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“My Courageous Moment” Story Contest

At Anderson, we are constantly inspired by the courage displayed by our students, faculty and staff.

This year, we want to celebrate YOU, your courage, your strength, the moments that have defined your life and the people who have motivated you to overcome and succeed.

Thank you, Anderson students and staff, for sharing your stories, what a great way to wrap up 2021!

To read each story, please click on the “+” button, happy reading!

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, most of us did not expect to be working from home for so long (going on 20 months now). Like many people around the world, including our students, working from home was an entirely new experience for me. As time went on, I adjusted, and soon embraced my new ‘office’ at home. To be honest, in the beginning, I did not know how long I would be able to work from home without any physical interaction from colleagues and students. Luckily for me, my role at the Message Centre allows me to connect and be in touch with students daily.

One of my proudest accomplishments in life was discovered during COVID-19, when I took on the role to conduct the weekly Microsoft Teams training. I never knew I had it in me to teach anything (let alone online and to people I had only met an hour before). The first few live sessions were nerve-wracking, as I did not have any previous public speaking experience. To my surprise, after a few sessions, my confidence grew. I found a new opportunity that allowed me to connect with new students weekly. Also, it is extremely gratifying to prepare them to engage with technology before their classes began.

‘Courage’ to me, means trying something new even though it scares you – to be bold and to take the unknown steps in front of you. This is what I see with Anderson College students. Our students come from far and wide, from different backgrounds and cultures, with a common goal to better themselves even in the midst of a global pandemic. Most are brand new to the country, have language barriers, have lost jobs, and arrive with little to no experience with online learning. That takes Courage.

Never give up on your dream! Always keep the faith and remember that better days lie ahead. Lastly, remember to be brave and courageous!


I came to Canada as a permanent resident, within the under-skilled worker program, with my four-year-old child, just the two of us, in August 2019. I began working at Kumon teaching a newcomer program called "Women in Technology" from ACCES Employment, as I'm an Engineer with 9 years of experience in the IT industry. Having no relatives here and few friends, I had bad experiences living in shared accommodations with a child. I had a very difficult time managing caring for my child while also working at Kumon. This was due to the lack of daycare support while I was working until 9:00 pm at night.

In December of 2019, I had no choice but to take my child back to my home country and then come back in March 2020 to attend my first job fair. This is where I encountered Anderson College’s program "Cardiology Technologist". I was excited to know more about it as I always wanted to be a Cardiologist; I knew heart attacks were the number one cause of death all over the world and I always wanted to work in healthcare and save lives. However, due to religious beliefs, my mother did not allow me to study medicine, instead she forced me to study engineering. When I spoke to Anderson’s Admissions Advisor, Judith Freidman, she let me know the program was not specifically for IT people, but for those interested in technology in the medical field. I explained to her about my dream of becoming a doctor, especially a Cardiologist and how interested I was. I added that I used to always volunteer at software companies as an Emergency Response team member and educated everyone I could about heart attacks and their symptoms. I convinced Judith I was a good fit, as I had good grades throughout my studies. Later, I was selected for the course.

Before being accepted into the program, I had got two job offers from software companies. All my friends and family were against me leaving a high-paying software job to take up this course as it would not pay me as much as an IT job. However, my sister supported me. So, after several days of research and thinking, I decided to join the Cardiology Technologist program, to start a new career even though I had a lot of weighing responsibilities. This decision, I feel, is "My Courageous Moment" as I believe, God will show a way when we have good intentions and want to pursue our dreams with hard work. Finally, after 1.5 years, I successfully completed the course and started my practicum. I am really enjoying my work helping patients, with a smile and positivity. I thank Ms. Heather Peart and Anderson College for giving me a great opportunity to pursue my dreams.

The inspiring idea I’d like to leave those reading with is… Never give up on your dreams; there will always be a way to pursue your dreams and there is no age limit to educate yourself and upgrade your skills. So always stay positive and hopeful. One day, you will get an opportunity to fulfill your dreams. Good Luck everyone!

Tell us about a moment(s) in the past year(s) that defined you, a time when you courageously chose to take action in your life, even when it was difficult, for yourself and/or your loved ones. And how did it change your life for the better? (300 words minimum – 450 words maximum)

2020 is a memorable moment for me because that's the year when life for everyone changed. I have been teaching the Personal Support Worker (PSW) course for the last 18 years at Anderson College. I have a very deep loyalty towards this college because I feel counted, valued, respected, appreciated and supported. I can always reach out to management or my co-workers, and they are always ready to give positive encouragement and suggestions to solve a problem. Teaching future PSWs has been a joy. I have deep respect and awe for these students who successfully complete the course and go on to work in the community. I always remind my students that they are the most important member of any health care team. To be a PSW you have to have knowledge but, more importantly, you need heart. The lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult for many reasons. It was not easy being isolated from friends, family, work, students, and community. Things that had been taken for granted were suddenly gone. How the pandemic directly impacted everyone we knew, being in a vulnerable age group, and the uncertainty about how we would pull through was stressful and frightening at times. But, in an unexpected way, the pandemic gave me the opportunity to learn things that I never thought I could tackle. Out of necessity, I had to learn new technology and adapt to a different way of teaching. But in doing so, I was able to meet more students, teach them at different campuses, hear talented professional speakers and specialists in education, and speak with IT specialists who supported and guided me on how to navigate the programs. Meeting everyone virtually has been a truly amazing and productive experience. I have been able to run three or four classes a day (for a total of 40 to 50 students) for four different campuses. Something that I was not able to do - let alone dream of – prior to COVID-19. Meeting and teaching students from different backgrounds and cultures has been a blessing. I've not only learned from them, but they have given me a better understanding of their struggles and hardships. Despite their challenges, they've persevered. It is my wish that they go on to deliver quality care and make peoples' lives better. That is my hope and reward as an instructor. In addition, 2020 also enabled me to be mindful and resilient. It is not easy to adapt to massive life changes. and the pandemic has been (and continues to be) heart-breaking for so many. But, out of that adversity has come resourcefulness and gratitude.

I hope my story is relatable and gives hope to people who have faced adversity.


I courageously chose to take action for myself, for my family, and come to Canada to build a better life for all of us. It began when I was 19 in 2002; I had my first child named Ainna while I was living in Africa. My father threw me out of the house before I could give birth to my baby out of wedlock. I was living in the streets with a newborn baby for months before I met a nice lady who took me in as a live-in maid. I used to clean her house with my child on my back. Luckily, since food and shelter were already provided to us by her, I was always able to save the money she paid me, But, in 2010 my boss died in a car accident, and I was told that my services would no longer be needed by her family.

At that time, I was in a relationship with a nice guy and I was pregnant again, with my second child. As you can imagine, things are so hard in Africa. I had asked him if we could go out into the world and find greener pastures, build a better life together. He refused and, in that moment, I knew he couldn’t take care of all of us. So, I told him I was going to Canada with or without him. I didn’t have enough money to travel with my daughter and I was already 8-months pregnant with my next child by then. So, my friend told me she could live with my daughter and care for her for a while, while I did my best to build a new life for us in Canada. My daughter and I were both so sad, but I was doing it for us. I just had to.

In 2011, I left for Canada with only enough money to just pay for my flight. Thankfully, everything went well, and I arrived at the Toronto airport. I was so tired and hungry. I was wearing a big jacket, so my pregnancy wouldn’t show. They didn’t notice the whole way, and my country is 30 hours away from Toronto so you can imagine what I had to go through. I claimed refugee status as soon as I arrived and was living in a shelter for two months with a newborn who was just a month old. The little allowance that was given to me had to be shared not only with my baby but with the lady who was caring for my older daughter back home. It was hard. A month later I got a room to rent. I still had to do everything necessary for my refuge claim case, with the lawyer, legal aid etc. So, I didn’t even have enough money for a stroller; I used to carry my newborn in a sling on my tummy. I was always tired, but I had to be strong. I was all alone in a country where I knew nobody. Everything was on me.

To make a very long and challenging story short, it took immigration 8 years to give me status. Somehow, we made it through and today my daughter is finally here with me, and we are together. I have since had two more children and we are okay now while I am pursuing studies at Anderson College. Although it has been so difficult to get to here, I am continuing to give my kids a better and a happier life. All of it, it’s what I had to do, for myself and for my family.

The moral of my story, the inspiration I hope to offer to others, is …

There’s no mountain too big to claim.
Aim for the top and leave everything else in God’s hands.

A moment of courage that defined me this year was when I had to go back to India for a short 14-day trip. Suddenly there was a serious outbreak and an unprecedented spread of Coronavirus cases in Delhi. Just two days before my flight was scheduled to travel from Delhi back to Toronto, there was a complete lockdown of the entire Indian state.

Due to this serious situation, the Canadian government banned all direct flights coming from India. I was really stressed, as I couldn’t go back home and take a test that I had been working so hard to prepare for, one that would take my career to the next level. I had no other choice but to reschedule my flight to a later date when the boarder would reopen. However, I did not know when the flights would be rescheduled, when I could go back to Canada. I felt so helpless, and I was so far away that I could not do anything. I was scrambling to find a way home. The stress was piling up, and I didn’t have any clear answers for anything. My career just got stuck in the middle, or before it even got started.

Then I made up my mind and decided to see if I could try my test from India. I explained my dire situation to the exam authorities, and due to my exceptional circumstances, they allowed me to take the test online from India. While this was going on, the COVID-19 virus was spreading just like a fire in my city and there were hundreds of people dying every day. During this serious outbreak in the city, I also contracted the COVID-19 virus. It was a challenging time for me to recover, as my health continued to deteriorate. I was recovering slowly, everyone told me to defer my exam to a later date, but I decided not to. I was struck by the pandemic so hard, but I kept it going.

I overcame my fear and believed that I could still write my exam even when I was not feeling 100 percent myself. I kept studying, reading my books and notes whenever my health spared me. I took a chance and kept working hard, even when the odds were not at all in my favour. I believed in myself and kept telling myself, "Yes, you can still do this!"

Finally, I tried my exam online from India. A few months later, flights resumed back to Canada. I reached home safely and within just two weeks of arriving back in Canada, I got my results. I had passed my exam! It was a life-changing moment for me. I courageously chose to take action even when it was very difficult, for myself and my entire family. My dream came true, and now I am currently in the process of getting my Immigration License!

The inspiration I hope to offer to others with my story is to keep working hard even when the odds do not seem, at all, to be in your favour. Don't lose hope and always believe in yourself; don't give up. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Here we are, one and half years since COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic. The past year has been tremendously challenging, each time we check our phones, a headline seems to send a current of energy rushing through us. “The virus is spreading, markets are crashing, and schools are closing down.”

March 25, 2020, I received a call that our college would be closed, and I was laid off. I said, “Shoot, what am I going to do?’’ I knew it was bad news. Everything and everyone seemed to stop, except essential jobs and those workplaces. Luckily, I was working part-time at Shoppers Drug Mart. It was not easy, and the risk was great, however I needed to face my fears and have the courage to keep on going.

One day, it was pouring rain outside. During my meditation, ‘blessed’ rain fell (I reminded myself that it was ‘blessed’, to remain focused on the good in the midst of the current situation). I thought of my relatives back home in the Philippines; one of them tested COVID-19 positive and had been quarantined. I could feel the shiver of fear and uncertainty move though my heart and limbs. I let it be there, without turning away, without tightening or spinning worst-case scenarios in my mind. I became aware of the space around me, the drops of water touching the earth outside. With each breath, allowing myself to feel the fear, it slowly started to melt. My family was devastated hearing the bad news back home however we found the courage to face the challenges that life had thrown us. We prayed and shifted our mindset from darkness of worry to the light of hope.

We conquer our fears and take control our emotions by learning to deal with life's uncertainties. It takes courage to turn towards what’s happening. This is possible. It’s available for each one of us. And when we can meet our own life with courage, we have more discernment, more compassion, and more gifts to share with others. It takes courage to be with things as they are. Prayers and meditation teach us how to turn toward and be with the truth of each moment - pleasant or painful. When there’s pain, hardship or discomfort our hard-wired tendencies are to resist, to fight it, to look for someone to blame, to turn and run the other way, or to just shut off altogether and avoid it.

September 2021, I was back to the campus. Every day I push myself to face greater challenges, traveling by bus/subway and I take the heightened risk to be a person who will greet our students as they come for their practical classes. Generally, being a hero is essentially defined as showing bravery in the midst of chaos. However, courage is not all about the glamour and attention one gets from being seen as a hero. I believe it’s truly about taking brave action.

This pandemic will soon be history. Let's take this opportunity to work on ourselves by controlling what we can and can't accept. Embrace the innumerable hidden blessings that await us. To sustain that courage, we need to be mindful of our outlook towards life no matter what is happening outside.

Each day starts for me with my normal morning routine but throughout the day something new always transpires. It may be particularly eventful; really, it’s just a bagful of surprises. I work in a long-term care facility. I feel fulfilled each day knowing that I have done my best to enrich the lives of the seniors who are in my care.

One unforgettable day transformed and moved me emotionally, to the core. Who knew that at 2:45 p.m. that day I would experience death for the first time in my life?

I walked down the hallway of the unit, about to carry out my duties, when I was approached by a nurse who just exited a resident’s room. She was evidently stressed and overwhelmed. She immediately said to me, “Please, I cannot, please go in the room and stay with her, she has no family.” With that, the nurse walked away red-faced and tearful.

I did not know what I was walking into. I was three weeks new on the job, getting my bearings. I knocked on the door, completed my hand hygiene, waited briefly to hear a reply but there was none. I entered the room, introducing myself, and immediately could hear labored, shallow, noisy breathing. The patient in the room was very pale, her eyes were glassy; I could tell she was actively dying. I froze in my steps. I was shocked. This was my first time experiencing someone dying. I wanted to back up, out into the hallway, as fast as I could, but instead my legs were taking me towards her. I felt deep compassion for her. The compassion strengthened into courage, in an instant. My thoughts were, “No one should die alone.”

I sat down at her bedside and held her hand. I saw a Bible on her bedside table, leaving me to believe she must be a Christian. I let go of her hand, just for a moment, as I searched for an appropriate piece of scripture. I read the 23rd Psalm to her, then I sang the hymns that I could remember.

They say that your hearing is the last to go in the dying process. I did not want her last moments to be empty and alone. I did not know what to say to her, so I sang. I held her hand as if holding her hand was the bridge to keep her in the land of the living. I didn’t know I had the courage to do this, but it was there deep inside me. That courage kept me together emotionally, kept me from breaking down in tears, and strengthened me to be there for her in her last moments of life. Her name was Mary.

I want to inspire others to be present in every moment they encounter and give residents the care they so deeply deserve. Be courageous, do your best to give your all, confidently and with strength.

I would like to share the reason for my journey to here, and what happened that brought me to Anderson College. I had been working in the restaurant industry for over 20 years. Back in January of 2020, I was coming off a 90-hour work week and had been doing 70-to-90-hour weeks even before that. I had two serious seizers and I had to quit my job, which led me to go in search of a new career. But I decided, until I was able to get my license back, I would go to work for a friend in the restaurant industry as an Assistant Manager. Who would think something like the pandemic we faced would ever happen?

I worked for a month then was let go because ownership couldn’t afford my salary. Luckily, I was able to access the government funding because I was let go. I was brought back in May of 2020, and then by June was let go again because the restaurant couldn’t open the dinning room again. I decided it was time for me to make a real change. I didn’t find anything until the government started to give funding to people in industries that are essentially needed.

Back in February 2021, I reached out to Anderson College to originally get information about the Medical Technician program. I was speaking with Karen Mete, and she mentioned to me about a new program called Occupational Health and Safety. This interested me because of the situation that I went through within the restaurant industry, and I knew it definitely needed a change.

This was the best decision I had made in years.

I did have more ups and downs during my start of the school year. Both my grandparents died within the first 5 months. But when they where around, they didn’t like me being in the industry I was in, and they were very happy I was making a change. My grandmother was very interested in me going back to school.

