Halfway through nursing school, Bernadette White found herself as a single mom struggling financially, despite excelling academically. When she was no longer able to cover her living expenses, let alone tuition, she turned to Halton Region’s Ontario Works for help.
Bernadette was referred to employment supports, where she met with caseworker Karen Snozok.
Karen was able to help Bernadette continue in school through the region’s Skills Development Training Fund, which provides Ontario Works recipients access to training opportunities that have strong employment outcomes.
Ontario Works was also able to make a childcare referral for Bernadette’s son so that he was in a licensed facility while she was in school, as well as help cover costs of things like books and transportation.
With Ontario Work’s assistance and a lot of hard work on her part, Bernadette was able to successfully complete her program. Upon graduating, she was fortunate enough to land a job as a Registered Practical Nurse at a nursing home.
“I love getting up and going to work,” she says. “And I love working with older adults. They have so much to teach you.”
Bernadette is now a unit supervisor at the nursing home, where she’s in charge of 30 residents a day. She’s responsible for overseeing the tasks of the personal support workers on her floor, along with doing assessments and general care of residents. Despite her busy schedule, she still makes time to keep in touch with Karen, who is definitely impressed with how far she’s come.
“She certainly has determination that you don’t see every day,” says Karen. “She had a lot of roadblocks, but she just kept going, and everything she set out to do, she did.”
Bernadette attributes her success to her own perseverance, but also says there’s no way she could have done it without the assistance she received.
“It wasn’t always easy studying and travelling with the little one and being by myself,” she says. “But a lot of it I do say came from Ontario Works – they really did support and help me.”
Today, Bernadette is financially independent from Ontario Works, with her sights set high on furthering her career – she hopes to get her Registered Nursing degree in the near future so she can continue to advance in a field she says couldn’t be more perfect for her.
“Not only did I find a career,” she says, “but I found that I had a passion for it. And there’s nothing better than finding something to do, but knowing that you love it.”