Supporting the whole family

For the long-term success of youth in Niagara, we know that having support in the earliest years of life is vital. United Way believes that children should have the opportunity to be all that they can be and strive to achieve whatever they wish. Achieving this goal means that families, especially single parents and children with disabilities, need to be supported by their surrounding neighbourhood and community. Empowering children and families means not allowing people in vulnerable situations to suffer through domestic violence, food insecurity or housing insecurity.

Often poverty is a generational issue, one that is difficult to break if a person has lived through years of hardship. Together, we can work towards education and prevention that will give youth and their parents or caregivers, the tools to lift themselves out of poverty and on the path to a successful and rewarding life, locally.

The Facts:

  • Over 15,000 children in Niagara live in poverty, with many experiencing some form of homelessness or housing insecurity

  • Roughly 36 per cent of people living on Ontario Works are children

What are we doing about it?

United Way invests in abuse prevention and advocacy, so families can never have to suffer through abuse or exclusion in their community. We encourage healthy, nutritious lifestyle choices that nurture life-long success for local kids. Parental supports allow families to succeed without the stress of going it alone, by offering day camps and after school programming that teaches children how to excel – on their terms.

Not everyone is dealt the same situation. We know that for everyone to experience equity, the community must be there to offer support. One such initiative we fund is Backpacks for Kids. This gives families the necessary essentials to allow kids to go to school with all they need to thrive in the classroom, while alleviating some stress on monthly bills. Through investments in literacy and numeracy programs, skill development, counselling, recreation and after school programming, mentorship, shelter and nutrition, programs for youth with disabilities and support programs for parents, we are making sure youth and families across Niagara have access to the support they need when they need it.

Mike standing proudly in front of his apartment building.

Meet Mike

“At a young age I was exposed to the violence and insecurity of street life without any idea on how to survive on my own. I spent 12 years homeless, living in constant fear. Stepping through the doors of the shelter was life-changing. I was welcomed with open arms where the staff made me feel safe for the first time. In my three month stay at the emergency shelter, I learned so many valuable skills. Having a roof over my head and food in my stomach was no longer my only concern. I took advantage of every program they had and credit all the support I received to my success in transitional housing. I am no longer homeless, I have a job I enjoy, an apartment to call my own and a healthy vision for the future. Thank you for saving my life.”

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