Since a young age, Nadia was forced to work in her father’s Toronto bakery every day until late in the evening while he hurled insults and commands. Her confidence was shattered by his constant putdowns, and she had no time for friends or homework.
“My father was very manipulative and abusive,” Nadia shares. “He would always say, ‘you’re stupid’, ‘you’re not good enough’ or ‘nobody else would ever hire you’. A life of self-doubt and servitude was all she knew.
When he flew into a rage and struck her, Nadia knew she had to escape. “I just couldn’t take it anymore,” she explains.
Nadia had heard about Covenant House and came to our crisis shelter. Crippled with insecurity, she was timid and unsure that she would ever become independent. Her father’s insistence that she would never accomplish anything on her own echoed in her head. When she met our youth worker Danny, she started to open up to a different mindset.
“Every day, Danny told me to believe in myself and I could do it. Every day!” Nadia recalls, her face softening with a shy smile. “He was always pushing me.” Danny saw her potential and warmly encouraged her.
One of the lessons at Covenant House that Nadia valued most was learning how to socialize with others. Her abusive childhood kept her from making friends and her shyness was debilitating. Here, she made friends and discovered what she had to offer others. “I was like a baby who didn’t know how to walk or talk. At Covenant House, they taught me step by step how to get out there in the world, how to be professional, how to be social,” she explains.
Nadia had been very worried about finding a job, but quickly found that her pleasant, reliable and hardworking nature was a clear asset. She found employment in a coffee shop and an apparel store. Later, she completed a college diploma in hospitality management.
Today, Nadia owns a charming gelato shop. She works seven days a week in the busy season, but now she is choosing to work hard for a life that is her own. In the winter months, she travels the world. She visited Australia last winter and she has her sights on Thailand for her next adventure. Even though the world is hers to explore and her business is doing well, sometimes she stills needs a little pep talk. Danny always takes her call.