I have had a great school year so far. I have been getting great grades and love the class I am in. I’ve received so much help, and support in needing extra time because I struggle with dyslexia and a learning disability. I’ve always struggled in school this way, but before now extra help was not an option. I thank my instructor for how understanding she is and willing to help when she realizes I am struggling with a subject.

Thank you for allowing me to tell you about my time of the past two years. I am not a person who likes to talk about myself but thought it was good to share my belief that anyone can leave an industry they are unhappy in, even though it can be scary. It is never too late.

I would like to think, that at my age of 45, school can be right the choice for everyone for anyone. Even though it was a scary decision to opt for the change.
It was a good choice and look where I am now.

There will always be one point, one defining moment, that will change your direction in life. You might think that you finally understand the meaning of life or, you might think that you’ve got your life all sorted out. But there is this one unforeseen strike that could change everything. It might make you feel like the world is against you; you might feel like your dreams may just not be meant for you or, you might feel like you are on a battlefield alone and fighting against every problem. But every pain, every disappointment, every battle scar, means you tried.

My life didn’t start in this country. I moved, not even wanting to go because I already had my future planned out and I was in the process of reaching it. Moving was like the system crashing in a game and completely resetting everything, even though I’d gone so far. But I still wanted to continue playing the game. I showed up without knowing more than half of what I was doing or what I was to be doing next. I had no direction, no plan, nothing, just me. For some reason, me being alone on a battlefield unarmed was useful. I got to see myself and focus on myself because I only have me.

What I chose as a career goal today was completely unexpected. The only thing that I was sure about before this was that I’m not passionate about any medical course so I could never be a doctor, nurse or dentist. However, there was a sudden strike in my head that said, “Just look.” See the opportunities. See how my personality would fit in this profession. See how happy I can be with this job. I know myself and, I knew that I loved helping people. I knew that I loved solving problems, and I knew that I could learn anything I put my time and effort toward. After seeing myself, I saw the place around me then, I saw what this place needs, then I saw what I can do to help this place. These changes made me feel more eager to continue my life with this new goal.

I am happy where I am now and, I am happy that it changed because otherwise I would never have realized what I can do that is best for me and best for others. I know that there could be another huge strike in my life. It is possible that it could break me again but, it is also possible that it would help me to achieve my goal. Whatever it is, I know that I'm going to stand on that battlefield and say that I am ready.

No matter what bad happens you can make something good out of it, if you just look.

I am going to take you back to a time when I was a kid. This is my story.

My parents were separated, my mom had remarried. My mom is amazing and loving but my biological dad on the other hand, he was what you call a monster. He was abusive to me in every way you think is possible. He let me know I was not worth much and he would stop me from seeing my mom, stepdad, and youngest brother. Finally, after two years of hell, and by hell I mean that me and my siblings went into foster care, (which was still ok, until we got separated for two years in the system). My mom and stepdad fought for us kids and finally won. But I didn’t want to be home; I had all these lies still in my head believing I could not make it far in life.

Now I’m a 29-year-old mom with five amazing kids. I ended up splitting up with their dad and was raising my kids well. I was on the computer one day and saw an Anderson College advertisement. For a while I thought I wouldn’t reach out, couldn’t make it, but then something clicked in me, and I knew I had to prove my dad wrong. That’s when it finally hit me, and I knew I had to message Anderson College. I am so glad I did, because with that decision I also realized that I was smart, and I really could make it. I proved to myself that I didn’t need to be the way my dad told me I was.

Now, I am at the end of my course and my family is all proud of me. I also got back with my kids’ dad because I was willing to actually trust love for once in my life. I’m not scared to let people love me and I can love them back. I wouldn’t have gotten this far in life without my mom, stepdad, siblings, kids and most of all Anderson College and all my amazing teachers.

Life may be hard, and you may not know what to do but remember, sometimes life throws hardballs at us to encourage us, so we can prove we are strong. We can get thrown into anything and come out on the other side. Never give up and remember you are always loved, even by people you don’t know, so just smile!

I am Aswini, from India and I am here to share the most courageous moments in my life. I know everyone has had their daring moments; I’ve had mine too. I am from a small village, where you cannot freely make your own choices without the interference of others to decide for your life. The most important moment, my first ever courageous moment was to choose higher studies. Everyone suggested me to study Engineering because my parents were biased towards this profession. But I wanted to study something else which would have been unique in my village and useful to others. I always had love white coat (doctors coat), so I researched a lot and found some courses like Biotechnology, Agriculture, Biochemistry, Physiotherapy and so on. Everyone commented and said this wasn’t a profession that was appropriate for village girls like me. Finally, I decided to become a Physiotherapist. Many of my relatives made fun of me, they said I wouldn’t finish this degree as it’s too difficult, but I strongly believed in myself and joined the course anyway. It’s a four and half year course that I completed with 92%. I always want to help others, so I selected Physiotherapy as my profession. If you want success, you have to work hard. No one will be there for you except yourself so you must believe in yourself. Now, I started to learn English, for me it’s a courageous moment because in my hometown we didn’t speak English, so I couldn’t speak fluently. But now, I believe that I will become fluent. I’m an introvert so I can’t talk to people which was the main reason I joined Anderson College. Thanks for this opportunity to let me share my experience.

Don’t give importance to other’s opinion. You are the one who understands yourself and your passion better. It’s more important to believe in yourself. I believe in hard work other than smart work and fortune.

Just like the rest of the world, I was shocked and frightened at the onset of COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic changed multiple lifestyles of work, entertainment and every walk of life. As IT Help Desk employees, I took the responsibility of sending our 1500+ employees for work from home with my team. We completed this task (Business Continuity Plan) within five days. We got complaints about work interruption, issues like re-imaging systems and other break and fix things from work from home employees. We took the services of shipment companies and started visiting offices on control environments with required sops (office visit picture is being attached). We received desktops, laptops and make them workable again with limited resources and courier them back to the employees. After that it was a lockdown, I will not go in detail as it was the worst time. This worst time gave me the opportunity to recalibrate my skills all the way from field job to work from home. The movement of assets (IT Equipment) through couriers gave me an idea to pursue a diploma or degree. On April 14, 2020, this thought was further fuelled by the emergence of Amazon's ability to provide commodities to people even in a halt world (when Amazon stock hit a new all time high during unprecedented demand). I started searching to establish my skills in such way that could help humanity in a better way. Luckily, I found Supply Chain and Logistics program at Anderson College. Later, I secured admission even though it was very difficult to take decision during such uncertain and ambiguous times due to travelling during pandemic. I am considering this blessing in disguise as along with my profession, I would be able to innovate and establish new techs with the mixture of IT and supply chain and logistics for the prosperity of mankind and ease in working ways.

There is always a room to learn new skills in our life.

My name is Biljana Ognenova, a former resident of Macedonia. This passage is about the bravest thing I have done. My bravest moment was moving to Canada. Moving was emotional, and a big challenge, but not just for me. The decision to move was made by me and my husband soon after we got married in 2007. We wanted to start a new life in Canada, a better life for the both of us. Saying goodbye to all my friends and family was very difficult and sorrowful. It was the same for my husband, except the only difference was that his mother had already been in Canada for four years, and that made things just a bit easier for him. I will never forget when we were at the airport, saying goodbye to my family; everyone had tears in their eyes.

When we arrived in Canada, my husband’s mother was waiting for us at the airport, and she took us to our temporary home. She was very nice, and I already felt like she was my second mom, but I still missed everyone for a long time after that. Our temporary home was at our aunt’s house because we didn’t have enough money to buy a house yet. My first job was cleaning offices, and my husband's first job was as a security guard. I didn’t speak English at all, so after a couple of months in Canada I started to go to English classes. I didn’t enjoy my English classes very much because I was too shy to speak. In the end, I gave up on those classes for two years. During that time, I was able to reflect on my mistake. I realized that I needed to speak English because it would make everything easier for me. I started the classes again and continued them for three years. I attended in the morning and worked in the evening. Also, just by living in Canada I was able to learn about the diverse cultures and the country itself. Eventually, it all became normal and part of my daily life. It felt good to move on, to close the little gap that had been open for so long.

Fast forward to November of 2021, where everything is going amazingly well. We have a house, we have a daughter named Evgenija, who’s 10, and two conures (birds). I currently work in a hospital and my husband works for the City of Toronto. Moving to Canada required a lot of bravery, but I would never call it a mistake, and in the end, we found what we were looking for.

I hope that others can relate to my experience and find the courage to do whatever it takes to achieve their own dreams.

On the drive home from my mom’s, the traffic slowed, and the cars were honking. My daughter said, “Mom! There’s a man in the middle of the road! Look mom! What is he doing there?”. We were cautious about how we responded in front our child, who believed in magic fairies and glitter dust, superhero’s wearing capes, and unicorns.

The man in the red jacket stood facing the busy traffic. His facial expression was of great sadness and desperation. Years prior, a car hit me, so my senses were going off saying “Danger!” For years, I avoided busy roads and traffic. But, for some reason, this time – I had to go. In the road. In the traffic. Right now.
The man said to me, “Go home lady, this isn’t your battle!”.
He had something tucked into his jacket. It was a puppy!
I introduced myself but he did not answer.
“I’m not leaving you. What could be so bad that you are choosing to end both of your lives?” He did not answer.
I shared some of my difficult moments in life with him, times when I too wondered ‘What’s the point of being here on earth?’
I said, “My friend, I’m here with you. I just lost a loved one to cancer. I escaped a very violent relationship; I have no job, no food in my fridge. I have no way to pay my rent. I am here with you. I understand that life presents us with moments that we do not want, moments that seem impossible to overcome. However, we MUST accept them anyways. This is MY path, like your path…. None of which belongs on this very road. Please sit with me over there?”
Surprisingly, he walked with me off the road. He fell on the grass and began to cry; his sorrowful cries and tears spoke volumes. I could hear the police sirens in the distance and exhaled. I did not want to leave him. The officers approached us and began talking to the man in the red jacket.
As I walked away, he yelled “Brigitte!” I turned around and said “Yes?” The man replied, “Brigitte is my puppy’s new name”.

Courage. It is not about magic fairies and glitter dust, superhero’s wearing capes or sadly, unicorns. Courage is within each of us; it shines through even when we are frightened. The man in the red jacket motivated me to overcome my own ordeals, confront danger and not allow uncertainty to run my life. The man in the red jacket had courage too. He had the courage to walk with me, off the road. He had the courage to face uncertainty and get help. We all have courage.

I hope that this story will encourage others to help others, no matter what our own struggles are, to stand together and face uncertainty and fear and make the choice to confront agony and sometimes even intimidation … with Courage.

I am a PSW Hybrid program student and would like to share about my success story with this program. At the beginning, it was really hard because I couldn’t secure the computer from Anderson College in time. I couldn’t open my module in time and that got me frustrated. On top of that I wasn’t familiar with the module system. Also, English is not my first language. As a result, I was lagging behind and I couldn’t finish my module till the last minute. I failed one exam. I wanted to abandon my course. I told my father and my friends, “I have so much stress. I want to discontinue my course.” Everyone told me, no you can do it. Fortunately, I had a very good instructor, Gloria, she is so kind with a smiling face. At times, she would make jokes during classes which would help my stress disappear. I sent my father to my sister’s house because I had to take care of my father while doing my studies. It was difficult to look after him even though he was hopeful about my course. Since then, I reduced cooking food and indulged in unhealthy food while studying from morning to midnight. Sometimes, I felt, it was too much and I would get crazy. But then I started getting more marks which made me very happy as my final mark was 99%. Can you imagine? Now I am getting practice in long term care. I will support my clients and patients without any hesitation when they need help, it is my wish and God will bless me. I will be a well-educated PSW in Canada with my knowledge by 2022.

I have dedicated my life to education, so I am able to get success in every thing. Also, positive thinking is more important. I have got everything what I wanted. When we are dedicated, we can succeed in anything.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. No matter how disappointing, empty, discouraged or worthless we feel. We are more than our mistakes. God is always here to give us a new start. I can compare my life story to the parable of prodigal son. As already blessed with the love of my family, I still long for something more. I was a wretched mess who couldn’t stand on my own feet without fake love and empty affection. I ran away to the world and embraced its destructive ways, believing it could fill the empty void I am experiencing. I grew weary to my faith. I lost sight to our God. I’d gone too far from God. 1,000,000 steps away from home. When I surrendered all my worries to Him- the filth, despair and loneliness and took one step back. God moved 999,999 steps more towards me, embraced me and forgave me as if nothing had happened. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8. Thankfully, He is a sovereign God. I may have failed him, but He still loves me endlessly. Our God is good and gave me grace despite my selfishness. And in that moment, I felt a lot of things. I felt free. I knew something was coming. God was changing my present. And little did I know, He was drastically changing my future too. I met new people who helped me know more of our God. I began to attend their church service and witnessed how differently they praised and worshipped while waiving their hands up. How they sang, danced and clapped as the music played. How close the bond they had with each and every member of the church. Since I began to attend service at Church of God Ablan, I felt different. Even when I first attended their church service, I felt very welcomed. In this moment that I know I felt a deeper and stronger connection with God. I felt like this was my fresh start that our God had offered me. My redemption. God moves in us. He fills our lives with a fullness that we can’t even fathom without Him. And that He loves us enough to set us to a new path.

When to obey is the only way for us to go through this valley of life, this season of suffering and this test of faith. Deliverance, forgiveness, miraculous power and supremacy of God. All in when we obey. Let us celebrate the goodness of God in every season.


Living a life takes courage. We all have various levels of courage. It is embedded deep in some people's hearts and psyches; for others, it is a vivid light that directs every phase. But, for everyone, finding courage can be a decision we make every day in the quietest of instances. Living life to its fullest, with validity and a sense of conformity with one's most deeply held values, requires a great deal of courage. And sometimes, simply getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of the other is an act of enormous courage.

The most courageous thing I've ever done is to allow myself to fight for my life and to heal, to tell myself, "Hey, you need to get up and fix yourself.” That’s the time I realized that ending your character in your own story will not give you a happy ending; death is not the solution to anything.

I was 15 years old when I started to self-harm. At that time, I didn’t know what I was thinking and what I was doing but as time went by it became my habit - doing it would make me calm. I had no intention of really hurting myself. I was doing it because it gave me a feeling of ease. I felt like the only way I could be myself again and leave my room was to release what I felt inside by harming myself. Until I reached the age of 19, I needed to be independent because I was living and studying away from home. Those were the moments in my life where the simple self-harm became worse. I suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts came to my mind that would make me think that ending my life would be the solution and allow me to runaway from the misery in my life.

There was a time in school when my mother texted me that my father was cheating on her and that was also the time when I was struggling with one of my subjects because I had failed a preliminary test. I didn’t know what to prioritize first; my mind wouldn’t work at all until I saw myself standing in the window on the 7th floor of our building looking at the ground where I could fall from. I knew that one wrong step of mine would be the end of everything. The only thing I could see that day was darkness until … my friend showed up and grab my hand; she saved me from death. Realization hit me that I needed to stand up and get rid of the suicidal thoughts, I needed to heal. I needed to have a courage to fight and live my life.

In sharing this, I hope you realize that it’s okay not to be okay but taking your life will not be the solution to overcome the problems you encounter.
It might be a long journey but remember there will always be a light somewhere along every path we take, eventually; have courage walking on it.

It was a chance for a new life, and a choice to make my life, and life for my daughter, better that made me go to Anderson College.

During the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020, I found out that I was pregnant. I got in a car accident in February and almost had my baby. I moved out in July to start school and things were going great until I got COVID. I dealt with that and then realized that when I moved out, I’d chosen the wrong people to live with. I had to move back into the house of my baby father’s mother, and he and I then lived together. In October, we broke up and I lost my maternity-leave benefits because of COVID-19. I had no other option but to work part-time. I also had to figure out how to pay for daycare and now I had to remain in his house because I had nowhere else to go. Without living there, I would have been homeless and would have had no one.

