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Verla was living in a darkness created by substance abuse

June 29, 2018

2 MIN READ

Today she is empowered and strong, thanks to the sunshine and love she found at a family resource centre.

Winnipeg Jets Head Coach Scott Arniel, United Way Winnipeg Board Chair Donna Miller, and United Way Winnipeg President & CEO Michael Richardson visit Main Street Project with Executive Director Jamil Mahmood.

Help change lives like Verla’s in Winnipeg now.

Ten years ago Verla was, in her own words, “lost.” She was weary from alcohol use and felt controlled by her “dark side.” She knew she needed help.

Then she found Thrive Community Support Circle, a United Way donor-supported family resource centre in Winnipeg’s West-Central neighbourhood. There, Verla found genuine, loving support and what she calls, “the warmth of the sunshine on my soul.”

The family resource centre supports individuals and families in the community with therapy and counselling, parenting and life-skills classes, men’s wellness, emergency food and baby supplies, a respite daycare and a thrift shop.

Verla’s life became more positive, and she left alcohol behind her. But then two years ago she experienced a very hard time, and it made her want to return to self-destructive ways. She needed more support.

“I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I felt like I was treading water and didn’t know how to do it myself.”

It was then that she met a special lady who facilitates an empowering women’s circle at the resource centre, and she started attending.

“It opened my eyes to things I’d never seen before.”

“It balanced my life and showed me how to care for myself and to feel loved. It’s really empowering.”

Since then Verla has volunteered at the centre, and spent time as a paid resource assistant. She sees the support, and the positive change it brings to people in the community. She says people come in – sometimes in crisis – and feel valued and listened to. Often they leave smiling, in a better place.

“It feels good. It feels good to be a part of that – to know that you’ve helped them, and in a way they’ve helped me.”

Help change lives like Verla’s in Winnipeg now.

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