Nellie’s Shelter for Women and Children
At some point, nearly everyone experiences a moment when one decision changes the future forever. For Mary Byberg, that moment came in January 1992 when she left her abusive husband. Emotionally exhausted and frightened that the latest assault would be her last, Mary grabbed her two young daughters and fled to the local women’s shelter.
"I really saw that there was a chance I wouldn’t make it out of the relationship alive," she says.
Today, Mary is more than simply alive, she’s living. You’ll now find her juggling a full-time career in the legal field with her responsibilities as a mother, grandmother and committed volunteer for Nellie’s Shelter for Women and Children in Toronto.
Since 1973, Nellie’s has been at the frontlines of helping rebuild the lives of more than 15,000 women and their children who have felt the impact of violence, poverty, homelessness and oppression. The organization provides programs, services, emergency shelter and protection for women and kids, with the ultimate goal of securing long-term, independent and affordable housing.
Having lived through her experiences and knowing how difficult the journey can be, Mary was motivated to volunteer at Nellie’s. In 2004 she joined as a volunteer board member of its board of directors and served as the treasurer on the board executive for a total of six years.
She has been an inspiration there ever since, spending hundreds of hours fulfilling her volunteer duties. Then there are the countless hours fund-raising, working on a capital campaign to raise more money for a new shelter space with 50 beds, and speaking engagements.
Reaching out for help changed Mary’s life forever and she’s passionate about helping others find a way out of fear.