I've been in and out of foster homes all my life and was told, for as long as I can remember, that I would never go anywhere in life because of how my life was and due to my parents’ choices. I've been through ups and downs my whole life with job after job, even in high school. At one point, I worked four jobs to support myself. Then I went to college in Toronto, and I had to work seven jobs just to pay rent. I've worked as a photographer and event promoter; I’ve worked in retail, at a movie theatre, in fast food restaurants, hotels and at banquets. I even do braiding as a side job to support myself and my daughter. I've worked everywhere and I have experience in almost everything. However, what made me want to go to Anderson was my daughter. She made me want to be better for myself, so I could be better for her. I went through all these obstacles my whole life and I've always survived but I don't want to just survive anymore. I want to live, and I want to give my daughter a good life and have a great job so she can be proud of me and say, “That's my Mommy!”.

I do not want to live pay cheque to pay cheque and work job after job. Anderson is my chance to change my life for the both of us. I chose Anderson to have a career and to show myself that no matter what you go through in life you will always survive, but you should never settle for just that. This is my chance to show my daughter that you can do anything, but that you shouldn’t do something if it doesn't make you happy. I am excited to be at school and thankful that I get to experience and learn about this program. I'm happy for once, happy to know that I won't end up like half the people in my life and I can do anything I want to do. This is my courageous story.

You can literally survive anything and not give up!
It may be hard, but patience will always do you good, and will help you to chose what will make you better, for yourself and for those you love.

Everyone’s definition of what courage means can differ. Some may say jumping out of an airplane is courageous, for some colouring your hair bright blue or being in the line of duty working as a police officer. However, for me, my courageous moment sparked both fear and excitement all at once.

A little back story … I was a personal support worker for roughly seven and a half years taking care of people’s loved ones through holidays, birthdays and family gatherings. Because I was a dedicated employee and lived for my employer, I missed out on all those special events and memories in my own life. There comes a point in your life where you take a step back and reflect on all the life choices you’ve made; right in the moment when I realized all the opportunities I had missed, I knew I needed change.

Constantly working short-staffed, not feeling appreciated while putting forth everything I had and, to top it off, being face-to-face with COVID-19 daily, led to a spiraling mental state for me. You know that saying ‘stuck between a rock and a hard place?’, that was my life. I had two options; give up the job I loved and keep my mental health or fall deeper into the blackhole I was heading into. Word of advice: Always choose you!

I took two months off work to enjoy much needed family time, took a part-time job working at a dairy company to contemplate where I wanted to go in life. Because at 29 years-of-age you should already have that figured out, right? At this point, my mind was running like a rollercoaster, full throttle, where you start to get that nauseous feeling in the pit of your stomach, then suddenly, the ride comes to a stop, the safety bar lifts, and you hear a person over the speaker telling you to “Go back to school”. That little voice scared me because of the times we are living in with COVID-19 and classes being taught online. I knew not everyone could learn from classes being taught that way. But it was time for me to put my big girl pants on and start my new journey into the wonderful world of Medical Laboratory Technician. It wasn’t an easy decision to put my financial responsibilities aside and to throw myself into the wild world of being a student. But, while my pockets may be empty, my knowledge is growing. And I’m thrilled to think of all the endless possibilities of where my future may lead next – and it’s all in the palm of my very own hand.

So, flash forward to this moment right now. I’m extremely proud of myself for being courageous, to know when enough was enough, and for taking this leap of faith. Sometimes you must risk it for the biscuit; I’m going for the whole box.

Always choose your happiness at all costs, you only get one chance at life.
Make it a happy one!

Let me tell you a story about myself that made me realize that I am a courageous person.

I can say that since 2020 and up to this point, were the toughest years of my life because the pandemic hit just when I was about to graduate. Shifting to an online class option without being prepared for this change was one of the challenging parts of it. Even though I had to study in this way, I graduated, and I am beyond grateful.

After graduation, I enrolled myself into a review class as a preparation for my board exam, which was supposed to be held in December 2020. But then the pandemic was at its peak and cases were increasing progressively. It was a struggle reviewing online for this once-in-a-lifetime board exam. I struggled so badly to keep up with the fast-paced setup and of course the mental exhaustion of struggling alone. We were left waiting for further announcements on when the board exam would be scheduled.

I took time off from reviewing for my board exam and decided to take a job that I wasn’t even familiar with. That again was one of the courageous moments I experienced. It was tough but then I thought of learning new things, and I felt a sense of relief. Come March, I thought I was taking the board exam in April but two weeks before they cancelled it again. I was not mentally prepared for that moment because I had exerted a lot of effort to prepare and with that cancelation, I felt like everything was gone. I was so down when that happened, I locked myself in for days. But then I told myself that I shouldn’t beat myself up and decided to move forward again.

Luckily, my board exam was finally scheduled, and I passed! Looking back on my experiences, I’m very proud of all my breakdowns because they all became my breakthroughs. The moment when I was about to give up and didn’t, made me the courageous person that I am today. I know in life that we always have a choice. It is whether you will keep on moving forward or give up. I did the former, pushing through even when I was on the verge of giving up. These are the risks I’m always willing to take. I’m proud that, up to this point in my life, I’m still thriving although everything wasn’t smooth sailing; I still managed to keep myself together and to keep going. Right now, I’m taking the chance to study abroad to learn new things that will benefit my career. Going to a foreign country is a new brave move that I am taking, and I hope I can even surpass everything I’ve already accomplished as I go through this new chapter.

I want people to be inspired to keep going despite of all the challenges in life because in the end everything will be worth it. Taking breaks is also essential for one’s mental health and it is okay to take breaks as frequently as you need, to recharge.


The year 2010 was a rough one. Four deaths of family members and job loss left me hopeless.

My stepmother called a week before Christmas and told me my father was in the hospital. The unforgiving complications of diabetes had taken his leg. Two days later tests revealed that he had lung cancer. Three days after Christmas - he was gone. My life had been turned upside-down. In January, my uncle and cousin died. This made me question the elusive nature of life. In March, I got news of my grandfather dying. I was close to my grandfather. He raised me. The nursing home staff noticed signs. We needed to say our goodbyes. I had no one to babysit on such short notice. An hour later my grandfather passed away. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to the man who took me camping and ski-diving and who had taught me how to laugh at life.

I remember one joke with clarity. Driving past a cemetery, he smirked and pointed and asked, “How many people are dead in there?”, I noticed the distinct twinkle in his eye as he looked at me. I pondered and then said, “I don’t know”. “All of them!” he said, followed by a hearty laugh. I still smile when I think of that time. My grandfather worked as a miner. He was also the President and Treasurer of the Lion’s Club and organized community activities for the kids in town. I admired him. He was strict but fair, humble and practical.

So, I thought the bad times were behind me but then bullying at work had me quitting a job I enjoyed. I thought of what my grandmother would do. She had a grade one education. She was a small, cheerful, woman with a feisty spirit. At 80 years old she decided to try for her driver’s license. The road to her dream however would be paved with many roadblocks. She went on to fail the driver’s exam seven times! I was amused how she laughed it off. She didn’t give up. Anne Carter was no quitter! The woman had more determination than a starving monkey peeling a banana. She took the test for the eighth time and passed! My grandmother, with all her ambition never did drive after that, not even once.

So now eleven years later, I decided that I will pursue MY dream, to become a medical laboratory assistant technician. Death, job loss and all the other obstacles I’ve experience in life are not going to hold me back … after all, we Carters are no quitters!

I hope to inspire people with the knowledge that life will always have obstacles but if you have a goal, time and patience will help you overcome them.
Age, level of education, lack of financial means and other obstacles just slow you down- they don't have to stop you.

The day and moment I decided to become an instructor for the Intra-Oral Dental Assistant (IODA) program was a big step for me. I had a great job at a private clinic, got along well with my coworkers and had an amazing boss. What else could have I asked for? And then, this opportunity with Anderson College arose. It was a difficult decision. However, I was excited to do something new and yet, was petrified at the same time. What if I left a great job and regretted it afterwards? A lot of possibilities were popping up in my head. In the end, I decided to take a leap of faith and just did it. “Come what may!”, I thought.

I didn’t want my fear to hold me back, I leveraged my fear to push me to do something out of the ordinary. I decided to be brave. In the end I’m glad I did. I enjoy teaching, it is an engaging, worthwhile, and yet challenges me as a professional. I am happy to share my knowledge with others and have a positive impact on my students. I would like to applaud my first batch of students at Anderson College. They have been through a lot, especially with having to adjust to a new instructor halfway through their program. They were very accepting and made the transition easy. There were many ups and downs (as there would be in any program). It takes grit to work and go to school at the same time, especially during a pandemic. However, they made it work. Through all of it they showed tenacity and did not get discouraged. They stayed strong and now they are on their way to doing their practicums, followed by Graduation! I am very proud to be part of their journey and wish them all success, of which they are truly deserving.

“So often you find that students you’re trying to inspire are the ones that end up inspiring you”- Sean Junkins

Don't let fear put you in a standstill. Don’t give up because you are immobilized by insecurity, by the odds. Because in giving up, you give up hope. Understand that failure is part of the process in life, that only in trying can you enrich yourself and have the possibility of moving forward, on to success.

I've always wished to further my studies out of Nigeria. It had always been a dream of mine. In March 2019, I informed my uncle of this dream and the challenges faced due to limited funds. He assured me that he would assist me in achieving this dream. He introduced me to a travel agent, Mr. Godfrey, who resides in Canada and agreed to help me secure admission into Anderson College of Health, Business, and Technology for postgraduate education. At first, I was skeptical and thought that applying to a private college might not secure me a visa. That was what most people around me presumed. I applied to the college and secured admission. To commence my visa procedure, I was to travel to Lagos, Nigeria for medical examination and police certification. However, I became ill and was admitted to a hospital. I also couldn't make the journey because I had to take care of my mother who was also admitted to the same hospital that I was in for three months. My mother got discharged at the beginning of December 2019 after which I planned to travel to Lagos for the visa-required documents. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and interstate travel was restricted. I was distraught. I had to defer the admission. I informed Megan William, who is the Senior Admission Officer, of the challenges. She encouraged me to continue the visa process. In February 2020, the travel ban was relaxed, and I went for the medical examination and police certification. Both activities were successful, and I proceeded to apply for my visa the following month, but the Canadian Embassy wasn't processing student visas due to the pandemic. The delays led to me deferring the admission the second time. My medical examination and police certificate expired. In February 2021, I forged on to conduct another medical examination and police certification. I applied for a visa in March 2021 and the embassy approved the visa application in about a month. I arrived in Canada in September 2021, where I am now studying Personal Support Worker (PSW) at Anderson College. I guess I can say that I am a testament to not giving up on one's dreams.

Do not give up on your dreams. No matter the circumstances, never stop moving, hoping, and believing.

My story begins when I came to Canada in 2019. I started with a great desire to see the world, but I discovered that the reality of Canada is different and that I had to work hard to achieve my goals. The first big problem I had was with my language. My English was almost at the base level, but luckily that was not an impediment to my being able to start working. I arrived here on August 11th, 2019, and started working August 16th, 2019, in a nursing home, first housekeeping and then in the laundry. At the same time, I was studying English and trying to put into practice everything I learned. In 2020, they offered me the position of an Assistant Supervisor. I could not believe it, especially because we were in the middle of the pandemic at that time, and as a nursing home, there were a lot of sensitive issues we needed to learn to be aware of that we didn’t know much about. I accepted the job and learned a lot. I think it was a very good experience because I learned many things and I got over my problem

with the language a little more. At the nursing home I learned a lot from the work that the personal support worker (PSW) did, and I started to like the position. But even though my English had improved, I was still afraid of taking the courses I’d need to, to become a PSW. I didn't think I was capable.

In August 2021, my first baby was born. That day was the most special as my husband and I began the challenge of being parents; it is not easy at all if you ask me. One night seeing my son's gaze, I thought I must leave fear behind and improve myself to be able to give him a better future, to be able to share more with him, so that in the future I will be an inspiration for him. I decided that I had to study not for me, but for him. That’s when I contacted the school a friend had told me about - Anderson College. It may be that I have not chosen the best time to start my studies, but I am certain that I chose the best inspiration of all.

 I'm Criselda DeVera pursuing my studies in Supply Chain and Logistics. As a student, I’m inspired and motivated to achieve my goals and acquire more knowledgeable skills to level up my career. Since this pandemic hit, many encountered struggles in their lives and I am one of them. I got laid off from my company, it was unexpected, and we had no idea what was going on. I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t understand where and how I would survive especially because I am independent and had no one else to depend on. In a situation like this, one needs to be brave and strong as well as have faith in God. I tried finding another job when I got laid off from my company, but it was not easy as most of the companies quit hiring and were either usually laying off or firing their employees. It was not easy to apply for a job during the pandemic as a lot of protocols were in place which made it difficult to work during that time. You never knew if you got exposed to the COVID-19 virus from someone that you came in contact as there was no vaccine yet. It was so scary those days, especially when I would be outside or came in contact with anyone during my commutes on the public transit. I also tried to do an online job and started small business just to have something to do as these days online or social media are in demand platforms. I tried to have online business like buy and sell posts on social media and have chats with my client encouraging them to buy my products. I also sent packages back home just to have online selling there too to help them as well back home, at least I had kept myself busy. Then, my cousin mentioned to me about online school and approached me during the lockdown as we had nothing else to do with almost everyone jobless and closed businesses. So, I realized that it would be a good idea to pursue online school since I did not have a full-time job and my husband was a newcomer here in Canada. He is one of my inspirations who motivates me to upgrade my experience. I have almost 12 years experience working at retail stores, so I was aware of supply chain and logistics as it seemed fit for me. I am glad that I opted for this program to expand my knowledge and to gain more ideas which will enable me to apply for a job related to this course. With my experience to change my future, I would now have a backup just to be safe. I am really happy that I am part of the Anderson College helping me change my future for a good life!

Achieve your goals don't give up whatever struggles come your way. Always be yourself, stay positive and faithful to God. If there’s patience, there’s a way to good future!

I wish I could sit back and choose just one single moment that I can honestly say has defined me but, there isn't just one single moment. There is a course of events that have created what will now be my future for my kids, my family, and most of all myself! The most recent events that really helped me define my life were, me surviving surgery, leaving an abusive relationship and watching my dad survive a freak accident.

Eight years ago, I thought I had found the love of my life but what I had found was a lesson. September 18th, 2020, was the day I realised that lesson when my gallbladder exploded, almost taking my life away. Through the intense emergency surgery that went wrong, I had a whole struggle of healing ahead of me, not only physically but mentally and emotionally. In my time of need the person who was supposed to be ‘my person’ was no where and I had five kids relying on me. A little back story – two of those children were not biologically mine. They belonged to my partner but, with open arms I accepted them, helped them, healed them, fought for them, and worked for them. Along with my kids, they were a part of me and my life.

In October, I finally gained the courage to flee that abusive relationship but unfortunately when I ran, I was only able to run with my three kids. After leaving that situation and then being stuck in the new world of COVID-19, I was feeling defeated, depressed even. I was a personal support worker but with no way to work. I was unhappy with the way my life was going. It was then that I realized that I wanted better in life, not only for myself but for my kids and family as well. I started looking into the idea of upgrading my education when I came across the Medical Laboratory Technician program at Anderson College. I debated back and forth on whether I would go for it but am proud to say I took the leap. I requested information and now I’m officially registered for January 2022. I'm ready to start my new journey for my kids and for myself WITH COURAGE!

The moral of my story is that no matter how tough the situation may be, there is always a way out. You want to leave that relationship, leave it. You want to quit that job, quit that job. You want to go back to school then go! Have faith and courage.


At the age of 38, it was quite a difficult decision to pursue a degree while expecting and rearing our first child who was only few months old then.

