Meet Suson
April 20, 2023
Meet Molly
October 25, 2022

Meet Mouna

“I could not have gone from the streets to a master’s degree without your help and without Cornerstone’s help.

I am grateful to have received two bursaries from Cornerstone to pursue my passion for higher education in counseling.”

What makes your house feel like home?

I bet you’re like me; it’s not just the bricks and walls that keep you safe and secure that makes a home.

For me, home is the hearts and connections that touch mine with love and kindness.

I came to Cornerstone Housing for Women more than eight years ago empty and longing for a place to call home. Because of you, I have a home, comfort, and community. Cornerstone means the world to me. I don’t know where I’d be without them.

For 14 long years, I battled my own demons of anorexia, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction. There were a few times in my life when I didn’t think I’d make it to tomorrow, but I did.

If it weren’t for donors like you, Cornerstone staff, counselors, and the amazing women I’ve met at Cornerstone I would not be here today.

The Cornerstone community is my external source of resilience.

When I was only 19 years old, I moved into Cornerstone’s MacLaren House. I moved into room 301 at the time. I remember that first day I moved in and it honestly, felt like the right fit.

It felt like home.

For the first time in a long time, I had found a place to call home.

For many years, I was the youngest woman in the building. I made some amazing friends and women who are still a part of my family.

I’m happy I’ll be home for the holidays at Cornerstone with the staff and women who truly make the holidays feel special. You help us make the holidays a special time of year.

For many of us, the holiday season can be a difficult time. It’s a reminder that I didn’t always have the comfort, community, and love that I have now. Please consider giving a special gift this holiday season.

You can be the star that guides someone to find hope, comfort, and community this holiday.

There’s a woman struggling just as I did to get through this holiday season and she can’t do it alone. Knowing people like you care means a lot to a woman who’s in crisis or feeling alone.

Thank you for never giving up on me, and allowing me to believe that giving up on myself is not an option.

Thank you for being there for me even when I felt alone and couldn’t be there for myself. I know you were there.

Thank you for continuing to be my people, my home, because a home is more than bricks and walls – it’s love, kindness, and community.

When I was 12 years old my family immigrated to Canada from Lebanon to find a new place to call home, to find a better life.

I was born with Albinism and I have a visual impairment. If I was still living in Lebanon today, I likely would not be alive, and the medical expenses would have been too much.

I have struggled with my mental health and identity for many years.

I remember in grade 10, I couldn’t even walk up the stairs at school. A teacher there saw me and took me straight to CHEO. This is when my recovery began, I didn’t know it was the start of my recovery at the time, but it was.

I remember they told me it’s a good thing I came because I would have been dead within a week if I didn’t. This was the first time I realized I struggled with an eating disorder.

I spent many years in and out of CHEO until I was 18. When I turned 19 I was transferred to the adult system. I remember the first night I was admitted and I just cried all night. I was scared. I felt ashamed.

There’s a lot of stigma around eating disorders and mental illnesses.

It’s why I want to share my story. I want people to know they are not alone.

I want people to know they are not less of a person because they struggle with their mental health, eating disorders, or homelessness.

Everyone is a star in their own way. We are all special. Maybe my voice can be someone else’s voice if they can’t share their story yet.

There were many dark days as I struggled with depression and anxiety but Cornerstone was there for me. You were there for me. Through many of the supports from Cornerstone, I was able to find my light and start to heal.

One small donation to Cornerstone can truly help a woman find hope, inspiration, and healing. Plus, all gifts will be matched by a generous anonymous donor up to $20,000.

Please consider giving a gift today and help a woman start their healing journey.

Art is a part of my healing. It’s so important to counseling as well.

I realized that my art spoke of a silent story that many of us are too afraid to share with the world because allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is too scary. I share my journey, adversity, and suffering through my art whether it be with a paintbrush, or with words in poems.

For many of those years where I grew as an artist, I was sitting on a hospital bed with an IV in my left arm and a paintbrush in my right.

My identity revolves around art.

Whenever I felt I was losing my identity to my illnesses, I picked up the paintbrush and was reminded that no matter what my eating disorder or drugs took away from me, it will not take my creativity away from me.

I started my creative journey with both visual arts and creative writing when I was 14 years old. I remember one of the first art classes in high school and it was lesson on painting. I grabbed a canvas and red paint and splashed the whole canvas with red as if to say my mind is bleeding everywhere.

I remember my teacher came to look at my canvas, and said something like this “you are hurting kiddo, aren’t you?” I remember this as if it was yesterday.

But that was the day I realized that art was my way of expressing my deep engrained pain that words could never tell. A few splashes of red paint told a lot. By the age of 21, I had many art pieces in my portfolio and I had published 4 poems and received the award of “Great Poets Across America”.

Because of you, Cornerstone’s staff and community, I have been able to continue my passion for art and pursue my educational career in counseling.

In the spring of 2021, I successfully received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.

When I walked across the stage to receive recognition for the hard work that I completed through some of the darkest days in my life – I cried. I cried because I realized that it was time to start honoring myself and appreciating myself and that healing takes place in self-love.

In 2021, I was also accepted for my master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at Yorkville University.

I could not have gone from the streets to a master’s degree without your help and without Cornerstone’s help.

I am grateful to have received two bursaries from Cornerstone to pursue my passion for higher education in counseling.

Currently, I am working as a primary care counselor and I love my job.

My story isn’t over yet. I’m not exactly where I’d like to be, but I’ve come a long way. I could not have gotten this far without the support from community members like you, the staff at Cornerstone who have always been by my side, and the women who have become a part of my family.

I will keep sharing my journey through my art with the world; perhaps the safe places I paint may become someone else’s safe places like they were mine when I needed them.

This holiday season you can give the gift of hope and housing to a woman experiencing homelessness. You can give someone happiness.

Before I came to Cornerstone, I didn’t have a place to call home. Now, I have a home, an education, and a job.

Because of you, I have a home, comfort, and a community. I am so grateful. Thank you!

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