Abresha’s Story

Supporting vulnerable youth while they move towards adulthood is a foundational strategy of United Way.  Through your donations, we are working every day to change the power of poverty, knowing education and support builds stronger lives, and a stronger community.


“I saw the doors to the future were open. You can’t understand how that feels.”

You would never know it from her beaming smile, and confident nature, that Abresha has seen more in her young life than anyone should. In 2013, her father was one of thousands who uprooted their families in Kosovo to move to Canada. “There was always another war, and another war, and we would lose everything.

He wanted to go to a place of peace.”

At 16 years of age, Abresha was not only dealing with the challenges of being a teenager. She was dealing with these challenges in a new country, in a new culture, all in a new language. She needed help. United Way supported programs smoothed the path helping Abresha meet people her own age, and adjust to her new surroundings. Other programs helped her family to connect with services which helped them embrace Kitchener-Waterloo.

“You can be anything you want in Canada. You can dream.” Before arriving in 2013, there was no dreaming for Abresha. While education might be possible in Kosovo, the barriers were daunting. Today, Abresha has a dream. She is looking toward post-secondary education, and fulfilling her goal of becoming a social worker. Abresha says the help her family received came from many different places,

and was vital to her family’s success. She wants to pay that forward. She is grateful for the support she has received and the opportunities she now has.

“When you come here, you can believe anything is possible.”