I have always thought that maybe pursuing a degree while supporting my family would be a selfish act because as a husband and a father, my family should always be first in the line of priorities. Besides that, I doubted my capabilities as it would be a new endeavor for me and considering that I would have to juggle work, night classes, along with my responsibilities. Nonetheless, I took the plunge; I enrolled and took up Logistics and Supply Chain Operations. My wife, family, and friends have always been very supportive of all the endeavors I have ever undertaken. And I have always kept in mind that when fulfilling one’s goals and dreams, sacrifices of all kinds will need to be made but, in the end, there will be so much more to gain.

Our Story … It was few months after the onset of the pandemic that I graduated, on September 25, 2020. During that time, living was way more difficult than usual, a daily battle against a non-apparent enemy – the virus. My family was one of those unfortunate enough to have been infected by the virus and all those days being under home quarantine took a toll on us. Every single day, my mind was bombarded, thinking how to wiggle a way out, how to make all ends meet, and at the same time, concerned with what might happen to us. And with all this happening, I wasn’t expecting that there were greater and numerous opportunities waiting for me … that came like a bolt from the blue after that challenging time in our lives.

There have been many changes, in all aspects of living and survival, due to the pandemic. The increased demand for goods and the changes in logistics and supply operations have been significant since face-to-face contacts were and are still limited. In considering this, I suddenly acknowledged to myself that had I not been courageous and determined enough when I was deciding to pursue this program, this opportunity. My family here and abroad in the Philippines were facing a situation it seemed they would hardly get through, I had to do something.

“Life is a balance of fear and overcoming it”, so I’ve heard said. With these lessons and realizations, I continue to embrace new opportunities, trusting my capabilities, and becoming more prudent in my decisions.

My story may have the power to break down barriers and I hope to inspire others despite any circumstances they face.

The moment that defined me this past year was the moment my son Tony, the son I never thought I could have, was born and grasped my finger for the first time.

I was told I would never be a mother, that I had a 5% chance of ever giving birth to a child. So, when this blessing happened, I made a promise to myself, and to my baby while he was still in my tummy, that I would do everything in my power to give him a good life; no matter the hard work, no matter what it might take, I would always be a good mom and give my best to him. So even in the hard times of the pandemic, going through it all pregnant and not knowing how I would be able to keep that promise, I looked to my own mother for guidance. My mother raised my sister and I on her own and gave everything she had, everyday, to make sure we had a good life, the best life with whatever little we had. She always made us feel so rich with love, not money. She had a stroke during Christmas, which is also her birthday. and it was very hard and scary. Due to the pandemic, I was not able to go and visit her or be with her. So, every day we talked on the phone until she was able to come home, and then I took care of her while also trying to take care of myself.

It is in moments like these that you have to find the motivation to show the ones who love you, who have always been there for you, that they make you strong.

My mom has always told me to keep my dreams strong and keep pursuing them. As soon as she was well enough to be on her own again, I made plans to make my future bright and to keep my promise, to the little life growing inside of me, that promise to provide a good life for us.

I now know that I'm doing everything I can, by being part of a great school, Anderson College, and continuing my education and continuing to pursue my dream to succeed. I am determined, not only to make my son proud, but to make my mom proud, and of course to make myself proud. And I truly am proud! I can't wait to graduate, to finish my school, and experience another defining moment in my life. This will definitely be a defining moment that I will never forget.

I hope to offer inspiration with my story, inspiration to never give up even when things get dark. Things can happen that you can't control but keep pursuing your dreams. I hope you remember this and feel a sense of inspiration if you’re ever told you can't do something or can’t be anything. Keep focused on what matters most in your life and make those who inspire you proud.

There are few certainties in terms of what I want to experience in my life. I have spent a lot of time considering the best course to take in pursuit of my goal. With all my considerations on what career I would pursue, I have decided to pursue a career in childcare. My earlier kindergarten teacher, who made school a lot of fun for me and my classmates, had a considerable influence on me when I was a kid. My kindergarten teacher's passion for teaching and desire to make school enjoyable for all students amazed me. Since then, I have known I want to make a difference in the lives of young children in some way. And during my undergraduate years, I decided to pursue those aspirations. First, I worked as a daycare teacher and a substitute teacher for those who needed to take time off. I admire young children's eagerness to learn. They have no limits in terms of what they can envision, thanks to their limitless creativity. Because of the personal insight they quickly share, as well as the pure joy and excitement they bring to the classroom. My experience being around young children has supplied an endless number of fantastic encounters. I adore the children's grins and laughter when I am in the classroom. Since that time, I have known I wanted to have a positive impact on young children in some way, so I applied to a grade school and was privileged enough to get accepted into the Philippine Department of Education. So, over the last few months, after we migrated here, my plans to continue instructing young children in Canada have stayed consistent. I have always remembered that educating young children gives me an endless supply of joy. I feel extremely lucky to once again be able to work with young children and to be able to emphasize the value of going and continuing in school. For me, spending time with children and communicating and learning with them is not "work," but a tremendous learning opportunity. I have committed mistakes in the past for which I accept full responsibility. While I continue to learn from them, I have been capable of shaping myself into a person with compassion, desire, love, dedication, and ability to survive, if not thrive, in the challenges of the childcare profession and beyond.

Don't let anyone get in your way of achieving what you desire. There are many obstacles along the way; but be confident that this is the course for you.

"My Courageous Moment" story is related to last year when I was walking down Yonge Street, basically minding my own business, when suddenly, a young woman dashed past me running as fast as she could. As she pulled ahead, still running in terror, a man on a bicycle flashed past me on the other side, chasing the woman. He caught up to her and leapt off the bike and grabbed her by the throat. His intent was obvious. He intended to strangle her in broad daylight!

Now, I’m only 5′4″, but seeing a woman attacked directly in front of me, I HAD to do something! As quickly as I could, I folded my book and, using it as a short club, I leapt onto the man’s back, hanging onto his clothes with one hand and striking him with short hard jabs in the ribs with my book. I didn’t swing the folded book like a club, it was far too light and short to do any good. Instead, I had to hold it in my fist and used the ends to blunt stab. I hit him with all the strength I could muster, and I must have hurt him rather severely. As I struck, I screamed “Let her go! Let her go!!” as loudly as I could.

Suddenly, he dropped the woman and, getting to his feet, turned on me! The old saying is true. There are moments when, in mortal fear, a person’s entire life will flash before their eyes. I was certain I was a goner. The guy was about twice my size and weight, and he was furious! Just as he was about to exact his revenge, I heard the thunder of footsteps and, racing to our rescue, were four police officers! They had him down on the ground and in cuffs in about the time it took to read this paragraph. It turned out it was a boyfriend/girlfriend dispute. She had taken some of his money and they had a fight about it and … the story goes on.

I am proud that I did save her from severe injury, even death maybe. I learned my lesson. Next time, or if ever, I see something like that, I’ll do the same exact thing. Protecting the weak from the strong is not a choice, I feel it is my life’s mission.

Life is truly a journey with ups and downs. There are some hard times that we encounter that take much longer for us to overcome than other moments. I mean every little thing that’s happened to you has played a part in shaping the person you are today, and you are stronger because of it. Remember that!

I’m a mother of twins, and life has not been easy. When I gave birth to them, we were living in a very noisy basement with one small window. I didn’t like the place because it was not healthy for my kids. I wanted my kids to grow up having their own rooms and a place where they could play in a backyard. However, I couldn’t afford a beautiful place like that. Later when life got a bit easier, we moved into a rental condo. When the kids turned six years old, I went to school while they were in daycare. COVID-19 struck, daycare got shut down and I lost my part-time job. My kids were home while I was pursuing my online classes. That’s when life got harder. And yet, despite what I faced, I made it to graduation day.

I then decided to leave the life we were living behind and move to another province, because Toronto is so expensive. We drove two days from Toronto to Alberta, night and day to get there quickly. We stopped at an inn in Winnipeg to sleep but when we checked out and went to leave, we realized all our things on the car roof, all our bags, had been stolen. We had nothing left. I was so heartbroken. But I focused on the fact that at least my family was safe, and the thieves didn’t break my car window, otherwise we would’ve had to travel with an open window in the cold weather. We finally arrived safely in Alberta, but I had no work license yet, so I became a nanny for a while preparing for my NDAEB written exam and clinical exam. Dr. Ray, Dr. A, Dr. C, Miss Rose of Dental Assistant team were there to help. I called them and without any hesitation they supported me; they guided me all the way through the process, and I passed.

School taught me a lot and prepared me for interviews. In fact, when I had my interview, one dentist was so impressed, he said, “I think Dental Assistant programs in Toronto are better than what we offer here”. To this, I replied, “No doctor, I think it’s because of how I love to listen, learn about dental assisting, and my luck in having the instructors I did, who were so knowledgeable and patient when teaching us.”

Now I’m working as a dental assistant in a dental clinic that has a 5-star rating on Google, here in Sherwood Park, Alberta. We also got our first house in just a year. For all these things that happened to me and to us, I thank God, my family, and Anderson College for providing the type of quality education, that produced a quality student. I’m so proud I went to Anderson College.

If life gets harder, pray harder.
Look for the positive side in all situations and continue to work toward what you want. Don’t give up; just believe you can. A positive mind attracts positive things!

In 2014 I was driving downtown Hamilton when a car drove by at high rates of speed. I called 911 while driving radically and continued to follow the car while I was on the phone with the 911 operator. I requested authorization to continue the pursuit at high rate of speed as they checked with the supervising officer. Since hey had no available units in the area, they granted me a temporary permission to pursue the vehicle until units became available. I tracked the vehicle and pursued it for almost an hour until officers were able to take over the chase. They also had units set up at the suspects house as I was able to give the license plate information along with the make and model. I have a sister at the Hamilton Wentworth police on many occasions including assisting in two arrests of DUI suspects multiple vehicle pursuits as well as other situations. It seems to have always been in my nature to enforce the law which is why I am pursuing the Police Foundations program here at Anderson College as I am going to fulfil the dream that I had since I was a teenager. To anyone who thinks they are too old to accomplish any dream of theirs do not ever think that way. I am 36 years old and pursuing the dream that I had when I was 18 years old. Age is just a number. You are never too old to accomplish the things that you’ve set your mind and heart to. There’s always time to do something for yourself and for everyone else around you. I am never afraid to step in and assist in anyway that I can, does not matter how dangerous the situation is. I always chose to do the right thing. So again, never be afraid to achieve your goals. Life is too short for regrets, always look towards the future.

Follow your heart, that is where the purest inspiration will come from. Your mind is easily swayed and convinced of things, but the heart is pure.

In December 2019 when I got to Canada, I left some important people back home. Me and my friends still have some slight communication but not that often due to our busy lives.

I treat my friends as family. When I was back home, we would always hangout at my house since I was the only person living on my own. As my life progressed here in Canada, I did not have a lot of time to talk with them and I wasn’t even in touch to ask how they were doing very often. One afternoon (when back home it was past midnight, due to the time difference between countries) one of my friends, whom I considered my best friend in our bunch, messaged me. I was surprised because it was very late, and we hadn’t talk in a while. He was telling me about the problems he was going through at that time. He was crying. He was afraid. He was angry. He was hurt. He was done with life. He told me he wanted to die. I was confused and told him to stop joking; I didn’t know what to think. He said he wasn't joking around and told me he was on the rooftop of their building ready to jump. He had just messaged me to say his goodbye, as he wanted me to be the last person he talked to. I was panicking and didn't know what to do. I tried to be calm and talk to him slowly. I didn’t want to lose him. I told him everything I could to stop him. But what made him think it through, was something specific that I told him.

"Bro, everyone has their own journey in life. It’s hard I know, but what we go through is what makes us strong. God has a purpose for you; it may not become clear tomorrow or the next day, but it will come, just have faith. And please don't be selfish. You said you are doing this so that you can become peaceful, but have you thought about us, your family? Don't give up on the moments we can still have with you and don't waste the life you are given."

I was so relieved that those words changed his mind. I can't believe I talked him out of it. And being able to be there for him, in that moment, is something I’ll always be grateful for. Right now, my best friend has finished his course in Pharmacy studies and has opened multiple growing businesses. Right now, he is happy.

We can achieve our goals with commitment. If we have goals,
they will always lead us towards dreams in our life.
Don’t ever give up and turn to those you are close to whenever you need support.

One day my friend and ex-colleague Agnes called me to let me know that Anderson College was hiring nurses to teach the Personal Support Worker (PSW) virtual classes. Since I had not taught these types of classes before in my life, only traditional classes in person, I thought that it was going to be very difficult for me. I knew that I had to have specific training and a solid knowledge base, to use this platform so that I could effectively work and grow with it.

I called Anderson College and Elizabeth, my manager, offered me the job with a probation period to see if I could perform well. At the beginning it was hard, I had to adapt to the small details of these virtual classes. I spent more hours working than the norm, but with enthusiasm to do the best I could with my new responsibilities. I learned well and was able to continue working at Anderson.

The pandemic has impacted the whole of humanity negatively, but at the same time it has given us opportunities as well. For example: to realize that being able to breathe and to stay healthy is a huge blessing; to be able to help our families and our community by giving compassionately and standing together. Due to this COVID-19 situation, the Canadian government, in coordination with the Ministry of Health of Education, approved a PSW Challenge Fund for any student who wants to become a PSW. This wonderful course, called PSW Hybrid, had become so popular and is very important for many students. Anderson College had to offer more hours to some instructors which was a wonderful opportunity for me as well, enabling me to offer more classes.

At the beginning, using the new platform was complicated but I tried my very best. I had to interact with a variety of students at different times because they all had different course start dates. I received counselling so I could be organized, gain a better understanding and create new ways of interacting with different student groups, as I would have five PSW Hybrid courses on different schedules, at different campuses. This time of learning was so important for me because I wanted to give my students the best chance I could to reach their goal of becoming a PSW. Training professionals in this area will also significantly help our community, as there is a significantly greater need during this pandemic. In order to reach my goals, for myself and for my students, I sacrificed hours of sleep and weekends away from my family, but I am so glad I’ve embraced this opportunity with Anderson.

We always have to try our best in life, believe in God and in ourselves. Be positive and compassionate and stand together with our fellow human beings, at all times but particularly during moments of crisis. 

I feel it is so hard for me to write the story of my courageous moment, as the journey through it was so difficult and challenging for me. My name is Hiba Kasou and I'm an Anderson College Business Management student.

In October 2019, I chose to come to Canada to find a new home! As a Syrian refugee and a mother of two kids who were four months and one year and a half of age at that time, I landed in the country dreaming of a new start and better life for myself and my little ones. It was so hard for me to start my journey of settlement and it was really difficult to face the culture shock in Canada. Leaving my country and starting from scratch in a new place that I didn't know anything about was certainly the courageous action I took in my life. Even when it was really difficult, I did it for myself and my loved ones.

I'm so happy to be here in Canada to start my new journey after 30 years in different countries. It really changed my life for the better after being a Syrian refugee facing the sad war happening in my country. Now after two years here in Canada, I look back and I'm so proud of myself as a single mom, who moved to a new country by herself. Now I’m a business management student at Anderson College studying to get my Canadian certification and working hard to gain Canadian experience too. I'm so glad for all the courage I had to take this big step, despite all the challenges I faced and still face, since bad people will always exist. I don't regret anything I did and I’ve grateful for the courage I had to secure a better life for me and my beloved family.

I hope my story can inspire others who think that making a hard decision in life won’t be worth it. Because even when it’s really difficult, you will do it for yourself and for your loved ones. It will always change your life for the better. Just start and you can do it.

I lost my husband to cancer six years ago. It was the most difficult and devastating time for me. I knew I had to start all over. With three children to raise on my own, I realized there was no choice but to move forward. My loss has propelled me to continue moving forward and building myself up. I have found strength by surrounding myself with positive people and by fulfilling my love of learning new things and upgrading my skills through education. This has however meant sacrificing time I would have spent with my children and instead devoting it to studying. I have a great passion for learning and always see the value of upgrading my skills.

