A United Way agency helped Gisèle find support for herself after her daughter’s mental illness diagnosis.
“Shortly after my daughter started her PhD in psychology in 2001, I noticed that she had become very anxious all the time, and was getting worse. I remember one incident in particular when she called me, paralyzed with panic, and I had to go pick her up. She was hospitalized, and after months of tests, we got the diagnosis: bipolar disorder.
I was shocked and in disbelief. I had no idea what to do. When my daughter was in a manic state, she wouldn’t sleep. She walked around constantly and lost weight. As a health care professional—I’m a retired speech-language pathologist—I knew I needed to ask for help right away. But when it comes to your own child, you feel completely powerless.
At first, I looked for help mainly for my daughter. After I found support for her, I had the time to look for support for myself. I went to an agency supported by United Way that helps families and friends of people with mental illness. I attended 10 group sessions, where I learned a lot about mental health. I gained a better understanding of what people with a mental illness are feeling. That helped me put myself in my daughter’s shoes.
I also learned how to let go. This doesn’t mean you are giving up, but rather that you accept the situation. I learned how to tell my daughter that I was exhausted and that I couldn’t always be strong. She then started paying attention to me, just like I paid attention to her. Our relationship has always been good, but this helped us communicate and work together even more.
Today, my daughter is doing much better. Bipolar disorder will always be part of our lives, but now we know how to live with it. I have been on the agency’s board for six years. After hearing the stories of the families of people with mental illnesses, I see how invaluable this assistance is for them.
As a parent, you wonder if your child’s problems are your fault, but you have to let go of the guilt and ask for help. Once you feel better, you can help others.”
“After I found mental health support for my daughter, I had some time to look for support for myself at a United Way agency.”
When Nuhaa’s family first moved to Canada, it was a difficult adjustment. But a United Way program made it easier.
“I was born in Syria, but when I was four, my family had to leave because it was too dangerous there. So we went to Jordan. I liked it there because my grandparents and aunts and uncles would spend summers with us. When I was eight, we moved to Canada because my parents thought we could have a better life here.
Coming to Canada was not good and not bad. I was excited about meeting other people, but I missed my family and I was scared of going to school because I was shy. I was afraid nobody would want to play with me or be my friend because I didn’t speak English.
Our neighbour told my mom about a United Way after-school program where I could get help with homework and do activities. I was so excited to go there! I have fun, and all the new people I meet are really nice, like my friend Reema. I love her because she’s kind. My favourite part of this program is when we have circle time. That’s when we can play a game, draw or colour. We have a lot of fun together, and now I feel less shy. I’m happy that I get to go to this after-school program.
I feel more comfortable in Canada now. I can speak English, and I’m more confident. I even got to be part of a student art exhibition at the art gallery in my city.”—Nuhaa
Click Here to purchase your 50/50 Ticket online for a chance to win up to $15,000
Also purchase your ticket before October 20th for a chance at the Early Bird Prize of $1,000 Travel Voucher from Total Travel!
Portage Plains United Way and ROK Central are excited to be hosting a fundraising social on Saturday, October 7th.
Join us for a great meal by Bills Sticky Figures, live music by Hicktown, fun games and silent auction prices.
Tickets are on sale now! They can be picked up at the PPUW office at 20 Saskatchewan Ave East.
For more information please call 204-857-4440.
CMHA Heroes of Mental Health Awards – May 10, 2018
Community BBQ – June 7, 2018
Canada Day BBQ – Sunday, July 1, 2018
Portage Plains United Way Annual Golf Tournament – Friday, August 10, 2018
Portage Plains United Way 2018 Campaign Kickoff Luncheon – September 2018
MGEU Spaghetti Lunch – November 2018
Portage Plains United Way Shopping Night – November 2018
Each year Portage Plains United Way reserves a portion of their fundraising campaign to be used for their Community Response Fund. The Community Response fund is designed to be able to provide funding, additional to our Member Agencies, to other nonprofit organizations, programs, and initiatives in our catchment area.
Grants from the community response fund can be applied for at any time of the year and are available for up to a maximum of $5,000. Applications need to be submitted to Portage Plains United Way at least 60 days prior to the start of the project.
Key Factors considered for funding are:
- New & Unique ways to identify and meet community needs
- Responsive to changing needs and emerging community conditions
- Community driven for a target population or befits the entire population.
Criteria required for funding includes:
- Serves a need in the Portage Plains United Way Catchment Area
- Applicant is a non profit
- Provides a human and or social service not otherwise duplicated in the community
Click Here for an Application or call our office at 204-857-4440 for more information.