Learner Stories

Trish’s Story

Trish’s Story

I did the Power Up program in 2015. I was just starting out on a journey to know what abilities I had.  It wasn’t easy but it was worth it.  Power Up definitely helped with my confidence and I met several people who would be part of my life in the days to come, helping me become the best person I can be. 

Sometimes a life of dysfunction makes it hard for a person to find their way, to believe they belong, to believe they are important. The facilitators in Power Up never gave up on me. 

I started WESLinks at the Learning Exchange in September 2020. It’s safe to say that I had no idea what I was going to do with my life at that time.  We were in a pandemic, I was not working and I had not worked for a long time. I was feeling very defeated in all areas of my life. Depression had taken over and I had lost all hope that I was ever going to be a part of society again, let alone work.

The WES Links program was 12 weeks. During this time I started to feel better. I was a part of a class that had woken me up. I was working with other people who were different than myself, some older, some younger, and some from different countries. We were building a foundation of trust and friendship through the projects and activities we were doing together. 

I graduated from WESLinks in December 2020 and I moved on to Worklinks.  I received the support I needed from my workforce coach to start looking for a job that would be right for me. 

In February I was approached about a possible training option that would allow me to work in the Worklinks department. I learned how to use the photo copier, scan files, load paper and change the ink. I learned the art of data entry, making sure the information is accurate and done in a timely manner. I also covered the front desk twice a week and learned how to use the computer to look up clients. I booked appointments over the phone and helped anyone coming in to the Learning Exchange.

I enjoyed waking up every day and coming to work. I loved the people I was working with and the learners that came in every day. It’s amazing to watch the learner’s confidence grow, seeing how they too have started to build their foundation and trust in each other. Everything came full circle! 

As my training was nearing its end I was hired as a permanent full-time employee of the SJLE. My title is Administrative Assistant.

I can’t tell you how much my outlook has changed on my life. Nothing is perfect and the struggles are still real, however having a job that you love is having a purpose. It’s feeling like you’ve spent your whole life waiting for this moment. When you’ve always felt not good enough, finally a door opens and that feeling starts to change. I’m paying my own bills and rent and I have not received an income assistance cheque since May 2021. 

The Saint John Learning Exchange and all of the employees have made this part of my journey one of the most memorable experiences in my life. I am truly grateful for this job and the people here at the Learning Exchange.

More Learner Stories

Shelley’s Story

About a year ago, I was referred to the Power Up program by Social Development. My favorite part was the expectation that we were responsible to be there. I treated it like a job. I got up in the morning, got my coffee ready and went. One of the topics that really stuck with me was on joy. I had not considered the idea that you could be happy for the sake of being happy. I wanted to find my happiness. Since then, I have taken WEN’s Self-Esteem course. This came at the perfect time in my life because I had just left an abusive relationship. The support of everyone there kept me going. I got my power back. I am currently taking the Stress Management course. I’ve become even more involved in the Learning Exchange. I graduated from WESLinks before Christmas and am now enrolled in WorkLinks. My son and I are planning to host a cultural workshop and talking circle so the learners can discover more about First Nations. I’m excited to give back. When you walk into the building, you feel like you are coming home. Everyone there is working together to help you. You put your mind to it, you commit, and you will get what you want out of the programs.

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Dawn’s Story

I was aging out of the school system, so my husband’s social worker suggested I go to the Learning Exchange because they could help me get my GED. I went more than once to see what would work for me and that never seemed to matter. In 2019, I went back to WorkLinks because I got tired of living on the system. I took all nine workshops of the Soft Skills training. They also helped me find an internship with the United Way. 

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Sam’s Story

Sam discusses how she overcame barriers with the support she received in women's empowerment programming.

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