December 2020 of last year was the time when the most defining moment of courage happened for me. I had just started a job as an office manager, which I thought was a career I saw myself growing into. However, I got COVID-19 and subsequently was laid off two weeks before Christmas. Being physically sick and losing a job caused more stress, physically and emotionally, for my young family, especially because I am a single parent. My young children who were also in full-time school at that time had to take on the responsibility of caring of me, as I was quarantined. The worst part, two of my children also contracted the virus. It was a nightmare to have lost a job I loved and at the same time being sick with no one to lean on.

I never gave up on my dream though – that one day I’d find a better job opportunity. Ironically, the pandemic opened a better way for me to change my entire career from business management to the health field. I took this to heart courageously. I have also realized that there's a greater need in the health industry during these times. Each day I am learning and improving my skills to become a successful medical laboratory technician. Not only have I embarked on an even better job opportunity, but I’m also demonstrating to my children the value of adapting to changes that arise and what it means to progress through learning despite any circumstances we find ourselves in.

Courage begins within yourself. We will all fail and lose one way or the other at times but there is a power that comes with loving ourselves and choosing our own destiny.
It all begins with a thought … so choose wise thoughts.  

A woman who’s afraid to cross the street but has crossed the world. I don’t know what exactly prompted me to write something about this. It just suddenly came to mind.

Only a few people know that, for so long, I was too scared to cross the street due to a vehicular accident when I was seven years old – scared to the point of ruining my life. It was quite arduous for me to even cross the pathways inside the campus at Central Philippines University. I was taking an accounting course, but I failed due to my absences. I couldn’t get passing grades. I went to the Dean’s office to discuss the issue. I asked her to give me another chance, but she didn’t give me a chance at all. I didn’t tell my mom that I had failed at that time because I didn’t want to upset her. I realized that I needed the courage to stand up and do something. I knew I should take action to solve this fear. Then I took the BSN (Nursing) course at another school and eventually I was able to pass. After graduation, I started to look for a job but my fear of crossing the street served as a hindrance to my finding a job. My peers belittled me due to my fear. They told me that I wouldn’t achieve anything in my life because of it. Despite my fear, I kept fighting because I needed to find a job. My husband accompanied me from one agency to another. Then finally I got a job abroad in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It was like a sign, showing me a way through the unending misery.

I didn’t let my fear destroy me. I chose to find my way. And I know that God has a better plan for me. I conquered my fear! I won another battle! YES! I’m ready to tackle another chapter of my life.

Conquer your fear. Don’t let your fear swallow you. Because when you conquer your fear, nothing can stop you from achieving your goal in life.

The pandemic has shown that there's no going back. Longing for the past is normal because it looks back to a time when we may have felt strong and comfortable. A year ago, things got chaotic for me, and I was in crisis. I lost my job and underwent a separation. The predicament taught me that if I cannot improve my way forward, I must innovate! I must go through with this struggle so I can come of to new level of strength. So, I enrolled in the Business Management course at Anderson College. I was granted the opportunity along with a student loan. But being a sole parent of a toddler is a bit challenging. Along with the feeling of loneliness, I dealt with the loss and filled in the gap that was left on us. Bearing the brunt of harsh societal judgment is very debilitating. It destroyed my soul and my self limits. I had a sense of guilt; we were broken. No family support since they are far away back in my home country. Dealing how to instill discipline in my kid is a long way, I am aware! Financial burden is a big issue. Friends are there ready to help but they have their own lives to take care of. Nonetheless, it doesn't stop me to dream. I’m looking at the bright side, enough of the depression! Thanks to the gift of wisdom, I'm taking things positively. In fact, it encourages me to pursue the best version of me. To never give up the struggles and to accept them as a reward. It’s always been a dream of mine to get into business career here in this beautiful country of Canada. So, I opted for the afternoon classes as its easier for me. I get to spend the whole day with my daughter. By the time my classes start in the evening, she is tired ands resting. Thanks to this amazing technology that we can study online as the school has offered virtual learning. I am looking forward to finishing soon. So far so good, I felt productive happily helping some fellows that are having trouble in technology. I’m aiming to maintain the perfect attendance for the whole duration of my study. Thank you, Anderson College and my teacher! I’m still excited to having more to learn from you!

Time is precious, don't waste it! Have courage and pursue your dreams. Don't limit yourself, you can go as far as your mind lets you. Life is a constant change; never stop learning to broaden your knowledge. Be determined and always stay positive for the reward is waiting.

My name is Irina, I’m from Russia and had arrived in Canada with my four children in May 2017. I have 17 years of experience working as an accountant. At that time, I had very limited English to communicate with others. I had waited a long time to get results of my application to the H&C program. When I received my PR, it was the happiest moment of my life. When I started to settle down, I started to reflect on my life aspirations, and started asking questions like- Who am I now? Who am I for myself? For the kids? For this country, that I have moved to? I didn’t want to continue working as an accountant, therefore, I started looking for other career options that would give me joy – something that I have not tried before. A lady I volunteered with at that time had advised me about the Medical Esthetician program at Anderson College. She had given me information about the program, the profession, and the team of teachers who worked at the college. I had experienced series of events all around the same time, including, my enrolment at the college, lockdowns due to COVID-19 pandemic, as well as ending my relationship with an abusive partner. I am a mother of four amazing boys. I have handled all the hardships that have come my way since the beginning of school. New, totally different students and instructors from different places of world, different culture, different languages and having experienced all this is amazing. I am so happy that I could become part of their lives as they became my family. Anderson College taught me to work as a team, and if I'll decide to study further, I will definitely study here. I really do not know if my story is a courageous moment or not, but my children say that I am a real hero for them.

If you’re reading my story, I’d like to say that: if I could do it, you can do it too! Nothing is impossible if you wish for it and have faith. Also, believe in yourself!

My name is Isaac D. Joseph and I’m a happy Computer Instructor at Anderson College.

My struggle, that called for great courage, began a few months after we had started offering online classes. It was something significant with regard to my health. It all started with a sharp shooting severe pain in my left shoulder and neck. After several hospital visits and tests, it was confirmed that I had severe spinal stenosis and the condition was worsening. It is a very painful condition. I could not sit, stand up or sleep peacefully without pain. After several hospitalizations, some doctors suggested surgery and some suggested seeing a chiropractor or physiotherapist. While I was still dealing with this pain, adding salt to the wound, I was also dealing with the issues caused by my being overweight which had led to several health complications. I wondered, what I would do now and how would I come out of this condition?”

This situation was something new for me. Sometimes I was very fearful, and I had self doubts. Fear started creeping down my already painful spine. I started worrying about my future, my job, my family and how was I going to take care of everything. I remembered Joel Osteen’s famous quote “There are some things you can only learn in a storm!” With only a small glimmer of hope during the deepest, darkest despairing time of my life, I realized that I must be very courageous in these moments. I had no choice except to fight my way back. Whatever had not killed me, had made me stronger.

I refused to let pain dominate my life. Instead, I turned my attitude around. I kept smiling through my severe pain. Sitting down on a chair conducting online computer classes became very challenging. So, I decided to stand-up and conduct three batches of four hours each. Several days and weeks went by like this. During this period, another tragedy threatened my sanity. My favorite uncle back home passed away due to some health issues. Not being able to travel and be there for my family to console them, further saddened. Many of my students had to go through similar kinds of situations. The students consoled me, and I consoled them. We encouraged each other. I felt courage being instilled inside of me.

The past years have tested my power of endurance and patience and have taught me to view life from a different perspective. Even though I am battling chronic physical pain and the emotional pain of loss, I have tools to deal with it all. I know my limitations and I’m content.

You can be in the storm, but don’t let the storm get in you. – Joel Osteen

In life, no matter what, troubles are inevitable. We are just humans. But all that we need is a strong and courageous heart, and to never give up our tenacious attitude to win. Life is beautiful and we can enjoy every moment of it.

I was born and raised in Poland, most of my family and friends are there. I came to Canada when I was 14. This was a scary time. Leaving everything I knew behind. My father made that choice for my family. I was very sad and afraid of coming to a new country where I didn’t speak the language. Before we left, I was upset; I cried with my friends on the front steps. I told my mom I didn’t want to go. I had no choice. My family and I arrived in Toronto and for a long time, I had no friends. I couldn’t go anywhere because I didn’t speak English. I cried at night, I just wanted to go back home. I felt very lonely. I registered for high school. Before the first day of school, I didn’t sleep. I had anxiety about entering a school where no one spoke my language. My first day at school was horrible. I couldn’t talk to anyone, and I didn’t understand what my teacher was saying. I told my mom I wouldn’t go back, so she let me stay home for the first few days. I tried another school; it was the same. I told myself it would get better. I met new friends, from Afghanistan. They spoke English and it was cute how they tried to explain things to me using their hands and objects. After a month, I still struggled with English, but I kept trying. There were times when I was made fun of. One day, walking around the school, I saw a young girl sitting under a tree; she looked sad. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t know what to say or how to say it. For over a week when I went outside, I always saw her sitting there alone. I finally decided to approach her and see if she was ok. It didn’t go well. She couldn’t understand me. But eventually I got her to smile, probably because I looked so silly trying to communicate. Looking back to when I was a young girl in a new place, I feel this was the most courageous thing I did… To befriend someone in a new place where I didn’t know the language and to face possible rejection or be laughed at or embarrassed. I took a chance at trying to fit in and to make a friend. Over the years she helped me learn English and, in many ways, I helped her because her family was poor, and I could share things with her that she needed. I will always be grateful for my best friend in Canada and how brave we were to take a chance on each other.

I hope my story encourages people to be brave and keep trying at things that are new. Moving to a new country is something many people can relate to. It is intimidating, but it is worth getting back up again when you feel like you’ve been knocked down, to find happiness somewhere new or within any new situation. If I can do it, you can too.

It is really hard for me to talk about my story, but I’m finding the courage to share it, here. Sometimes I do also feel that I want to share my pain with someone. In 2019, my husband passed away from a heart disease. I had nobody in Canada; I was alone with two babies at that time, and I didn’t know what to do or where to start. I had to focus on my children’s future and being strong for them; I now had to be both a mother and father.

I was very lucky to have good neighbors, as they really helped me, like my real family; I still visit them. I will never forget that they stood by me during the most difficult time in my life.

After all I went through in losing my husband, my mental health suffered and I decided I really needed my parents with me. I invited them to Canada to visit us and asked for them to help me get through this experience. They did. My parents did a wonderful job and they supported me a lot with the kids, and this helped me emotionally. I knew it would be really difficult for me to return to college without their consistent support. So, I had only one option. We applied for humanitarian support, asking that that my parents be allowed to remain here. They accepted our application immediately because of my situation and what our family had been through. My parents now have their permanent residence, and we all live in the same home.

Before he passed away, my husband recommended that I go back to school to become a dental assistant. And now, here I am at Anderson College, making that life for myself, for our children.

Life is not easy for anybody, but we can make it easier by supporting and helping each other when needed. Respect the value of your life and thank God for what you have because the tomorrow is never promised.

When I was 10 years old when my dad died, and I lost a huge part of me. Six months later my uncle died from the stress of losing his only sibling, his epilepsy caused him to have a horrible seizure that cost him his life. This rattled my insides with crippling anxiety. At such a tender age, I was in a constant state of fear. I was scared every single day, I felt that at any second, I could lose someone else that I loved and held near to my heart. My anxiety as I got older became a burden I would carry. As it increased, I didn’t want to hang out with friends after school, do extracurriculars, or even form romantic relationships. I wanted to go straight home and make sure my family was safe. My fight or flight mode was on constant autopilot. I was unable to shut the fear off, let alone the anxiety that kept persisting and growing worse. It got so bad that I stopped wanting to leave the house. I stopped feeling okay all together as sadness and fear became all I knew. I felt like if I took my eyes off what my family was doing, for even a day, then that would be their last. My sadness, my fear, it turned to anger, and I was unable to escape the pain that I felt inside. However, miraculously in 2017, at 22 years old my life changed forever. I had my baby boy Kyrie. I know people say this all the time that their kids change them. He did, he changed me, he gave me the strength and the serenity that I never knew I could have. Everything I do now is for him. My anxiety, my stress, yes it will be there, but hiding and waiting for the next bad thing to happen, it was only taking me away from a life that I deserve to live. We aren’t promised anything in this life, but what I have promised myself for the last three and a half years is that I will make a life that is worth living! I have freed myself from the shackles of pain and of grief and chosen bravery instead.

No matter what you may be going through, days will get better. Time passes and things in your life only change if you’re willing to make the change.

After I left China in January 2020 and went to Indonesia on holiday, COVID-19 outbreak occurred that became a pandemic spreading fear, anger, and death all over the world. Countries' borders were closed, and people were held hostages in their own homes. It has been one of the weirdest years I have ever had; I was trapped in Indonesia for eight months, then I was stuck in Ukraine after I got deported from Poland. Bulgaria was the only EU member that opened its borders to tourists, so I flew there as soon as I got the chance. Finally, Germany opened its borders and without thinking for a second, I boarded the bus and hit the road to unite with my family. Once in Germany, I got diagnosed with COVID-19; apparently, I got it from one of the guests at the hostel in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital city. I stayed in Germany for six months, keeping myself busy by learning photography and filmmaking online for free. Not only German immigration office refused to extend my residence in Germany, but also, I had nowhere to go, but home (Canada). Morocco was not an option because I didn't work since I left China and I didn't have access to money in my Chinese bank account. Once you exceed six months out of China, your bank doesn't allow you to get funds using your ATM card. After I landed in Canada, I was forced to use part of the money I borrowed from my brother-in law to pay for the COVID-19 stop-over hotel. Furthermore, it was quite hard to find a job. To find a way to stay optimistic, in times where everything looked gloomy to me, my friend and his wife advised me to study Personal Support Worker (PSW) and start fresh even though this course had nothing to do with my education and something I never thought about. I had heard people talking about PSWs as being very demanding and challenging. However, once I started the program at Anderson College, I got to know my classmates and hear their stories, as well as got to know our teacher Mrs. O'Reilley, who had told us all sorts of interesting and realistic stories about the PSWs and their work in the field. I have begun to grasp the importance of such a certification and how challenging it is. I finally understood how much I underestimated this course and misjudged PSWs and their importance in both the society and job market. I concluded that other people were suffering and going through hard times even more than me. At least, I am still alive and healthy.

It doesn't matter what happens, always stay positive and optimistic. It sounds easy, but it’s harder than that. However, when you listen to other peoples' stories, you will know that you are not the only one suffering. Everyone has their own struggle going!

Courage is grace under pressure. My courageous moment is simple yet motivational. After completing Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS), I took a break and got busy raising my kids. Once they started school, I had free time on my plate but all those lost years being at home and away from my profession took away my courage to pursue my field again. I was clueless about starting and getting back on track. My colleagues were way ahead of me and successfully shining in their respective fields, even my juniors were miles ahead of me. I was left far behind in the race. I was going into depression as I wasted my education, and all those nights of hard work were not as fruitful as I desired them to be. I was looking for options and decided to take baby steps to get back on track. After being away from studies for over 12 years, enjoying and scrolling through social media and Netflix at home, even the thought of studying again wasn’t very pleasing, but as they say, when there is a will there is a way. After numerous nights searching and discussing with my husband how to get back in my field, I came across Anderson College on Facebook. I requested for more information and was contacted by one of the team members who was very friendly, co-operative and navigated me through this life-changing decision. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Lito. He answered all my queries and concerns. I used to ask him the same questions over and over again to clear my doubts and he was kind enough to give detailed answers each time. Furthermore, the follow-up helped me to determine whether I start working on my career or spend the rest of my life in depression. I am thankful to Anderson College for providing me the platform. I am looking forward to a good start of my career again.

It's never too late to start studying again. Just keep in mind, when there is a will there is a way. Never loose hope!

My name is Joanne and I am an Intra Oral Dental Assistant (IODA) here at the Mississauga campus. This year has been interesting for say the least. I don't think I can pinpoint one defining moment but what I can say is that there have been days when exhaustion sets in, and given so many of us are exhausted, I honestly just don't want to do anything. I am actually going through testing to see why I am so tired and some of those tests involve being tested for something called "Hemochromatosis", which is an auto-immune disease indicated by high iron levels.

