Shawn's Story

September 13, 2019 / By: Nancy Harper, United Way WRC Editorial Content Creator

People of United Way Profile: Shawn Ashe
(Director, Membership for the YMCAs of Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo.)

Shawn knew deep down that he wanted more from life. But as each new day brought another wave of uncertainty, he had no idea where to turn.

Without a strong support system, young people face an uphill battle as they navigate adolescence and the transition to adulthood. And worse still, youth like Shawn are at risk of never realizing their full potential if there isn’t someone in their life rooting for them and helping them discover what they’re truly capable of.

Fortunately, the tide began to turn when a school friend invited Shawn to join him at the YMCA, an agency United Way is proud to invest in. Shawn and his friends quickly became regulars, building a rapport with the dedicated staff who offered consistent support and guidance.

Where this teen once had been so unsure of his future, he now had many role models cheering him on. Thanks to United Way-funded programs, he was able to explore opportunities he never thought possible, like attending university and building a meaningful career. Shawn began to create his own definition of success.

Today he is a devoted YMCA employee driven to inspire other young people and committed to changing the odds for them — just as they were changed for him.


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