We know the truth. Samantha is a survivor.


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