There are days right now when I don't have much energy. In those moments, I think of my family, my husband for example who is a front-line worker, a paramedic, and even though he is exhausted at times, he keeps going. I look at my amazing class of students who are here to start fresh, begin anew, whether it be a new career or to embark on a new journey and start a new life here in Canada. I look at my kids who have also had to whether the storm through COVID-19; I see how it affects them, but they still keep going. They too, have their ups and downs.

As this point, we have to keep going, keep pursuing even through these challenging times. This is life, it changes. We have been pivoting for the last two years through all of this and we will come out in the end and reflect on "those days". All of the people I mentioned inspire me. I am grateful to be surrounded by amazing people. Being grateful is key to getting through anything that may come our way. I love what I do and that is also my inspiration everyday. Be grateful and smile every single day.

I just hope sharing this offers some inspiration and motivation to others, to know that there are amazing things in life and that we should be grateful for what's in front of us.

It’s been a year since we moved here in Canada, and I still can’t believe it. If you’ll come to think of it, for nine years we had to fight to get here, collecting letters to get here and had to miss a lot of time to spend with my mom. I never got to see her for nine years personally as she had trouble with her papers, until last year November 16, 2020. I grew up under my grandmother’s care with dad and my brother, and it’s difficult to spend teen years without mom who should have been at my side guiding me and supporting me. It sounds selfish but I’m kind of jealous of my friends who got to spend their time and special moments in the presence of their mothers. During my events like graduation, school events, performances, I wanted her to shout my name and cheer for me in the crowd while smiling at me or even defend me from the people who bullied me, but it was my fight, so I needed to be strong. I was aware, being depressed never got a good impact or outcome. Graduating in Senior High School is the least I expected to be good, because I lost interest to go to school so I didn’t expect that I will graduate with an honor. Knowing that made me happy because I know my mom is proud of me. Now I really need someone to be there beside me and put my medal. I graduated with my dad and brother beside me. Oh, how I wanted my mom to be there too. We can’t tell if these people around us are there to support us or criticize us. I felt stuck but I’m proud of myself for fighting my own battles and multi-tasking while working and being a student at the same time. I chose to pursue further studies and took advantage of the online classes, because I’m going to pay my own tuition, thankfully with the help of OSAP which I’ve been eligible for. I also need to help and support my family since my dad is the only one with a permanent job right now, while my mom is still cleaning houses part-time due to her job loss suffered during COVID-19. At least I’m on my way to success and I’m happy to spend these tough times with my family and be the one to continue to encourage them that we’ll get through this together.

It's important to have patience, taking things slowly is not making you weak or bad it's you who will make it so take your time and trust yourself. Always think positively and always look for the good side of life and good side of people to succeed in life.

The courageous moment I’ve experienced in the past would be when I arrived here in Canada.

I had a lot of questions in my mind even before I started to work on my application for Canada. The first question was about what my future would be like there, as I didn’t have family going with me. What would happen to me when I got there and what if my employer didn’t like me and terminated me? Those things rattled around in my mind before I decided to move to Canada. In addition, I encountered some problems concerning my documentation work as well. Although I was experiencing those things, I still bravely pursued applying and working to immigrate. Even though I had few friends here, they were still far from where I lived.

My inspiration in life is my family. One of my greatest inspirations was my mom. She gave me courage and hope to go on, and to face all the challenges I encounter in life. She inspires me the most because she raised her sibling by herself and worked as a domestic helper in another country. She's the person who supported me financially, for my college studies. I adored her and idolized her as a good parent. The second person who influences me and gives me courage to conquer any battle in life, is my husband. He's my ally in everything; he is always there for me when I feel empty, when I'm sad, and when I'm facing any difficulty in life. He supports me in everything. That’s why I chose him from among all my admirers because he knows my weaknesses, my strengths and cheers me up when I'm feeling hopeless.

I will say I'm a conqueror now because of the things that have happened in my life; I overcame my fear of being alone in a faraway place. I conquered all the trials by myself. With the support of my loved ones, I also achieved my status in Canada as a Permanent Resident.

Now I'm a student at one of the most respected schools in Canada, at the Anderson College. I decided to choose this College and study here because I have a dream to become a successful Medical Laboratory Technician. In this career I can pursue my biggest dream, to work in the medical field. I do it for me and for my family’s future. Next, I’m starting to apply for my husband’s spousal sponsorship, as he is going to be with me too, and we will both pursue our dreams, together.

I hope to encourage others to conquer their fears, to pursue the passions burning inside them, and release them by taking action. This is the start to encouraging yourself to dream, and the next step is working courageously toward that dream.

I am writing with respect to a man who has been an incredible teacher, mentor and friend to me during my time as an instructor at Anderson College, especially during the almost two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the support of Dean Boukydis, I was able to survive and thrive during this time of virtual learning. I will be forever grateful to him for giving me strength, courage, and inspiration during this time. Without his support, I would not have been able to continue doing what I love doing – teaching.

I am always trying to perfect my craft. Dean's knowledge and expertise in teaching were highly instructive to me. He often shared articles and his own experience on how to best engage students in the classroom, as well as how to empower them to face their challenges outside of the classroom. If my students enjoyed my classes, it is because Dean taught me invaluable lessons on how to bring out the best in my students. In turn, Dean brought out the best in me. I always appreciated Dean's encouragement and mentorship. Dean both praised those things I did well and challenged me to continually strive to be better in areas that I needed to improve.

I have grown as a teacher, and I now challenge myself to always be better because of Dean. He also encouraged me to take on teaching assignments that were unfamiliar or that covered areas in which I lacked confidence. Dean recognized my potential before I recognized it in myself, and it was in those classes that I had some of my most memorable teaching experiences.

Finally, Dean has been a trusted friend to me. While I faced my own personal issues during the pandemic, he was always there to lend an ear and support me. He understands that people are just people, not machines, and sometimes even the strongest among us need support. I witnessed countless acts of selflessness by him, both for myself and others whom he assisted during this time. He often worked to help those around him with the only reward being a simple "Thank you."

To Dean, I will always be grateful. Dean empowered me to take my role beyond teacher, to mentor. I will always strive to emulate the positive example that he set for me and take on all of my responsibilities with strength and courage. Thank you, Dean.

I hope that others will recognize that there are mentors all around us who want to see the best in us. Sometimes we lose sight of this.
Always be grateful for the incredible people around you.

Getting out of my comfort zone, was not easy. Leaving my loved ones, especially my kids, was certainly not easy.

In 2019, after I graduated back in my home country, it came to my mind to study in Canada. So, I mentioned it to my family, and they supported me. I decided to apply for a student visa, and I’m so thankful because they granted me the visa. As my flight was approaching, it made me feel emotional because I had to leave my kids behind with my family; that moment was very difficult for me. As a mom, being away from your children is not easy because you know you won’t be able to see them grow or have quality time with them, especially on special occasions. But I focused on what the future for my children could be. I reminded myself that I needed to pursue this because it’s all for them, so that I can give them a better future.

I arrived in Canada last January 2020 and started the ECA program at Anderson College. I met new friends, my teacher, and the nice staff at the school. But after a few weeks in school, we had to face COVID-19, which made it more difficult for us because we had to switch to online classes and adjust to many new things. But with the courage we had, the dedication to pursue our dream, we finished our program and were able to graduate in January of 2021. We were so happy because finally, even with the many trials and challenges we had to face, we still made it. I did all of this with the help of my family, even though they were far away. They were still there to support me.

After graduation, I met a family that helped me get a permit for working as a nanny. I accepted the position because it was a big help for me to be able to continue my dream here in Canada. Now, I am happily working with this family. In March 2021, my husband finally came here too and I’m so happy that we are together again. But even though I’m happy he’s here, I feel sad because my kids are still in the Philippines. I am hoping and praying that they will be with me very soon too, because I really missed them, and I want to be with them again. I am striving so hard because of them. They are my inspiration, my strength to face all the challenges in life.

We all have inspirations that help us in achieving our dreams. As I always tell myself, we just have to be courageous. Someone once told me that the riskier the situation is, the more it is worth it. Just continue to chase your dreams and one day you’ll get there. We’re never too old to have a dream. Believe in yourself and have courage.

Reminiscing over the last 20 months of working remotely, I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish. I remember that ominous Friday afternoon when we were given the news that we were mandated to work from home. Mihkel packed me up with a desktop computer to take home (he connected all the wires for me!) and off I went to the unknown. Little did any of us realize that this would be our new reality.

I was scared and unsure of what the future would look like. But the days, weeks and months have flown by, and I am amazed by how much I have grown as an individual and part of the Anderson College team. I am humbled by the friendships I have formed with staff members I had never even met before and the bonds we’ve cemented are undeniably strong.

My students have trusted me to lead their program and help them thrive in their chosen field. I still have very strong ties with past graduates especially one student that enrolled in the Cardio Technology program. I met her at a job fair that I used to frequent at One King West. She was a newcomer who arrived in Canada under the Express Entry system as an Engineer from India. She was interested in the cardio tech career as she always wanted to become a doctor, but her mother discouraged her. She was so very focused on this particular career. Heather (Cardio Chair) took a chance on her as she didn't have the usual background in science. She has excelled and we have maintained a very close friendship.

I am amazed and in awe by the human spirit, how we have all, not only survived but flourished in this time of uncertainty. Whatever the future holds for us we have grown in phenomenal ways, breaking boundaries as we move forward.

I feel it is important to always look at the positive side of everything. We need to trust the process. Things will change and we need to realize that life has ups and downs and it is what we do with these experiences that shape us.

This story is not about me, but about the many students who arrive in Canada from many different parts of the world in search of a better life, and students who beat all the odds to succeed and have a career. I am in awe of the courage these people have, to start over with families or on their own.

I often hear "I am alone here; I don't have anyone here to help me"; most of them are raising children as well. So many of the students work tirelessly at home, have a job to support their families and then study their programs to achieve an education, sometimes all three. The work that is put in to grasping and understanding the material is greater than what I would ever have had to do. The language barrier is the hardest thing to overcome as some students have only been in the country for a short time. It takes much more time, work and effort to understand words and terminology that they need to learn for their chosen careers. Not all students have great support systems at home either.

The determination and effort that I see is so inspiring to me, as I can not even imagine the daily lives of some of the students. I have seen the perils of just making it through a day and the obstacles some students face to be here. The desire to find a career that will fulfill and enrich our lives is something most of us take for granted, so to see the joy and confidence education can bring is very rewarding for me as an instructor. Probably one of the more heart-felt things I witness in class are students becoming lifelong friends and support systems. Others grow to rely on, confide in, one another and offer understand with no judgements. The willingness to learn and help fellow students is something that is encouraged, but in some it is a natural trait that shines. I feel so blessed every day to meet these people who inspire me with the courage it takes to live their daily lives. It helps me to grow as an instructor and to become a better person.

Never take a nice lifestyle for granted. Try seeing the world through another’s eyes to see what some people have to go through for themselves or for their families. Learn from others, show compassion and put a smile on someone's face. It's a good feeling.

My name is June Sotelo, I'm 27 years old and currently taking the PSW course at Anderson College. The reason I decided to pursue this course is because I made a promise to my grandmother before she passed away. I told her that I would finish my school no matter what happens. My grandmother was my number one supporter, and she truly loved me for who I am.

My grandmother passed away a few years ago and I was very heartbroken. I lost myself for few years; a lot of bad things happened to me, and I made a lot of wrong decisions in my life, letting my emotions take control over me. A lot of people knew me as a failure, no future, no money, as one who gives up easily, and wouldn't finish college. Only my grandmother believed in me. The hardest thing for me is that it’s my own family and relatives who make me feel useless and treat me like I have no future. In my family if you don’t have a good education and you're not making good money, you are nothing to them. That is why I learned to be humble, nice and to love my family and others no matter what happens. Even if those I care about have nothing, I will never be blinded by money. My father always tells me, "Look at your cousins, they are nurses now and making good money. Look at your friends, they all finished college, and look at yourself".

I know I wasted a lot of years, but I want to prove to others that I can be something and I will finish my school. I want to do this for my family especially for my father, and my grandmother. I also want to do this for my kids, to give them a better life. I don't want my kids to experience my past. I want them to finish school and have a good and happy life. I'm tired of losing and I will finish my school no matter what happens. Anderson College gave me the opportunity to be something, and I won't waste it. How I wish my grandmother was still alive today and to see me graduate. I want to dedicate my diploma to her and tell her, "Hi Grandma, I Did It! I hope you are proud of me".

Life taught me that no matter what happens to you, you just need to keep moving forward. You don't need to look back at your negative past; just let it go and everything will be okay. This is for you Grandma Flora! I love you so much and I miss you a lot.

Don't give up and don't lose hope. Life will teach you that no matter what happens, you just need to keep moving forward and don’t focus on looking back.
Just let it go and everything will be okay.
Stay happy and positive!

December 31, 2014, in South Korea. The darkest morning that I have ever experienced and will never forget. A stranger grabbed me from behind and tried to cover my mouth. I blacked out for a few seconds. The next thing I remembered was that I was crying out loud, screaming, and running towards the end of the ally. People on the street looked at me as if I was a crazy person. My brain went numb. I couldn't fully understand what happened to me until that night. While the world was celebrating the new year, I became a victim of attempted abduction. When I talked about what happened, people said I was lucky - I was lucky because nothing happened. I didn't get beaten up, raped, or murdered. So, I guess they're right.

Then I started getting extremely anxious, especially in the dark. Even in my bedroom, I couldn't turn off the lights. Endless nightmares became a routine. While standing at the front door, I had panic attacks. I was scared and confused, but more ashamed of experiencing the reactions to trauma because "nothing" happened to me.

It didn't take too long before I fell into depression. After two years of suffering, I found myself holding a knife in the middle of a night. I cried for the longest time. It took five more years to stop feeling ashamed of myself. At the beginning of this journey, I moved to Canada hoping that I would get better professional help than in Korea. But nothing really changed. I was still hiding in my room struggling with depression or anxiety. I wanted to get better but didn't know where to start.

Then one day, a very special person came to my door and started knocking. That person saw a little courage in me. He understood where I was since he had gone through a similar experience. With his support, I was able to grow my courage to take therapy sessions and medication. I still get scared and confused from time to time, but now I know how to get myself back together. I don’t see myself as a victim anymore. I am a survivor. Everything has two sides: the good and the bad. I wish that man had never attacked me, but then I might not have moved to Canada and met my soulmate. I was deeply damaged, but it taught me how to be vulnerable. Now I am with that guy, we recently promised to share a future together and we have two beautiful cats that we love to the moon and back. Life is tough, but there is so much to live for.

Anything can happen in life. I never thought I would get attacked by a stranger. Whatever you are going through right now, please remember that you are stronger than you think. You got this.

It started on a midsummer’s day in March of 2020, when I had received the devastating news that my beloved grandmother had passed away. It filled me with so much grief, that, at first, I was in denial. We had a promise that she’d come to my graduation. Instead, she haunted my reality. Everywhere I went, I was reminded of her. Her favourite colour, red, on the sunset sky that I wish we could have seen together. My heart throbbed. I thought, "Grandma why did you have to do this to me?” Every morning I would wake up, unable to move. Everything felt numb, I wondered if there was even a point to living. I heard my phone buzz off in the distance. I saw messages saying, “Hey, are you doing alright? We haven’t seen you since March.” I lied, “Yeah, everything’s fine.” There was nothing they could do to bring her back to life. Nothing felt the same anymore. The sports that used to bring me joy, didn’t; the food that once made me drool didn’t matter. I didn’t even notice that I became anorexic. Now, anything I did made me feel nauseous. As I lay on my bed, I felt the rays of the sun touching my skin. It felt warm – warm as the hugs my grandma would give. I would burst into tears, sobbing.

