Without YOU, Cassandra might have been another drop out.

A single mom defied the statistics and beat the odds because Winnipeggers like you support safer, healthier neighbourhoods through United Way.

Although she’d already been on her own for two years since her parents split, Cassandra never felt more alone than when, at age 18, she found out she was pregnant.

“All I could think was, ‘I’m not graduated from high school. I’m not going anywhere and I’m about to have a child.'” She turned to Villa Rosa.

Cassandra Granger & her son.

A United Way agency partner, Villa Rosa provides young women who are facing pregnancy on their own (and who, in many cases, have been impacted by violence and addictions) with a safe place to live during and after pregnancy.

There, Cassandra attended school in classrooms administered by the Winnipeg School Division. As well, she learned to budget and save through a United Way partnership that helps Winnipeggers move from poverty to possibility.

On March 18, 2004, Cassandra gave birth to Miguel. “He was just gorgeous.”

The two stayed at Villa Rosa for another six months. Cassandra continued her studies with onsite childcare support from Villa Rosa’s Parent-Child Centre and Toddler Room.

When Miguel was just three months, Cassandra graduated. Since then, she’s received $9,000 in scholarships – money she’s put to good use pursuing a career in nursing. She will graduate in May 2012 and it’s all thanks to Winnipeggers’ generous support for programs like this through United Way.

“Walking into Villa Rosa and not having been judged and just them accepting me for who I am and giving me the tools made me realize the potential I had. I just think Villa Rosa changes lives, and always for the better.”