[ Ontario Works Office
Sarnia, Ontario ]

Cecilia Dickson, Supervisor, Ontario Works : I met Stephanie a few years back. She had come into Ontario Works to apply. She came on as a sole-support parent with two children.

And so she was in need obviously of the financial support. But at that point she had a goal in mind — she wanted to return back to school to become a nurse.

And with the additional resources that we were able to give her, it allowed her to have that time to go and get the education that she needed.

Stephanie Vandevenne, Manager, Victorian Order of Nurses : My plan was to be able to support me and the kids on my own, and so that’s what I came to Ontario Works for – was to get help to be able to do that.

There were funds at the time: help with back-to-school costs and bus passes, help with childcare.

Even just those little bits could make such a huge difference.

I’m currently in a management position at the Victorian Order of Nurses.

I manage three programs — so I manage nurses, occupational therapists and our new chronic pain program.

If I didn’t have Ontario Works, I definitely would not be where I am today.

If you are going to use Ontario Works, use it with a purpose. Put a plan in place. Go there and say, ‘okay I need help for now, but this is what I’m going to do to help the situation.’

Cecilia : What we have to look at in this story is not what Ontario Works did for her, but what she did with Ontario Works and how she utilized all our services.

She chose her path to success. She did this; this is her true success story.