"My grandma didn't want to ask for help. She was like, 'Getting help? Yikes!' But it blew my mind that it was available."
Growing up one block over from the Mission Centre, on 6th Street, Sierra's family had struggles but she knew that help was very close by. At the age of 10, Sierra and her 5 younger brothers went to live with her grandmother. "My dad was out of the picture and my mom was having a hard time." Going from zero to 6 children was overwhelming for her grandmother. Sierra became like a second mother to her younger brothers. "I've always been very motherly and a caregiver." Not having enough resources for all the extra family members, Sierra suggested they go to the Mission for help. "We would come to the Mission regularly for food and other things. I know that in other countries and even other cities in Niagara, they don't have the help that we have in Welland. If you need resources, they are available." Now, Sierra is back at the Mission Centre, as a volunteer. She is currently completing a program in Community and Justice Studies from Niagara College and is eager to give back and help others that may be in the same situation she was as a child. "People need to have support outside of just their own family. Not everyone has family they can turn to." She also wants to continue to set a good example for her 5 younger brothers. "I want to empower them, teach them how to take care of themselves and others, how to treat people." Today, her mother, grandmother and brothers and doing well. They have a circle of support from church and others and have stable homes. "20 years later, I have come full circle and want to be that help and support for other people that my family received when I was younger."