Canadian National Railway Funding Announcement
June 12, 2012
Today I would like to share with you how Ignite has changed my life.
Fourteen years ago, I was a single mother of two kids and pregnant with my third. I was working at a car wash full time and making minimum wage. One night I was working overtime and was held up. After the robbery, I just couldn’t deal with anything anymore. But I had no choice. My education was limited to Grade 10 and my skills consisted of cleaning and changing diapers. I had to go to work to be able to put food on the table and pay the bills.
One morning, I saw an advertisement for Ignite*. It offered so much, from computer training to getting a GED. With love and support from my family, I applied, went for the interview, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best. Well, I got accepted and couldn’t believe it! My life has never been the same since!
The first week was so nerve wracking – all of the forms to fill out, all the people to meet. I had nightmares that I was going to be swallowed by paper!
Your classmates became your cheering section. Anything you did or tried, they were there right beside you. Joy, the Administrative Assistant, would help you with whatever papers you needed filled out. We couldn’t wait until Joan came in – we so wanted to see what she was wearing that day! Our instructors were so compassionate and patient with all of us; they always encouraged us. I never heard “you can do it” so much in my entire life. And then there was Carlo. That man despised the word “no” or the words “I can’t do it”.
You see, I had this HUGE problem. I hated math with a passion! But I needed to be able to do algebra in order to pass the math portion of the GED. Carlo could see that I was struggling. He sat with me at my work station for over two hours and got me through it. He would not let me give up. Without his persistence, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. But that is the norm at Ignite – patience, persistence, encouragement. It’s there all day, everyday.
Our class was told that we would be having lunch once a month with the investors of the program. Well, the whole class was so nervous. I mean, you have business people coming into the Centre. They have invested in your success and you are now going to sit down and have a meal with them. What do you say? How do you act? We were so nervous.
The day of the Investors' lunch came. We sat down with people who didn’t know us from Adam. I couldn’t believe it. They ate their soup the same way I did. They chewed their sandwich the same way I did. They spoke to us like we were one of them. They didn’t care about anything but our success in the program. Here we were sitting and having a meal with people who believed in us and thought we could succeed in anything that we did. From that moment on, I was going to make sure that they got the biggest bang for their buck from me. I wanted to make sure that they knew that the investment they made in me was going to bring a huge return not only for them, but for my family and me.
Thanks to all of the encouragement that I received, not only from the staff at Ignite but from my family, I graduated in October of 1998. I was so excited, but so scared of what my future might hold.
After graduating, I went on to further my education. I applied for every job that I could. I took any job I could get my hands on and kept applying for bigger and better things. I took advantage of any training opportunities that the company offered.
The road to my success has not been easy. I have been blessed with the most caring and supportive parents. Without them, the road would have been even harder to travel. Little enjoyments along that road kept me going. I was able to purchase a house. It is not a grand mansion but it is my family's little piece of heaven. It is ours. We can have colour on our walls. We don’t have to worry about rent increases and we can have as many pets as we want – two dogs and two cats to be exact. Most of all, we have stability.
I purchased a newer car. My kids were so excited as they couldn’t believe that the car had all of the door handles and all of the windows! The only downfall, my son said, was that they couldn’t hear me come home from work!
Since my attendance at Ignite, it has been like a domino effect on my family. I will be seeing my youngest son graduate high school this month. He is the second in our family ever to graduate from high school. It was such a pleasure to go and get his tux and be able to purchase the top hat and cane he had wanted so badly and not have to say “no” because of a lack of funds. And I’m also proud to say that the first in our family to graduate was my oldest son. You see, because of Ignite, my children have seen me grow and become successful and now they are becoming productive members of society.
You see, because of Ignite, I have been given a gift of belief – not only the belief in success but the belief in my success. I have been given a very promising future. My children have been given an even brighter future.
Ignite has given me self-confidence that I have never had before. Ignite has shown me that I could be a productive member of society. I am a better mother and daughter because I have seen myself through the eyes of Ignite.
So many opportunities now await my children and me thanks to the investors and the staff of Ignite. I plan on taking each and every one of them and running. I plan on continuing to achieve every goal and dream that I have set for myself and plan on succeeding in this thing that we call life.
Ignite has given me the courage to reach for goals and dreams that I had always thought were impossible. For that, my family and I can never thank them enough.
Not only will I always thank Ignite for the opportunity of a lifetime but I thank you, CN and Yara and the employees of these two great companies. Each day you come to work and help earn a profit for a company which, in turn, gifts it to an organization to build strength in people like me. It is amazing. So, when you come to work each and every day, know that you are helping others to change their lives and their worlds completely. We need people and companies like you to help us. And Ignite needs that help to continue. Thank you for being a part of the financial support and volunteer support that you give. All of us appreciate you!
* The Regina Adult Learning Centre (ALC) changed its name to Ignite Adult Learning Corporation in January 2012.