Living Bravely

By Shelby Hall, Outreach Worker / Teacher at Role Model Mom - Jane-Finch

Another semester has come to an end.  The students returned to class after Christmas Break ready to tackle their final weeks of review for the GED Exam.  Remember this is a standardized exam that lasts 7 hours in total. It covers Math, Science, Social Science, Reading and Writing.  It will give the moms their high school equivalency that will open all kinds of doors to them. But first they had to study.

By January, our class has met every day for 4 months.  There is the beginning a community here.  A few of the moms were overwhelmed by new pregnancies, financial concerns, and family issues and were unable to keep up with their subjects, but most of the class kept coming  in order to figure out all those missing bits of information that were stopping them from passing.  The community that exists in Role Model Moms becomes a beautiful thing.  We are thankful when someone brings in a special treat to share.  Our staff, Amber, cooks us up a wonderful meal on Wednesdays where we gather together to laugh and moan about our ‘other life’ outside of the class. Melissa and the other daycare workers keep our babies and toddlers happy with new play dough and games. 

What is most special is that a small group of these moms really get to share their story.  In a quiet moment in between quizzes and essays, they share their struggles and the obstacles in their lives.  They share their joys and blessings despite of what often looks like a challenge.  One of our moms has a son who is autistic.  She thanks God for him every day.  Another mom has a child who has been sick for over a month, the older moms share homegrown recipes (garlic and onion seem to always be ingredients!)  Another mom shares her fears about leaving our class and starting a new school.  Although she is ready for it, she knows it will be bigger, louder and less personal than ours. 

As special as our class becomes by the end of semester, as their teacher, I remain so excited and hopeful as to what God is going to do with their lives once they graduate.  By studying, and honestly, by letting themselves be vulnerable and share their story with each other, they have begun a new path with renewed courage and confidence.  I keep repeating this verse because it is an anthem for these moms…. “FOR GOD HAS NOT GIVEN US A SPIRIT OF FEAR, BUT OF POWER AND OF LOVE AND OF A SOUND MIND.” (2 Timothy 1:7).  There is nothing they cannot do with God working through and in them, and the end of semester is really just the beginning….

Toronto City Mission was interviewed on 100 Huntley Street in early January and one of our graduates was a part of the interview.  Click this link to hear her encouraging words for yourself!