Ignite Masters Dinner
June 16, 2014
Good evening everyone. I recognize some of the faces that are here, and I am very happy to see you all tonight.
I want to first of all thank you for the contributions you and your company have made to Ignite.
I am going to tell you about how this program is completely different than any other GED program offered here in Regina. And I’m going to tell you about how the skills I’ve gained from this program have enabled me to hold the job that I currently have. But first of all, I am going to tell you a little about myself and how to came to the Ignite program.
Almost two years ago now, you would not have recognized me. I was shy, sad and had low confidence. But I still had a smile on my face. And that’s what got me by. I was working as a server, going through life without thinking about my future.
Like all of the other apprentices, my family was built with layers of generations of pain, of abuse, and sadness. I learned how to survive—but thrive?? I never thought it could be possible.
In my heart, I knew that I deserved a better life, not only for myself, but for my entire family. I knew that if we just had a chance, we could make it.
So, when I heard about the program at Ignite, I latched on to this chance that I had without hesitation.
When I first applied to the program, I was pretty afraid that they wouldn’t accept me. Because throughout my life I was more worried about passing the cool test than the school test. The times that I did care about my education, I was alienated from my peers. Since my family moved often, I learned how to get friends pretty quickly, and not the ones that spent the weekends studying.
I chose people that I felt comfortable around. Partiers, druggers, drinkers. I knew them, and knew them well. I understood their behaviours and could get along, since we all shared in the same struggles. But I came to the realization that I no longer wanted to be seen as I started to see these people. I did not want to struggle; I didn’t want to hustle.
I wanted to take control of my life, stop feeling sorry for myself and seriously stop blaming others for the way my life was.
This is when Ignite entered my life.
Ignite is exactly as the word implies. They Ignite your brain to think. They Ignite your heart to feel. They Ignite a flame inside you that had once been blown out by the very people You thought had Your best interests at heart.
That’s exactly the work they do. Our facilitators help us to get rid of all the years of garbage that were taking up precious space in our minds. They provide us with a safe, healthy place to deal with the pain of the past. They help us to be strong, and confront the people and situations that were holding us back from our true potential. Because once we change, everything and everyone has no other choice but to change as well.
And my life has changed drastically since graduating in November last year . . .
Not only do I have a job that has allowed me to have the material things in life, but I am also able to volunteer as a board member for the Regina Women’s Transition House, and I participate in Dress for Success volunteer activities.
So, not only have I been able to take complete control of my life and future, but everyone around me has begun to make life changes for the better. I can’t think of any other better reason to contribute to this program.
We need workers in our economy. We need to start breaking this cycle of dependency and create strong-willed and reliable young people that can deal with the struggles that they will come in contact with, and give them the tools to handle these situations without it interrupting their work life. That’s really what Ignite teaches—how to be an ideal employee through skills training and self-care tools so that you can deal with life and all its baggage.
The Ignite program doesn’t just mean that you get your GED. When you complete your nine months, you will have the hard skills to work in any low to medium-skilled job.
You will know how to navigate through most computer systems like Microsoft Word and Simply Accounting. (This is great for all the administration jobs that need to be filled.)
You will know how to write a speech and have the confidence to give it. (This is important for delivering presentations.)
You will know how to build relationships with your peers and managers. (Job security)
You will know how to deal with issues in the workplace in an appropriate manner. (Again, job security)
You will know how to take good care of yourself so that you can do the work, and limit sick days off.
Most importantly, what’s the point of all this if you just regress back to your old habits? Well, trust me when I say that they have the programs already built in that deal with this. Thought Patterns for a Successful Career, SMART Recovery, and Money Management were my absolute favourite courses.
Each program offers another layer to deal with the issues that will arise when you start on a new path, because the unknown for the uneducated is the most frightening thing. And the way you deal with this is often through ignorance and self-medication—both of which will cause you to lose what little you have. And that’s not a sacrifice I am willing to make anymore.
I can say that I work hard every day.
I can say that without Ignite, I would not be the proud women you see standing here before you, and for that I Sincerely Thank You