Charity, volunteering and donating concept. Raised up human hands with red hearts. Children’s hands are holding heart symbols

A donor’s story – Susan Lawrence

Posted on April 13, 2023 in YES Stories

Susan first donated to YES after being discharged from the PRHC where the health team there probably saved her life.

She had been whisked away by ambulance five days previously as all her electrolytes had been tanking. It was the height of pandemic lockdowns, and no one was going anywhere. However, Sue’s friend, Suzanne, offered to stay the first night home with her, despite her many other obligations. Sue gratefully accepted. Then Suzanne ended up staying two more nights as Sue realized she had some PTSD and needed more support to see her through.

A way to say thank you

Susan wanted to repay Suzanne in some way and knew the best way would be to give to a charity of her choice. Suzanne had said how much Covenant House had helped a young relative of hers when he had lost his way as a teen; he was now on a good path to live a happy and fulfilling life. Susan thought the YES Shelter of Youth and Families would do the same thing more locally, so they both agreed that that would be a good choice.

Susan, and Suzanne, had also grown up in families where giving to others, especially vulnerable and young people, was a way of life. Their families had looked to those who had less than they had and asked what they could do.

A way to live according to one’s values

Susan grew up in middle class Peterborough in the 1950s and ’60s, a time when the families were larger, and there was one sole income provider. “Nobody had a lot of money, but everyone had food and a home. Everyone made a living wage.” She prefers a more modest lifestyle for all if this means everyone has their basic needs met.

A way to address grief

A number of years ago, Susan’s two great nieces, when 7 and 8 years old, lost their mother to a fire caused by faulty wiring in sub-standard housing. The girls were traumatized. As teens they struggled on their own to find security and housing. So Sue knows how much need there is to support young people who should, by rights, have security and a base from which to start their lives.

Since that first generous gift in 2020, Susan has given to YES each year. She is proud that her community offers transitional housing that is specific to Indigenous youth through YES’ Indigenous RISE Program and she believes that all of us should be supporting families, so that children don’t have to experience poverty.

Sue strongly believes “everyone should have housing today” and supports YES’ programs that provide and facilitate housing for youth and families in Peterborough.

Update: Susan Lawrence passed away very shortly after this article was originally posted. She asked her friends and family to donate to YES in her memory. We were so glad to get to know her, and believe her support will leave a legacy of care and demonstrates her love for people and this community.