Why I Run for YWCA Toronto

Carmela and her team, the Fast and Furious, were the top fundraisers in support of violence against women shelters at the 2015 B&O Yorkville Run. Sponsor one of our runners or sign up to run at the 2016 B&O Yorkville 5K Run happening September 11, 2016. 

I first became involved with YWCA Toronto when a colleague asked if I wanted to support one of the oldest and largest multi-service women’s organizations in Canada. I love that YWCA Toronto is an organization run by, governed by, and for women with a long history of providing housing programs and employment and training programs that help women transform their lives. If you had told me then that I would become a YWCA Toronto Board member, I might have believed you, but if you had told me I would be running for the cause four years in a row, I probably would have not.

I am not much of a runner – and I don’t really enjoy running! But the B&O Yorkville Run is different.  I love that you and your fundraising team set fundraising targets and work together to raise money leading up to the race. On race day, I love the feeling of so many women and men from the YWCA Toronto community joining together to run. We are propelled by each other’s energy and momentum, all moving together towards the finish line. What inspires me is how supportive and encouraging we are of each other. Some runners have battled illnesses and injuries, and we all have different personal goals, but we are all moving forward together. We are all working towards the same goal – crossing that finish line.

It is our larger goal that is our true reason for running. Together, we are working to end violence against women and girls.

It is our larger goal that is our true reason for running. Together, we are working to end violence against women and girls. I run each year in the B&O Yorkville run to raise money for YWCA Toronto’s shelter programs.  These shelters are not just a temporary place to stay (although this is incredibly important for women fleeing violence). YWCA Toronto provides substantial support services that really do transform lives – from counselling services, affordable permanent housing, and employment and training programs. Women are empowered to come to terms with their past and confront their future to make meaningful changes for themselves and their children.

I am running because I believe no woman or child should have to live in fear without a safe place to go.

I am running for the women who have made the courageous decision to leave an abusive relationship or situation. I am running for the women and children who are turned away every day from emergency shelters because beds are limited and resources are tight. I am running because I believe no woman or child should have to live in fear without a safe place to go. I am inspired by their bravery to leave and I am fundraising to help make sure they have a safe place to go.

Funds raised through the B&O Yorkville Run help YWCA Toronto provide emergency shelter and transition support for women fleeing violence. This includes safe, secure, and comfortable emergency residential program, basics such as food, clothing, hygiene products, sheets, and towels, access to specialized support and counselling, and the resources to re-establish themselves in the community, free from violence.

Please support me or a runner you know by donating here. Together, we can end violence against women and girls.