As I look back at it now, the consequences I faced were losing everything I did have left - my friends, my family, and then eventually, myself. My breaking point, the severity of my eating disorder at its worst, was when I became 76lbs. I did not eat for almost a week straight. I began seeking professional counselling. After all, I couldn’t do this alone. With the advice and help they gave, I began to pull myself together. At first, it was hard. There was always a constant battle in my head, tears from the night before. However, I slowly started healing and accepting the fact that my grandma was gone.

In the beginning, the only things that forced me out of bed every morning were the two jobs I was working to pay for my college tuition. After months of hard work, I started anew in a new city, financially responsible for myself. I started pursuing the school both grannie and I wanted me to attend, Anderson College. Although I recovered from her death, there are still times when I break down at the thought of her. However, I know she would be proud of who I have become; a hard-working woman who, at 17, bought her own car, paid for college completely by herself, overcame an eating disorder, and moved an hour away to Hamilton, where I now reside.

With my story, I want others to see that there is a way out of grief and mental illness (anorexia). I hope it inspires others to realize that even though you may struggle in the moment, good things are to come as well.

While sharing with you the moments I felt most courageous, I will say I was not the only one. Hundreds of thousands of people were also courageous in these moments. Lives were on the edge and the situation we faced forced us to choose to survive.

It was a Saturday morning. Normally it would have been a week off, but I was working in my factory on an urgent export shipment with over 35 other women workers. Their children were also playing on the premises, as it was the weekend and childcare was available to them. I remember, Laxmi was talking with other women artisans about the Hindu New Year festive moments they’d spent with their families, as she made the finishing touches to the woollen garments that were to be delivered in the next few days. I was also on the same floor giving instructions and helping them to complete the shipment.

All of a sudden, everyone fell down. Sewing machines, tables and chairs started shaking, tremors were so hard, back and forth. Before we could even understand what was happening, the front side wall collapsed, and then the ceiling fell to the ground on the same side. There in front of my eyes, my people were injured, some severely hurt; everyone was screaming. I shouted to take the people who were injured downstairs, but those who were okay were already making their way downstairs. I shouted to Laxmi to support me, and we gathered our strength to pull, and help injured people to get downstairs. In my mind was the thought that I would not let my people die. It took us four to five rounds to get every injured person downstairs, between those terrifying tremors and the shaking structure. Others came to me for help after seeing my strength for my people. But every time we went back upstairs it felt like we would not return. Fortunately, luck was with me that day.

We were in the middle of a heart-rending earthquake that was toppling buildings in front of our eyes; people were injured and dead; the screams echoed everywhere. When the disaster rescue teams came to help, we were guided to tents and told to stay there. I supported my family during the stay in the tents. Hundreds of aftershocks kept on coming. Even a month and two weeks later, another major earthquake hit our area. Thankfully we were already in tents and safe, together.

I’ve tried to explain here what happened, but I know I can't really describe those moments of my life. It was the deadliest of nightmares, a disaster that swept through our home, taking thousands of lives, and changing all meaning in life for so many. I had some serious injuries too that I’m going to carry with me for the rest of my life, right along with the courage that allowed me to survive that experience and that will help me to face whatever comes my way!

Kristina Rajthala.
(Survivor of Nepal Earthquake 2015)

"The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” – Leo Tolstoy

I believe that courage can come from a lot of different sources – family, friends, from ourselves or even from strangers. We have all had these moments when we’ve had to be a bit stronger than we already were and take that one step forward even if we’re feeling weak, shaking, tired, hopeless and alone.

For me, it was the time that I chose to go to Anderson College and continue my studies despite losing of my father. I lost my father a month before the start of my program at Anderson College in the Intra Oral Dental Assistant Level 1 and 2 program. The loss itself was already painful but I also had to deal with it far from my family, as they live in the Philippines. The pandemic made it a lot worse because I also couldn’t go back home to attend the funeral. At that time, I was not sure if I could manage to leave and continue to study because I was not at my best; I was mourning. Although my father was already gone by that time, I can say that the courage that I had was mainly from him. I had this thought, that I wanted to continue my studies because I knew that this is what my father would want me to do. I wanted to make him proud. I want to make my family proud.

That courage, along with the support and love of my husband, is what made me strong enough to take that one step that I needed. Now, I am almost at the last stage of my journey at Anderson College, as I will be starting my placement in December 2021. It’s been a year since my father passed away and I could not be happier or more thankful for the courage that my father, and loved ones, gave me. I’ve met a lot of new friends. I have great instructors and learning this new career has actually helped me divert my focus and attention during the lowest time of my life. Like me, may everyone find the courage needed for whatever situation they are in – find it, take it, use it and be thankful for it.

I hope that anyone who is experiencing a low point in their lives right now will find courage from hearing my story. I hope that it gives others a sense of positivity, realizing that something beautiful can come from a painful experience.

Life isn't fair, it is not easy either. But what's beautiful about life is, we all have the chance to challenge every adversity and create our own path to follow. I was born with loving and caring parents. An extended family is quite normal in my country, the Philippines. As I grew up, I witnessed how my aunts financially contributed willingly to finish my Nursing School. I am forever grateful, blessed for having kind and generous people around me. Ever since I was a little girl, I've been dreaming to be a Nurse. I love and enjoy looking after people. In my early teens, my grandmother fell ill. This situation demonstrated how good I was at a caring job. My parents were busy working, so after school, I had to contribute my fair share of looking after my grandmother. This encouraged me to study harder and set my goal to be a Nurse, one day. As a Nursing student, I worked very hard, complying with the necessary requirements to get good grades. I want my parents to be happy, to reciprocate all their sacrifices and give them a better life especially in their twilight years. More so, it was my intention to show gratitude to my aunts who never fail to show their love to me. They never oblige me to pay them back but to fulfill my dreams is enough for them. My dream came true, I am now an official registered Filipino Nurse! I work as a Nurse, dealing with different patients. Every patient gives me joy and satisfaction, especially when I do things for them that restrict them to do; when I see their improvements; when we share stories, make them laugh; and when I make them feel comfortable in my presence. Nursing is a rewarding profession. But life is an endless struggle. COVID-19 struck the whole world unprepared. It was a test of every Nurse's dedication, compassion, and integrity. I must do my duty. I work with willingness. Saving one's life is important, I have to focus on this. I hurdled all the sleepless nights, busy and tiring hospital shifts. This is where my courageous moment is tested. I decided to study at Anderson College to widen the horizon of my knowledge. I am an only child, just thinking about the possibility of being away from my family, relatives and friends needs courage. But my life's experience needs enhancement. I believe that by doing this, people around me will benefit too.

Amid adversity, there is hope. Patience, hard work and perseverance are great tools to achieve our dreams. No matter how many times we stumble, we must stand up and strive harder. Let self-determination, love for family and humanity inspire us.

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you". As a Christian, this has always been my guide. I believe that the most courageous thing that I have done is to get out of my comfort zone just to try my luck here in Canada.

My family are the ones who make me feel secure. Back home, I would usually go to work at the clinic, meet my patients, mingle with my friends, then bond with my family. I must say that back home I was filled with joy and love, not to mention the fact that I had a stable source of income. Some may say that leaving my home and moving io a country that is thousands of miles away, as a foreign student, is probably the most insane decision. Others could attest to the fact that Canada is a country with promising opportunities. But for someone who doesn't know anyone in this country and with a family who is a thousand miles away, living here is somehow like holding a rose which is fragrant and majestic but with the threat of thorns that could cause pain. Yes, I have personally seen Canada’s beautiful spots, met friends, and mingled with them but every single time I realize that my life back home is totally different; I couldn't help but pray to the Lord to grant me more courage.

Working has been one of the greatest adjustments. Back home, I am a dentist but now, I have to do a blue-collar job as I can only work part-time. Believe me when I say that my career shifted 360 degrees. Although I think of it as an opportunity to explore my skills, there are times when I want to give up because it feels tedious to do part-time jobs like babysitting. Sometimes, I feel exhausted, but there is no time to rest because I have to accomplish my requirements for school. Another challenge is homesickness. As a hands-on mom to my kids, I feel bad that I can only see them through video calls. With the length of time that I have to stay in this country, it pains me to realize that I will be missing some of their milestones. I wish to state that life away from home is quite scary, as I have to deal with the roller coaster of emotions with only a few friends to support me here.

But with God's grace, I believe that this sacrifice will all be worth it because at the end of the day, I will go back home with an awesome experience and qualifications which will improve the kind of life that I will share with my family.

I strongly wish that my humble story shall serve as a reminder that although every big decision we make requires tedious sacrifice and courage, we have to always remember that no matter how difficult this task is, the Lord will always be there for us.

“Life’s short” as they say, which encourages us to live fully without any regrets. But if we look at it closely- what is life really about? Whatever we think it is, life is made up of all these questions that seem to have no concrete answers. The thing is: it’s an abstract idea that we have only defined in our own construct of words. But if there’s a phrase to sum it all up: life is the existence of humanity.

Every shared moment we have with our families, friends, and loved ones are what makes us truly live. It’s not the material worth, but the feeling we’ve enjoyed and felt that makes our existence worthwhile. I was once remembering when I left my home country for a greener pasture in Canada. Life back home was kind of hard. We weren’t rich enough to have what we all needed. I was young and restless. Leaving my parents, my family and especially my children wasn’t easy. It was tough, sorrowful, and I was in agony. But I have goals for my children. I always look forward, for the rising sun and beautiful rainbows in the sky. I embrace vulnerability. I always think positively and try to cope with the uncertainties that life throws at me. Living alone in this new world is a sign of courageousness. Facing my fears demonstrates my bravery.

As the world suddenly stopped amidst the pandemic, it gave us more time to think, pause, and realize the true, deep value of our lives. Despite the relentless challenges that humanity faces, we remain steadfast and strong. We have had the longest time of silence in the world —one that’s not deafening, but rather quiet, an opportunity to understand and cherish the running time of life. It’s an awakening for us to look beyond the temporary and exist more instead.

Now, the question lies for you to answer: Will you still wait for the sunset to live another day? Like the ocean waves, go with the tides and stay afloat—not only to survive, but to embrace the crashing waves. Let us be courageous no matter what happens and gently pat yourself on the back for you made it, you survived amidst all challenges!

Life is like a battle. We are the soldiers. We all have scars; we are going to have more. Don't ever let fear control you. Always fight back for a cause. Know that you can win. Be a great valour! It means courage, or bravery, in every battle.

A way to exercise courage daily is by facing life's challenges head-on. When you try to avoid these difficulties, you not only miss out on growth opportunities for yourself but also the chance to set the example and demonstrate courage to others. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself or for someone else, approach these opportunities with respect, confidence, and courage. One of the most common acts we see is when someone stands up for what they believe in or their core values. From my experience this year in 2021, I’m proud to share this with you all that I didn’t think I could’ve finished the Medical Office Administrator (MOA) course at Anderson College. However, despite all the hardships with my full-time job as a Personal Support Worker (PSW) and along with the ongoing COVID-19 at the same time, I tried my best to study hard to pass all my subjects. Even though, in the middle of the course, I almost wanted to quit as I was tired and stressed. After my work I would arrive home at 5:00 pm to attend class at 6:00 pm, covering all my assignments, reviewing them after and also sit for tests at night. My brain would feel so exhausted with headaches each night. Then one night, I talked to my instructor Miss Farrah, I told her how I wanted to stop studying because it was getting too much for me. But Miss Farrah responded back saying that we were halfway through the course. I decided to continue the course and I’m so thankful to Miss Farrah Riyahi to motivate me and encourage me to continue since I learned a lot too. I challenged myself because I really wanted to move on to other journey in my life despite of my tough job as a PSW since 2013. This is a difficult job, to work for clients with dementia and disabilities which requires a lot of patience. I studied the MOA program to change my job and I’m hoping I can apply to exercise my knowledge as a Medical Office Administrator. I’m also proud that I passed all my subjects despite of my age, at least my memory is still well. I’m thankful to all my MOA instructors for their patience in teaching us especially, Miss Farrah. Even though sometimes she gave us difficult test and assignments, I liked them because that’s how students can learn better. So, thank you for that.

The inspiration that I can offer is to become courageous and proud in whatever you do in life. Be patient and passionate, and you must believe in yourself to face all the challenges that come your way.

I was 30 years old when I took a leap of faith!

I have always been self-reliant. I had a very good life and a valuable career back home in the Philippines, when I decided to join hands with my then boyfriend Alex, who worked as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in South Korea. One day, he asked that one big question that would change my life forever. He proposed to me, while on video chat, and promised me just one thing, that I would have a good life with him. It was not an easy decision to make to move to be with him, especially since I had not been out of my country for the past three decades of my existence. The thought of leaving my family, especially my parents, and a promising career made it even more difficult to choose.

I prayed hard and sought my parent’s advice. They told me that I should have courage trust and rely on Alex’s promise. It was only then that I knew it would be the best decision of my life. But as they say, marriage is not always a bed of roses. The time came when we needed to decide what was best for our family. Once again, I found the courage to trust my husband and I moved back to the Philippines to raise our daughter by myself, while my husband stayed back in South Korea. This lasted for almost a decade; imagine married life in a long-distance relationship like that! All glory goes to God! Fast forward to today, we are now here in Canada as landed immigrants for over a year and a half.

I would like to give credit to my amazing husband who worked so hard to get us to where we are now and to his current employer who helped us settle here. Currently, I am enrolled at Anderson College as a full-time student pursuing the Medical Office Administrator program, while working part-time in one of the largest companies in the health care industry as an administrative assistant. Looking back, I wonder how my life would have turned out had I not found the courage to share my life with someone, with Alex. Now, I am proud to say that my husband never fails to amaze me by fulfilling his promise to give me a good life – we are living it!

Courage coupled with trust and prayers will pave the way. Courage will take us to that special place we once dreamed of.

My courageous moment was for a good cause, and it was an experience I will cherish forever.

One day, my mother came across a foundation called Angel Hair for Kids. This organization provides wigs and hair loss solutions to financially disadvantaged children in Canada who have lost their hair due to various illnesses or cancer therapy. The Foundation aims to help children with their self-esteem and confidence by providing wig options, and ultimately, ease the hardships and financial issues surrounding hair loss. Instantly, I felt joy and a desire to do it. I was in grade 3 when I first donated my hair to this Foundation. My mother and I arranged a hair appointment at one of their salon partners, and I donated 12 inches of braided hair. I walked away looking much different with my new, freshly styled bob.

I have always had very long hair. My mother would make my hair into different hairstyles and braid it daily. I would say that I was emotionally attached to my long hair, but I still decided to gift it because I could only imagine how other children my age or older felt, not being able to grow their hair due to unfortunate circumstances. I realized mine would eventually grow back and that this little act of kindness could have a big impact on someone else. Growing up if one looks different from their peers it can be tough to make friends or might make one feel like they don’t fit in. It can also cause self-esteem issues and affect one’s self-perception, due to possibly being singled out for looking different. I kept thinking about girls my age admiring dolls and their long hair or fun hairstyles and then not being able to have that hair or express themselves with it, all while having to battle with the emotional and physical pain of illness. In the end, I was so happy I had decided to donate my hair. I received a certificate and a Thank You note from the Foundation.

Since then, I have donated my hair on two more occasions. As I grew older my hair played a bigger role in my identity and self-esteem. I found it harder to cut my hair to shorter lengths, but my desire to help others overpowered my doubts and fear and gave me courage. I found this experience so enriching, as it brought me awareness and humility as a child, taught me to always walk with gratitude for the most common of things and to be mindful of other’s struggles. I still have my certificate of donation, and I am thrilled to have this memory, as well as knowing that I was able to help others in a small but meaningful way.

I hope others read my story and it brings more awareness to the challenges these children face. I also hope my story leads by example and encourages others to show kindness and selflessness.

My sister’s fiery courage to pursue a dream.

Courage doesn't always have to be demonstrated through the extreme. Sometimes it's in the simple choices that we make. And what happens in your life when your choice is to play with fire every day? That's the story of my sister Amalia Docena, the first female firefighter in the Philippines in the 80's. It’s an incredible story too.

