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From Cuba to a Heart-Centred Career as a PSW for Her Son – Yadira’s Story

By February 10, 2023No Comments

Coming from Cuba, determined to make a life in Canada, Yadira followed her passion, and the example set by her loving aunt’s personal support worker (PSW), and set out to achieve her dream. Her main purpose – was to prove to her precious son, who faces his days with a disability, that absolutely anything is possible!

We are thrilled to have this extraordinary woman as part of our Anderson College family, and we were honoured to have Yadira share her powerful story with us. Undoubtedly, you too will be inspired.

Yadira arrived in Canada over 15 years ago with high hopes. She tried her hand at being a community service worker but struggled with getting a job in the field. Then COVID-19 happened, and she needed to see her son through the challenges and myriad appointments, so she focused on family for those years. After committing all of her time and energy to what needed to be done, she realized she needed to find something for herself, to find purpose in her work.

“Near the end of my aunt’s life, she had a PSW and oh, my goodness, the impact and the difference it made on my aunt’s everyday life was very inspiring to me. We need more people like that in the world. I have a passion for helping others and I realized I wanted to be that; I wanted to be there for someone else. Most of all, I really wanted to show my son that you can pretty much do anything, be anything, no matter how late in your life it is. It is never too late to follow your dreams and your passion. I wanted him to know that he can do anything and that everything is possible. I want him to be proud of me and I want to give him a better future.”

Yadira knows precisely how essential PSWs are and what it takes to be successful in this career.

“We really do need more PSWs in the world. A lot of people need love and care, and many people don’t have that. I truly want to make a positive impact on people’s lives. I want to give back to my community. Having a son with a disability, I understand the difference people like that make in another’s life. I’ve been blessed with my son, I wanted to be there for others and for them to experience the kind of love we share.”

“I understand that it does take a special person to do this job well. You have to be really compassionate and very patient, because at the end of the day it is not your family but they need the kindness you’d give to them if they were, so you really have to love what you’re doing.”

We’re fortunate that Yadira found Anderson College and joined our family in the PSW Program.

“I originally found Anderson College on the Internet and saw a lot of positive testimonials and positive feedback about your values and beliefs. This is what caught my eye. I liked how respectful and how good of an environment Anderson College was. That helped me make my decision. I wanted to be in a place where I felt respected and valued, so that’s why I chose you!”

In reflecting on her Anderson College experience in the PSW Program, Yadira had this to share.

“First of all, my instructor was amazing (her name was Jackie). She was so kind and lovely. She was so respectful. She was always willing to help if we needed it and went the extra mile for each of us to make sure that we got everything right. I came to love her very much and I absolutely loved working in a team, as I’m a team player myself. I made so many incredible friendships and after graduation we’ve remained friends.”

Yadira loved her classes and the structure and gave us some amazing insights to understand exactly why.

“I learned a lot in my class, not just about being a PSW, but about what’s going on in the world right now. And perhaps this may sound a little silly but being in this program actually makes you a better person. It made me see things at a different level, helped me understand people more. I learned a lot about how to respond to situations, how not to be judgemental and how to treat people better. I also loved the flexibility of the program. I had morning classes from 9 am to 12 pm. That was very good. Whether it’s working or taking care of someone or having kids, you know, life just gets busy. So that structure was very convenient.”

At Anderson College, we truly want our students to feel as though they’ve found a supportive and uplifting community. When we asked Yadira about her experience with our team, we were so warmed by what she had to say.

“Honestly, I had a great experience. Everybody was very respectful, willing to help and answer questions and address any concerns you may have. Everybody was very kind. For example, when I finished my placement, I emailed Brad (Bradley Derrick, Education Manager at the Hamilton campus), and he saw I needed a copy of my certificate or a letter stating that I completed my program for employment. For context, when you go work anywhere, they ask you for your diploma. I knew the certificate wasn’t ready, but I needed something that stated that I had completed my program, so I emailed him right away. The next morning, he emailed me back and the next day my paperwork was ready. I didn’t have to stress about it, there was no hassle. It was amazing! All went very smoothly and was very pleasant.”

The practicum portion of the program is essential for our students, to be able to apply all they’ve learned in a hands-on, real-world environment. Yadira shared her process and what it meant to her.

“Honestly, it’s just who I am, but I always like to be prepared and ahead of the game. So, when I started the program, I also started looking for a practicum. I would just drive the neighbourhood to find something that was close and convenient. I started doing research on the Internet, and I found a place: Kilean Lodge Long Term Care Home. I know Anderson would have helped, but I took the initiative. I just emailed and called them and told them that I was interested. They then told me to let Anderson College know and they would be in touch and do all the paperwork.” 

The work experience portion of the program is designed to empower students to apply all they’ve learned and find their niche, and discover their passion. Yadira took full advantage of it all.

