Anna Dagenais, Crisis intervener, Montfort Hospital: My name is Anna Dagenais and I am a crisis intervener since 2005. I work for the Montfort Hospital.

I’m from St-Hyacinthe.

I left because I was a victim of domestic violence. I had to leave the region.

I had no resources: no apartment, no furniture. I had my daughter Maude with me.

When we arrived in the region, we stayed in a women’s shelter.

So that’s how I started here in Hawkesbury.

And there was another side to me: I had an addiction problem.

I consumed drugs and alcohol, and when I got here, I had been clean for three months.

So my mindset was: “I can’t consume anymore and I want to rebuild my life … but how?”

Julie Normand, Case worker, Ontario Works, L’Orignal Office: Anna arrived at our office, she needed help, and she would say it openly.

She wanted more out of life, she had goals. That’s when we were able to help her.

Anna: I went back to school, I got a certificate in computer science to complete my high school diploma.

They also helped me with a « community start-up ». When you live in a shelter, then you need your own apartment.

You need furniture. So, they gave me money for furniture, and so that I may find myself a small apartment.

And I went back to school in Adult Education.

I studied correctional services at la Cité Collégiale in Ottawa.

Ontario Works paid for my schooling.

Julie: My ultimate goal at work is to help people get what they want. To help them get out of a difficult situation.

I am proud of Anna. She accomplished an extraordinary feat, and I am certain she will continue.

Anna: So all that combined together — having positive people around you, people that encourage you: “You can do it! You can do anything you want in life!”, that is priceless.