Quality of Life
Hastings Guy | Shelburne
Day after day, year after year, no one ever asked Hastings Guy why he had such a hard time at school. They didn't know about the abuse he suffered at home. In grade 9, Hastings left school, unable to read, believing in his heart what others told him: "You're stupid."
He took jobs as a labourer, and often earned promotions. Yet, embarrassed by his inability to read, Hastings left these jobs before anyone could discover his secret.
This pressure, and undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder from his childhood, led to drug and alcohol problems. At 48, he reached a critical turning point: "I was in a live or die situation. I chose life."
Hastings made learning his lifeline. He taught himself to read with support from his Bible study group. That success gave him the courage to enroll in the Adult Learning Program at NSCC's Shelburne Campus.
LEVEL 3LITERACYIS MINIMUMLEVEL
NECESSARY INOUR KNOWLEDGE-DRIVEN ECONOMY
ONLY 55% OFNOVA SCOTIANS
ARE LEVEL3+ LITERACY
“Knowledge doesn't give you intelligence...
...Intelligence lets you learn.”
"It was scary to walk through those doors, but it turned out to be such a welcoming place," says Hastings. He completed nine credits in just 1 year and is taking the final 3 credits he needs for his high school diploma.
Along the way, Hastings used his literacy skills and growing confidence to establish a support group to help others who have suffered from childhood traumas. This year, he earned a provincial literacy award nomination, and his work as a mental health advocate garnered a 2010 nomination for an "Inspiring Lives" Award from the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Hastings's sincere wish is to inspire others to learn. "In today's world, education is the difference between being on the street dealing with addictions, or taking care of yourself and ensuring your own independence and success."Tags:
Mary-Ann Frost - Pictou
Mary-Ann Frost knew there were homeless youths in big cities. She'd never realized how many lived in Pictou County.
That startling discovery occurred while Mary-Ann was a Human Services student at NSCC's Pictou Campus. During a class, her instructor, Mike Lawrence, talked about the Pictou County Roots for Youth Society, an organization devoted to helping homeless young people between 16 and 19 years old. Mary-Ann decided to attend a Roots for Youth event and what she learned deeply affected her. "I like working with kids and I just knew I had to help. People wrongly assume they're mixed up with drugs or choosing life on the streets. But many are 'couch-surfing' from friend to friend just to survive."
Eligibilityonly startswhen you're19
Not in myback yard
“Overcoming stereotypes and the nimby attitude...
...was the most challenging part of the process.”
Mary-Ann began to volunteer regularly for Roots for Youth and eventually became co-chair of fundraising. She helped the non-profit organization raise enough money to hire an executive director and secure a grant from the federal government that funded the purchase and renovation of a house. NSCC students from various programs helped get the house ready by volunteering time to paint and clean.
Now, Roots House is open 4 hours every day. Young people can come in, use computers, get something to eat, do laundry, take a shower – whatever they need.
Mary-Ann graduated in June 2011 and is now employed helping adults with disabilities. "I'm giving back to the community I call home through my career and as a volunteer. It's the best possible reward."Tags:
Virginia Michael | Truro
Virginia Michael promised herself she would go back and earn her Grade 12 when her youngest child was old enough to enter school. In 2006, that's just what she did. Virginia entered the Adult Learning Program (ALP) at NSCC's Truro Campus and left with her high school diploma.
Now, Virginia is in year 2 of NSCC's Tourism Management program. "I have a very outgoing personality, so this program is a perfect fit for me. The opportunity to be in this industry and welcome people to Nova Scotia appeals to me."
TOURISM IS A$1.8 BILLIONDOLLARINDUSTRY
AND ACCOUNTSFOR 32,000NS JOBS
SYMBOL OF GREETING andGENEROUSHOSPITALITY
STUDENTAMBASSADOROF THE YEAR
FOR TRUROCAMPUS (2010)
“I used to look at job postings and see 'Grade 12 or equivalent' and think...
...'That's not me.' Now, I've gone beyond that qualification.”
In the process, she's become a role model both in the community of Indian Brook and to her 4 children. "I keep telling people about the outcomes – that I have so many options open to me now, including management. My oldest kids are looking at a post-secondary education because I'm doing it. You can make a difference just by setting an example."
Virginia's studies have also made a difference in her quality of life. "After completing this program, I can apply for a job with the new hotel at the Truro Power Centre, or anywhere. The opportunities for me in this industry are now limitless."Tags:
Robyn McPherson-Gallant | Sydney
Robyn McPherson-Gallant was a Human Services – Therapeutic Recreation student at NSCC's Marconi Campus when she started volunteering at the Autism Society of Cape Breton. At the time, the society offered one support and recreational program for autistic teens to get together and socialize.
Fast forward 2.5 years, and Robyn is now a full-time program coordinator with the Society. She has played a key role in launching and expanding similar support and recreation programs offered to children, tweens, and adults with autism.
THOUGHAUTISM IS ANEUROLOGICALDYSFUNCTION
THE EXACTNATURE ISSTILL UNKNOWN
1 IN 100 PEOPLE
SUPPORTSALL OF CAPEBRETON
“One mother told me that her daughter went from being indoors all the time...
...to going out and doing new things with friends.”
"I gained a lot of confidence in myself and my abilities through NSCC. The faculty was very supportive, not just in helping me build skills such as public speaking and networking, but also in making connections with community organizations so I can do what I do."
Robyn is now looking to launch more programs for adults and families living with autism. "We're a small organization but we continue to grow because our programs are changing lives."Tags:
Dave Arthur + Adam Lucas + Ryan Geldart | Mikumi
In 2010, NSCC faculty member Dave Arthur visited the Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA) Mikumi Campus in Tanzania. The Information Technology (IT) instructor realized immediately that the campus' virus-ridden computer network was badly in need of an upgrade.
1 year later, Dave returned to Tanzania as part of a Service Learning Project with the School of Applied Arts & New Media. He brought with him equipment and tools to give the campus a modern computer network with reliable web access. Faculty member Darlene Redmond and 2 NSCC Information Technology (IT) students – Adam Lucas and Ryan Geldart – accompanied him on the journey. Together, they installed everything from network cabling and firewalls to Ethernet switches and workstations.
INTERNETSPEED INTANZANIAIS SLOWER
THAN DIAL-UP SERVICEIN NORTHAMERICA
“Imagine a campus without Internet access. That was the situation...
...Now, students can go online and access the most up-to-date information..”
"It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience," says Ryan. "I got to use the skills I learned in a dynamic and ever-changing environment while experiencing a new culture and way of life."
Now, Mikumi students have a safe, secure computer network and Internet connection for their studies, and Ryan has a post-graduation plan: "I want to go back to Africa or find a way from here to build on this work."Tags: