Maria A. Vieira knows what it’s like to arrive in Toronto with a heart full of hope—and not much else.
In 1959, she and her husband Sam left behind a dictatorship in Portugal to build a life with more opportunities for their two young children. They spent their first years in Canada learning and improving their English, upgrading their training, expanding their family and establishing careers.
It all seems like a long time ago for the 85-year-old mother of four, grandmother of eight and great-grandmother of four little ones. But her early days of uncertainty sometimes come back to her when she thinks about the struggles of the youth we serve.
The power of our work became personal when two of Vieira’s granddaughters were diagnosed with bipolar disorder in their teens and left their homes at different times. When the family learned that they were staying in shelters, Vieira was relieved. But she worries about young people who don’t have a support system and is glad Covenant House can help them find a path forward.