“Let me tell you, my practicum was wonderful. I loved working in the field. I mean, I learned a lot in my program and when I went into my placement I was prepared. I applied what I learned in class in the field. Jackie really prepared me. A lot of what she taught us, we faced it on the job. All the books and an instructor telling you stories and relaying scenarios, the theory, is very helpful, but it’s different being able to actually do the work. So that part of the program, for me, was my favourite. Getting to work with the residents one on one, working with other PSWs and learning from them, getting all the skills you need, was terrific. The practicum really shapes you and gets you ready to work.”

“I’m so grateful for the placement I had. Everybody was so respectful and made you feel valued, like everything you did was noticed. They acknowledged hard work, and I had the most wonderful experience.”

The experience with her placement was so spectacular it led to her achieving her dream!

“Let me tell you, it was so amazing, I got a job right at my practicum. All along I received a lot of positive feedback; they seemed very happy with my work. And then, on the very last day of my placement, they called me into the office and offered me a permanent position! I’ve been happily working there ever since.

As our main goal at Anderson is to ensure our graduates are confident and in demand, we back that up with a career services team to provide practical support. We asked Yadira what that was like for her.

“The career services team contacted me and offered me help in building my resume, so that was amazing. I had it done beforehand, but it was very helpful. And I got hired, but still, it’s good to have a professional opinion. Although I took a lot of the initiative myself, I always had the feeling of support from the career services team. They also let me know that they’ll be there for me if I need assistance at any time in the future. They’re willingness to give you help is a positive. It’s not like I finished and it’s over. No, your team reaches out and it is amazing to get that support.” 

We wanted to know if and how Anderson College truly did help Yadira reach her goals and dreams. Our whole team smiled with her answer.  

“Well, let me tell you something very plain and simple, my life changed for the better in six months’ time, not just financially, but also spiritually. I feel great joy, taking care of my residents, seeing them smile. Honestly, every day warms my heart and makes me feel so fulfilled. It’s so rewarding, being there for people, caring for people knowing that you’re making your life better and making them happy. There’s no better feeling than that. I’m so excited for what the future holds because I do plan on continuing my healthcare career.”

We asked where Yadira drew determination from, the courage to take the leap …

 “Honestly, my son. My son is my strength. We had a really hard time with him before and after birth and I look at him and realize, he is my miracle. It’s proof that you can do everything; I would do anything for him, to be strong and I think he is actually my strength. And my family’s support is everything too. They were there for me, and I knew it. I felt them encouraging me, “Hey, you can do it. You have a whole team on your side. You have your family supporting you.” And you know what? It was very scary because of my being older, not having been in school since 2012 and English not being my first language. It was all very intimidating. I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. But I did it. That’s what I’m saying, you have to get up and do it. Put your mind to it. You really don’t know how strong and how capable you are. Once I started, it got easier for me. I was able to do it and I’m very proud of myself. I graduated with honours and for me, that’s a big accomplishment and I will take that with me forever.”

We asked what else Yadira may want to share with you and she had this wonderful little story to add.

“I went to the store recently after I left work. I still had my scrubs on, and I forgot to take my nametag off that says, “personal support worker”. As I moved to the front of the line, the cashier stopped and said to me: “Oh my God, thank you so much for your hard work. Thank you. I’m so grateful. Thank you for all you do.”

“Tears sprang to my eyes because it just felt so amazing. Hearing that was so powerful, so incredibly rewarding. You just feel deeply fulfilled. You feel like a better person. You feel like you’re doing something good for this world.”

Yadira’s pure joy and advice for other students is beautiful and extraordinary …

“I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity. I am so grateful that I found Anderson College and decided to do it.”

“And, I do have advice for future students:
Don’t give up on your dreams or your goals. Anything is possible. You can be anything you want to be if you put your mind to it and if you work hard. No matter how old you are. I mean I’m older right? I’m 38 years old and if I can do it, you can! It’s never too late and in the end, all the sacrifice, the late night studying, it will all be worth it.”

“I’m so happy and I want my son, when he’s able to read, to go on your website and see the article about Mommy and what Mommy did. I’m so grateful to you all. So thank you Anderson College, from the bottom of my heart.”

You have every reason to be so proud Yadira. Thank YOU for choosing Anderson
College and allowing us to be a part of your incredible life’s journey. And thank you for sharing your story with us. We cannot wait for your son to read it either.

To all your dreams continuing to be made real. No doubt you make this world a better place Yadira!

~ Your Anderson Family

After reading Yadira’s story are you inspired to explore your future, passionate career?

If you’re still looking to see how you can align your interests with your work, take the “Anderson College Career Training Readiness Quiz”. If you’re ready to start your career today, explore our 30+ programs, or book a virtual appointment to speak with an admissions advisor.

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