Kelly* wants to raise her daughter to be a strong and independent woman. She is certainly intent on being a great role model. The single mom left an abusive partner several years ago.
“I realized that staying together for the sake of remaining a family was harming Chloe rather than helping,” she said. “I had to show her that I was capable of breaking the cycle of domestic abuse.”
In 2010 Kelly moved to Victoria where she now works part-time as a barista and is also pursuing full-time studies so she can make a better life for herself and Chloe. She receives help from BC Housing’s Rental Assistance Program and, in September, she also received a 2014 Minerva Foundation Award, one of the awards administered by the agency’s Education Awards Program.
“I was absolutely elated,” said Kelly, who recently completed the Indigenous Business Leadership (IBL) program at Camosun College and is now taking a prep year before transferring to UVic. “My goal is its Indigenous Governance Masters program. I want to work in a field where I can bring positive change and assist my people.”
During her IBL studies, Kelly and another student partnered with the Victoria Native Friendship Centre to run a self-image and coming-of-age workshop for teenage Aboriginal women. Her motivation was Chloe, who is also a teenager. In the words of her former instructor, the workshop was well-received and brightened the self-esteem of a dozen young women, emboldened the female Elders, and met a niche within the community that is currently not being served.
“My daughter and my education are important to me,” said Kelly. “I have clear and realistic goals for myself and the kind of change I want to bring to the world. It’s an amazing feeling to see how far I’ve come in my life.”
Applications for BC Housing’s Education Awards Program are available from January to April each year.
*Names have been changed.