CCS is reaching a greater number of people across the GTA than ever before – over 30,000 newcomers, immigrants and refugees through well over 30 programs in 30 languages in 2019.

We are proud to be able to serve so many community members and would like to share one story in particular that illustrates what people can achieve when their perseverance and courage are rewarded with support and understanding.

Claudia came to CCS to get help ending a 20-year period in her life she characterized as “horrific”; one marked by “darkness, despair, addictions and abuse”. She received counselling and support from CCS’ women’s support services team in Mississauga.

WATCH: Claudia tells her story in her own words

Claudia Bohorquez head shot for website story

“Walking through those doors was probably the most terrifying moment I had ever experienced, but it saved my life. With a newborn in my arms, I knew that it was now or never. The CCS office became an oasis. I talked and talked, then I listened and followed every step in my safety plan,” she said.

A safety plan is personalized, practical strategy designed to protect somebody experiencing violence, preparing to leave an abusive situation, or after they’ve left. Safety plans exist in case you freeze and do not know what to do, guiding you in starting a new life, while you’re in the process of leaving the old one behind.

“My job is to get you out safely and alive, my support worker had said, and that is exactly what she did,” Claudia said.

Claudia is now in a new relationship and runs her own lifestyle and wellness company, inspiring others to achieve a healthy balance in their lives and become their greatest version of themselves.

“My smile is not fake anymore. I live a full life with nothing to hide — not even my past. I don’t cry anymore when I tell my story because I have told it so many times and learned that telling it heals me a little more. Today, I can proudly say that I live the life I love. The whole CCS team — they were the light at the end of the tunnel for women like me,” she said.

CCS programs and services work. If you would like to help us continue to support women like Claudia in finding their voice, please consider a donation.