My name is Denyse and this is my story.
When I was just a teenager, my son Lukus was born. Barely out of childhood myself, the weight of responsibility being a single teenage mom hit me like a ton of bricks.
Without a strong community of support in Prince Rupert, I struggled to be the mom Lukus needed. I had no one to show me how to care for an infant, and I struggled to make ends meet.
I was given the ultimatum of signing Lukus into foster care or signing him over to a family member. Defeated, I gave custody of Lukus to my own mom. Being separated from him broke my heart.
I was ashamed and consumed by pain. I started drinking and partying in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to numb my aching heart.
Years went by and I hit rock bottom.
In one of my darkest days, my Grandmother suggested that I go back to school to finish my high school diploma. She encouraged me to believe in myself and a future when Lukus and I could be together.
I took one class and passed. And then I took another. And another. I stayed sober, completed high school and regained custody of my son.
I was on a better path, pursuing my Bachelor's Degree in Social Work, but managing school, raising my son alone, and making ends meet was still such a struggle.
Then a friend at school connected me with Mom2Mom.
At first, the grocery support they provide is what appealed to me most. Even using the food bank, I was worried every month about running out of food for Lukus. Then I got to know my Mom2Mom mentors. They encouraged and supported me, and offered guidance when I felt lost.
My Mom2Mom mentors have shown love, support and guidance as I find my way as a single-mom. They didn’t judge me for my past - they believed in my future.