Our Most Urgent Need

Bringing Women and Children to Safety

Your generous support will bring families like Lauren’s to the safety of our shelters, making it possible for them to build a life they once only dreamed about.

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image of Lauren, a YWCA client, smiling


The second the little statue fell, we knew it was too late.

The skipping rope dropped from our hands and we froze, waiting for the sound of his feet, like thunder crashing down our basement stairs.

I can hear his voice, demanding to know which one of us was responsible for the shattered bits of glass at our feet.

I can see his huge hands, gripping my little sisters’ tiny arms so they couldn’t run.

And I can feel my palms instinctively pressing against my ears to muffle the horrible sounds that followed.

I was just 6 years old at the time, but my heart still pounds like it’s trying to break free from my chest when I talk about the things he did to us more than two decades ago.

My name is Lauren. When I was a child, my mom, my sisters and I were brutally abused by my father.

We owe our lives to the YWCA and Crossroads Shelter for helping us escape.

I was too young to realize it at the time, but I have someone like you to thank as well. You see, when you give to the YWCA, you give children a whole new life with their moms: a life free from abuse.

How do I know? Because I’m living proof that your support saves lives!

I wish I could tell you that the kind of things we lived through aren’t still happening to women and children in Peterborough. But the truth is, YWCA counsellors answered 4,888 calls for help last year alone.

And while more than two decades have passed since we turned to the YWCA for help, the need for places like Crossroads Shelter has never been greater—especially around the holidays. Recent research shows that domestic violence surges during the Holiday Season with calls to Ontario women’s shelters increasing by as much as 30%. 

As a child, I didn’t understand how many people were standing behind us through their support of the YWCA. I didn’t know that Crossroads Shelter relied on donor support so it could operate around the clock or that the meals we ate and the counselling we received were available because people in our community believed that no one deserves to live with abuse.

All I knew was how safe we felt at Crossroads and how lucky we were to be there.

Today, I’m living the life of my dreams. In my career as an athlete, I’ve travelled Canada. I’ve won many awards and recently competed at the Olympic trials for swimming.  It would not have been possible without the amazing support of Crossroads, the staff who work there and donors like you!

We didn’t deserve to live with abuse. And neither do they. Please give as generously as you are able. Your gift will save lives.


image of Lauren's signature