I worked with the Community Centre for the past 2 years with the Summer Camp. After enjoying my 2 years I decided to do my post-secondary education at CNA for Communality Studies. I grew up on a low income where my mother and I had to depend on others to get by. Because of that I knew the importance of community organizations that help people like me and my mother. I have a Learning Disability as well and I didn’t strive in academic course, like math or science. I always enjoy helping people and giving back where I could. I was good at it and I put smiles on people’s faces. I felt like I belonged in Community Organizations like the Community Centre. Having come from many barriers I feel like I can relate to the people that come into the Community Centre. I am now doing my work term at the Community Centre and I love it.
I am a single mom of 4 children and have faced many challenges, however, I did enrolled in the Community Studies Program at the College of The North Atlantic Grand Falls Windsor and graduated in June 2006. In May 2008, I completed the Bachelor of Arts Community Studies in Cape Breton (distance). While studying, I began working as Program Coordinator at the Exploits Community Centre(ECC) on a Graduated Employment Grant in October 2007. I am still employed at ECC but I am currently the Skills Educator/Employment Facilitator and I have seen tremendous growth in our community centre. I enjoy working with people of all ages and hope to continue to offer my skills and life experiences to develop and enhance programs and services to our target population.
I am very thankful for the Exploits Community Centre as it has helped change my life in so any ways.
Growing-up I was the youngest child of 8 children; 2 girls and 6 boys, one of which had Muscular Dystrophy, Epilepsy, and was paralyzed an one side due to a stroke he had suffered when he was a baby from a medication that was prescribed for him that was too strong. My father, who was 65 when I was born, was diagnosed with cancer a month prior to my birth and was unable to work. My mother who solely cared for us all had no time to work outside the home. We faced many challenges with the only income being my father’s Old Age Security cheque once a month.
My brothers and sister had all left home by the time I started high school, and it was left to me to help care for my father and brother. My father (whose cancer had gone into remission and had come back with a vengeance) passed away just days after my 16th birthday. I was Devastated. I quit school and stayed home to look after my mother and brother. I had returned several times but never completed all my course credits to officially graduate. I had no ambition to further my education.
It had always been my dream to be a missionary, to help others in any way I could, especially children. After many years of working various jobs I became involved in home care. I worked with clients of all ages. Working with these people helped me realize that I did not need to travel to a third world country to help people in need–there were many people in my own back yard. This realization led me to the decision to further my education.
In 2012 I was accepted to college to complete my high school equivalency, from there I went on to do a two year Child and Youth Care course; at the end of my first semester I was diagnosed with Endometrial Cancer and had surgery to remove it. Determined not to give up, and with the support of my friends, I never missed a beat. I was back at school for the first day of our second semester and carried on.
It was at this time that my life started to take a turn for the better. My college class was invited for a tour of the Exploits Community Centre and an overview of the programs they offered. I was so impressed with the centre that I began volunteering my time with various programs and projects that they offered. Over the period of two years the centre participants, staff and other volunteers became like family to me. I not only volunteered, but my children and I took part in various programs they had offered.
“The center helped me gain the confidence I needed to pursue my dreams. It has been one of the best decisions of my life to accept a position with the Exploits Community as I am currently employed as their full time Child and Youth Care Worker. Since I have taken this position I no longer work, for what I do every day is not a job, it’s a pleasure. I look forward to waking up every day, helping the youth, encouraging them, watching them grow into strong independent individuals, helping them realize that with anything the sky is the limit and to never- never let go of their dreams.