Lena came to Canada with her parents and older brother in 1996 from South Korea. She was enrolled in Art School in Korea but had to drop out. They came to Canada because her father wanted to provide more opportunities for his son. Culturally, the son’s future was most important. Her father passed away in Canada in 1997, which devastated the family and all the plans fell apart. Emotionally, her mother could not continue to live in Canada and, immediately, went back to Korea where she still lives. Lena and her brother stayed in Canada so he could attend and graduate from high school. Lena attended school, but also was responsible to take care of him (in lieu of his mother) until he graduated. He lived in Vancouver early in his career, but he has lived and worked in Dubai for many years now.
Once he went off to college, Lena was free and moved to Toronto on her own and attended art design school. She worked as an art tutor and with a design company for 2 years. She then moved back to Vancouver so her mother would be closer for visits every few years and worked for a design company in Yaletown until she married.
She met her daughter’s father in Vancouver. He was well-educated, a professor of art, very attentive and loving. As a newlywed, she learned quickly that he had 2 disturbing qualities that he had hidden when they were dating: alcoholism & a violent nature. There were several violent incidences with police involvement. She endured physical abuse for the first 3 months, and then learned she was 2 months pregnant. He wanted her to abort the fetus, and when she refused, he abandoned her. She and her daughter have had no contact with him whatsoever.
She moved into Semlin Gardens, a YWCA affordable housing development, in early 2011. She has been out of the workforce raising her daughter the last 3 years. Her goal is to return to her career in graphic arts and design. She is determined and has taken steps to make this happen.
She applied for and was accepted to the “Access to Employment” 6 month program which is offered through the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. She also was approved for a bursary which will pay the full tuition fees.
Lena has secured a childcare spot for her daughter and with help from Cause We Care Foundation’s emergency funding can pay for her portion of the childcare allowing Lena to attend school. This last hurdle will enable Lena to move to financial independence and a brighter future for she and her daughter.