Perpetual PovertyI have been a single parent for thirteen years now and my children's dad is a deadbeat; not a penny all those years. It has certainly been a challenge since leaving him, my Government job and my family in the community we had lived in. I went from making $24.00 p/hr to welfare. We have been living in poverty ever since. Since I did not have my certification for the job I was trained on-the-job, it has been a constant struggle to find a decent job in which I was able to support my children on. I even tried to get my certification but due to the policies (at least 70% in all categories) I failed by 1%...so to me it was a sign that it was not meant to be...there were 5 categories and in 4 of the categories I averaged 99-100%, but in the algebra category I scored 69%; which is pretty good for me when it comes to math.
I then decided to continue my education in persuing my psychology degree. I was in my second year, twenty years later, living on student loans and becoming self sufficient. Then I had instantly become what is known as 'the sandwich generation', which I was studying about at the time; my dad had gone into long term care after his debilitating stroke and I was left looking after my mother, as well as my young children. This happened right at the end of the first semester. I still thought that I could continue being a student so I registered for more coarses, and was unable to finish my coarse load; I managed to get a B average on the courses that I was able to finish, which was awesome considering the circumstances, but again 'policy' prevented me from continuing my education, as I was only able to complete 60% of my coarse load. I now owe the government $20,000.00 for an education that I did not receive in credentials....it was simply bad timing; I have since taken one course per semester, only if I can afford it; it has been a long road.
When I did re-enter the workforce, it was minimum wage job after job...I have now worked myself up to $15.00 per hour, but am only working part time and still struggling financially; living off my child tax benefit and housing subsidy. I am no longer on social assistance. I am now looking into accessing reachback through ei (employment insurance) in which they will pay up to $4000.00 per year towards tuition and help with living expenses. I was going to finish getting my degree but there is a new local program here to become a Transition House Worker, and that is what I have decided to do.
The local Transition house was our first home when we arrived. After thirteen years into my 'journey' I feel I am ready to share my experiences and help other women and children fleeing from abusive relationships. There has been many years of counselling that I have accessed for me and my children, many tears and much time spent together as a strong and loving family. All the years of hardship have made my children the strong independent teenagers that they are today. I have total faith that they will become thriving members of society, as the years of being a single parent have taught them that life is a challenge and that any obstacle can be overcome with courage and love.