By Shelby Hall, Outreach Worker / Teacher at Role Model Mom - Jane-Finch
(Click image above to see photos)
(Tyna with her pink hair on the last day of RMM class)
Role Model Moms is continuing in its seventh year... It has been such a blessing to follow along the journeys of the moms who graduate from our program.
This past winter, I was so encouraged to learn what the moms are up to since they left our little classroom in Emmanuel, Church of the Nazarene in the Jane-Sheppard neighbourhood.
Tyna was a student who had arrived in Canada from St.Vincent a few years ago. She left her three children in the care of her family, while she is the first to start a new life for them in Canada. She had to leave school at a young age to care for her many younger siblings back home. When she started our GED program, she was barely working at a high school level, but her reading was great and her determination and work ethic were unbelievable. She became a favourite student for all of us, and although she couldn't pass all the exams in one year, we hired her to work with our childcare for the following year. Tyna was a model employee, early to arrive, last to leave, and was beloved of all the children and moms alike. She was a great spiritual support for me as well, as she would pray for me and constantly encourage me last year. She decided to try applying to Humber College as a mature student, and see if she could pass their essay and writing admissions test. Last May, she was accepted into the social services program. I had the great joy of visiting her while she was doing her placement this year. She was working with Africans in Partnership with AIDS downtown, and she had arranged for me to be the guest speaker to share how the GED works in Canada, and specifically for mothers, to all of the African immigrants who were affiliated with this organization. To be honest, when she introduced me, I started crying... I was so overwhelmed with pride at this amazing woman! They all laughed and clapped, and Tyna just smiled at me (She has seen me cry before!) It was a miraculous moment for me.
She is just one of many stories I could share at watching what these strong and determined women will do if we will support them and give them the opportunity. Role Model Moms is often just the beginning of their journey.. one that has the power to change the trajectory of a whole family!