Ashley has been a part of the LAF Afterschool Program for the past 5 years. 2018 is her last as a part of the program as she looks forward to graduating from St. Lawrence Elementary School.

Ashley has faced significant challenges with learning and in her social interactions with peers due to a medical condition from birth. She struggles with her speech and often stutters when nervous. Ashley also deals with issues of poverty and the recent break-up of her parents.

She has often shared with LAF mentors that she feels bullied, she doesn’t fit in, and that she has very few friends to connect with outside of Welcome Inn. However, she has always found LAF a safe space to come to.

At LAF, Ashley has learned that she has good skills and lots of strengths. She comes to LAF and Adventures in Art and other events that Welcome Inn has.  She has made some new friends and her self-esteem has improved. As one of the oldest LAF participants Ashley takes pride in helping out in the kitchen during snack time, financial literacy programming handing out forms/pencils, or with end of the day clean-up. She expresses herself through her art as she loves painting and drawing.

Ashley has grown so much in these 5 years that she is now using her leadership skills as a Junior Counsellor in our Summer Day Camp program. Although Ashley expresses some trepidation at not being at LAF anymore she is looking forward to joining the Teen LEAD Program in September.

One of the strengths of Welcome Inn programming is that we are here for the long haul and able to see children grow, learn and develop into strong, caring young adults.  We are able to provide support when life hits a bumpy road because we have been there all along.