“How did I go from the penthouse to the parking lot? That's what everyone wants to know.”
Michelle Casimiro was a successful businesswoman in downtown Toronto. She seemed to have everything going for her until she found herself sleeping in her car. She and her daughter Sydney were homeless.
Michelle was stuck in the throes of an abusive relationship and had spent years suffering quietly in denial. Yet, she presented perfectly. People had no idea what was going on behind closed doors.
I’m on antidepressants. All this anxiety, feeling depression, what’s wrong with me?
My depression gets worse. I’m having a hard time functioning. My income dropped 75%.
I’ve lost everything and I'm sleeping in my car.
“One day it turned physical and my daughter was there…She jumped in front of me and made herself into a human shield. When I saw her put herself in harm’s way something clicked. I’m supposed to be protecting her…nothing mattered but getting out.”
I reached out to Lia Grimanis of Up With Women for resources, shelters, and we went out for coffee.
She realized I wasn't reaching out for a friend. I told her what was going on.
“Michelle, do you realize that Up With Women is designed exactly for women like you?”
I noticed that my mom was talking about Up With Women a lot, and every time her face would genuinely light up…You could see that she was acting differently. She started going out and having fun—feeling like she deserved to be happy.
“I’m very proud of my mom for all she’s gone through. I love her for all she’s sacrificed and given up for us to end up where we are today. Now, I’m in university on a sports and academic scholarship.”
Up With Women helps formerly homeless women rebuild their careers and paves a pathway out of poverty.Help create generations of strong women.
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