All Amalia dreamed of was wearing a uniform. Amalia was the first woman to apply to a fire engineering course at the National Fire Service College in Manila (Philippines), a one-of a kind college in southeast Asia, run by the Home Ministry. Her first hurdle - her family. It’s not a job women take up, conventionally. Being the only woman in that college, she had to face a lot of issues, even with its very infrastructure, but she remained steadfast. Lack of accommodations for females forced her to commute and made life difficult, and hectic too. But these challenges were nothing compared to the expectations people had. As she became the torchbearer for women in this field, the weight of heavy water hoses, mock drill dummies etc. (which were heavy for everyone) became heavier for her in a society that's often ready to mock a woman doing something new. However, she sailed through all of it.

Amalia Dorena's story of courage is about doing something no one has done before, about swimming against the tides, and achieving your dream against the odds. Her story is one to motivate us all – to inspire each of one of us to have courage and absolute faith in our dream … and succeed.

I think about the times when we were still in the care of our parents and
how the fruits of my sister’s hard work influenced me.
Clarity of purpose precedes our journey’s success. When you believe something can be done, passionately work to pave a way to achieve it!

In the early hours of October 11th, 2020, a flood of medical professionals burst into the delivery room. What had, moments earlier, been a smooth birth process, within seconds escalated without warning. The quiet of the room had been replaced by obstetricians shouting to nurses who were, in turn, shouting to the technicians setting up equipment. I quickly lost all semblance of place. I became helpless and scared. In many ways, it mirrored our year.

Everything had started out wonderfully. We had spent our honeymoon in Mexico. There, on a beach, we put the finishing touches on the plans for our soon-to-launch business. Returning home, we stepped off the plane in Toronto, and were greeted by people murmuring about something called “COVID-19”. But the weirdness we experienced at the airport was forgotten when we learned we were expecting a baby (business planning wasn't all we did on our honeymoon).

The ensuing lockdown forced our business to close before it opened, wiping out our savings with it. Days later, we were released from our jobs with the promise that they'd call us when we could come back. But, lying in the delivery room, waiting to meet my daughter, I was very aware that I still hadn't received that call.

During the lockdown, many people grew depressed, and some did terrible things. For example, my hometown was the epicentre of the deadliest mass shooting in Canada; I read the victims list, horrified to see the names of close family friends listed amongst the dead. The shooting, along with many other problems, disillusioned me. The world seemed reprehensible. Why was no one helping anyone else amidst all this cruelty? Bringing a child into this world seemed irresponsible.

Back in the delivery room, I watched as a group of strangers took control of what could have been a dire situation and turn it into a normal one. That night, as I held my daughter, I thought about the people who had helped her enter the world safely, strangers whose masked faces I never saw. I thought about my hometown and all the people who risked their lives to save others. At that moment, it dawned on me that there were helpers, people who truly cared for others, everywhere; I had just been blind to them. I began to wonder, "How could I contribute as they do? How can I make the world a better place for my daughter?" My self-reflection was interrupted by a technician coming to take a blood sample. As they worked, I hovered over their shoulder. Patiently, they explained what they were doing while tenderly handling my daughter. Once completed, I asked one final question, "How can I do what you do?" Their answer is why I'm here.

During the bad experiences in life, look for the helpers.
There are always helpers. You can be one too.

I had been working in Hong Kong as a domestic helper away from my family. It was hard for me to be separated from my loved ones. Later, I decided to pursue my dreams in Canada. I had a lot of challenges here in Canada alone, but I never gave up.

Here and expecting a baby, another experience lay before me. Due to COVID-19, my birthing plan was rearranged. My husband was not there, no visitors were allowed. I was only allowed one person to assist me during labour and delivery. My friend Hazel, also a personal support worker, stayed with me, as other visitors were not permitted. This was certainly an unprecedented time in our history, and I was bringing a new human life right into the middle of it. When I first found out I was pregnant, I was worried about how to balance a baby, school and work. I never imagined I would have to add a global pandemic to that list and to be so far away from everyone.

While it was not in my plan to have a baby right before graduation, it is what happened. Of course, I am not the only, or first, person to become a mom in college. For me, this was comforting; my mindset has always been, if they can do it, so can I. Knowing so many people in the same kind of situation, who, like me, were parents, gave me the courage to overcome this struggle. Another struggle during this hard time was the isolation, as everyone was in quarantine mode. If you are a parent, you will understand. When you first bring home a baby, you appreciate all the help you can get. In this case, I was urged to stay home for many months before my practicum, so my baby could build an immune system. But finally, being able to finish my course, I felt such great joy and peace.

I hope to uplift others and make a difference every day. The light within us can show up in the form of characteristics like love, vitality, passion, enthusiasm, optimism, kindness, generosity, warmth, empathy, caring, compassion, positivity, and hope.
When the light within us is strong we will find our way.
Never Give up. Stay focused and keep learning.

Year 2021-My year. I believe this year has been a roller coaster ride due to the threat of the pandemic but despite all the struggles and circumstances, I had the courage to take a big step and took my board exams to become a Registered Medical Technologist here in the Philippines. It was a tough decision to push through, since we were all experiencing lockdowns and financial problems, but my dreams and goals have been far bigger than any of that. I needed to do my best and believe that I could.

There are lots of things to consider with everything that’s happened, especially with this pandemic effecting so much in our country. It is not so easy to travel and move around town due to may checkpoints and requirements, but I still feel I have to go out and do everything I can. Luckily, I passed my board exam! I feel happiness beyond compare, as making it happen was overwhelming. Now I am working as one of the frontline workers. The challenges that this pandemic caused could not stop me from striving harder to become more of who I’m meant to be. I wear my pack of courage and survive the threats I face with dignity and pride, as my profession calls for me to do.

Being on the frontlines during this pandemic is really a big challenge, but also an opportunity to help and be someone who is fighting in this battle alongside those in need. The tiring workload plus the heat and sweat in wearing a hazmat suit all day long makes me feel exhausted but my burning passion keeps me motivated to work harder. There are days when I do not even have the chance to eat a decent meal due to the numerous tests that I have to complete. And I need to cater to every laboratory test requested as we are dealing directly with the lives of all our patients. There is no room for excuses, only to work and help my team.

While working, I dreamt of studying and going far beyond my current comfort zone. And then, I came across Anderson College. As an aspiring international student, it was kind of hard for me to leave my home, but deep inside I know that I can do more and learn more. I am taking chances and widening my horizons, not just for myself but for my dreams for my family.

Every struggle has its own victory.
Believe in yourself and dream big. You are the master of your own fate.

As a healthcare professional your main job is to help people who are in need, but a task like that is not always as easy as it first appears. Let’s turn back to the summer of 2018: before the pandemic and lockdowns and the never-ending sense of imminent danger that has consumed us as a society.

I was a promising young pharmacist just starting out on his career in the field. I had what some would refer to as the Holy Trinity of Healthcare: good money, a comfortable job, and patients who loved me. But it wasn’t long before I realized that all this success wasn’t enough; it wasn’t the reason why I got into healthcare. I got into pharmacy to help people. And that meant I had to get uncomfortable. So, I decided to do just that: get uncomfortable. Within a few weeks I had signed up with an organization called CMANA (Coptic Medical Association of North America): a small, relatively unknown group of medical professionals who travel to developing countries to help establish clinics in impoverished communities. Before I knew it, I was on a plane to Bolivia, starting my first medical missionary trip.

For many of you reading this, this story might not seem like a big deal, and for a lot of human beings you would be correct. The only difference is that for me, in my mental state at the time, this was a huge deal. I had always been a stickler for the rules, a sucker for structure, and the most risk-averse person you could ever meet (in retrospect, these are actually very common qualities for a lot of healthcare professionals starting off). And here I was, travelling to a foreign country for the first time, with a group of people I had never met, to where I didn’t speak the language, and (truth be told) I had no idea how much I was legally allowed to do in that country. The idea alone kept me up at night. The job was simple enough: create and run a medical clinic. From scratch. Every day in a different city. How hard could that be? Especially given my inability to speak Spanish. And it was the greatest growth experience of my life.

You don’t know your strength, your ability to improvise, or how much you are capable of until you’re pushed into it. And I was pushed hard. I learned so much, not only about my profession, my peers, my patients, but also about myself. So do it. Get out there and get uncomfortable. How else are you going to grow?

Simply put … get out there! Explore the areas outside of your comfort zone, take some risks, and learn something new about yourself. The only way to grow is to get uncomfortable, so go ahead. Find something you are passionate about and do something that scares you. Who knows what you'll learn.

For the past six years I’ve been a stay-home-mom. From being a career woman, I’ve decided to devote my time to my budding family with two wonderful kids. People who knew me way before I moved to Canada, and all the people who became my friends here always ask me about my career move. Will I continue my nursing profession, will I do good on my business, will I do anything else, do I have any other plans, or will I just stay home and take care of my kids, of my family?! These people know how workaholic and driven I am that’s why they have been surprised of my decision. I always tell them that I love my family, my priority are my kids and that I am willing to sacrifice everything for them. However, behind those words is a heart that is scared to go out in the world and explore new things in this country, a heart that is afraid to leave my kids to someone else, a person who got used to with her comfort zone. I keep making an excuse to myself and everyone. Then my friend who is a Dental Hygienist once asked me and encouraged me to try a different field which is Dental Assistant. So, I browsed the internet and came across an Anderson College - North York campus ad. I grabbed my phone and took a leap of faith with some courage to enquire about the Intra-Oral Dental Assisting Level 1 and 2 program.  When I was processing everything, I was shaking, and I was so anxious of failing as I was having second thoughts. Would I make it? Could I do it? Little did I know, in a split second, I was enrolled, and got all the documents and requirements processed with the help of the admin. Now, I am almost done with my program, with the help of my awesome professors and mentors. I am glad that I made that move and I’m 100% sure that I can now help my husband serve the wants and needs of my family. I’m glad I took that step towards a brighter future for myself and my family. I am glad to have another purpose to my life. And I thank God that my family is with me every step of the way. Now I can finally say that this caterpillar is now a butterfly ready to spread her wings and fly.

Getting out of your comfort zone and doing the unthinkable is the most courageous and rewarding gift you can give to yourself and your family!

I began the PSW Challenge Fund Hybrid program on July 5th, 2021. I was so enthusiastic at the start of the program and was very hopeful. At some point though, I started feeling life's stresses pull me in all kinds of directions. It was difficult for me to focus, and I required a lot of accommodations for my studies that I couldn’t get. I was overwhelmed and at the point of throwing in the towel. You know what? I am glad I didn’t. The reason I didn’t is because of my colleagues in the program. They were instrumental in making every moment a meaningful one. Each one of them played a major role in encouraging me in countless ways. I could not do anything but to be present. I just had to show up and follow through, since their contribution to my continuing in the program was invaluable and I had to show them that.

This is a very courageous moment for me because, with the help of all my colleagues, I was actually able to go through the in-person lab skills on campus and then proceed onward to do my placement.

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn't made it easy for people to manage stress and anxiety. Working full time and being in school was overwhelming. However, once I got to know my colleagues and networked with them, they kept me on track. Once again, everyone of them one, in one way or another did something remarkable to help me remain in the program. They kept saying we must all complete this program without anyone being left behind. So, this became our goal. Even if I couldn’t be accountable for myself, I felt accountable to the group; that became my fortitude. My colleagues always looked out for me, and this made it possible for me to do what I had almost given up on.

Now this is a very courageous moment for me because there is no way that I would have completed the program without this support. It began by my embracing the network around me and learning to value each moment and each individual. This really made all the difference.

Look for meaning in the little things.
What are those things around us that we might not regard fully? Maybe when we look closely, we can
find things to be grateful for that will create meaning and be worthwhile.
Every chance you get to be present, just show up.

My courageous story may not seem like much to some, but I think it might be a relatable story to others, especially those enrolled in classes here at Anderson.

I worked in the hairdressing field for 10+ years. I had a fantastic job, with good pay along with benefits, but it was just that, a job. I really wanted a career, something that would make me happy and help provide for my family. So, I decided I would go back to school. I packed up my desk, punched my timecard for the last time and off I went. I left my good paying job, the benefits, vacation time, and seniority, went home and enrolled in college.

I had no income at all anymore, no benefits. I was starting my life over entirely. What was scary was that I was starting over in my 30s. And even more than starting over in my 30s, I was doing it with a learning disability, anxiety, ADHD, and sensory processing issues. I had no idea how I was going to pay rent or other bills from month to month. I am the type of person who can be spontaneous, but I’m better if it’s been planned out beforehand. So, not knowing what’s happening day-to-day while I’m in classes is a constant struggle. Many tears have been shed, many thoughts of giving up cross my mind, daily. There have been countless nights of little to no sleep or energy to study or finish homework, and few moments to breathe, but I am so excited to finish this journey in school.

My new career as a medical office administrator will better my life and my family life, while also being of help to the families who receive the medical attention they need and deserve. I’m afraid every second of every day thinking that perhaps I made the wrong decision to leave a life I built for myself for over 10 years to start over, but hopefully when working in the field, it will all have been worth it.

Even though something is hard and scary,
know that you’re working toward making the changes necessary to better your life.

My career as a teacher back home didn’t flourish, and the economic situation in my country had me needing to work in the music field, offering new opportunities for me to feed my family. Singing - who would have thought! No musical background, no musical studies, just the genes from my mother and my grandfather who were born with that innate talent. Through rough days of singing everyday with no microphone, no food, and long hours of work, I dreamed of better.

In the year 2000, I managed to get a gig in Canada. But my passport was taken away from my manager. We had to live in an apartment with plenty of cold floors to sleep on, one meal a day and a payment of $50 a month. I managed to escape and now with no English, I was sent from immigration to a shelter. After three months, I was able to communicate because I am friendly and talkative, so everyone wanted to teach me English. I couldn’t be happier because I was finally able to laugh or just have a serious talk with people from different backgrounds and cultures. I left the shelter and rented an apartment.

I started working and with the help of the social worker, got enrolled in a dental assistant course. Many years passed and I was hired in a provincial program, as a part-time worker. I started educating the community on oral health and checking children’s teeth for cavities, doing speeches and presentations, enrolling low-income families into the program, and referring them to programs for newcomers. The need for teachers was there – so, I started teaching!

I think that magic happens when you want success in your life! So, I answered the ad Anderson College had posted about looking for an instructor! I am here now, trying to give my knowledge everyday, encouraging students to study, and to fight even with those small teeth of yours, and to become whoever you want to be because you can. This is your time, this is your moment, you are in the place of success. I did it, you can too!

I want to encourage my students and people around me to do what they have in their hearts because if we want it, we can do it. Anything in life is possible if you just have the desire, you put it in your mind and your heart. You can do it.

Back in 2018 when I undertook my Personal Support Worker (PSW) program at Anderson College, I needed to consider two options, between my daughter and my studies. I decided to pursue the program, but my problem was that nobody was available to look after my daughter. It was difficult for me because I was alone to take care of her and needed to work as well. So, the good decision I took was to bring my daughter back home to stay for a year there while I pursued my studies and work at the same time. I applied for my husband’s paperwork to join have him join me in Canada when I started school. After a year, when I finished my school, I did my practicum as well. Within just a month of starting my practicum, the company hired me. Meanwhile, my husband got the visa as well to join me here which made it possible for me to have my family here with me before my graduation ceremony upon completion of my studies. I took a break for two more years and decided to enroll again at the same school. I’m pursuing the MLT program right now and I feel very happy as I know Anderson College really helps their students find a job after graduation. I’m not tired coming back here because they provide such quality education. The staff as well is amazing as they will offer help as much as they can in case of a problem. I’m almost finishing my second course at Anderson College, and I don’t have any regrets. I love to learn and gain new knowledge which is why I decided to pursue studies again at the first place.

I can say go to school, get some certifications, and think about the long term, not just the short term. Think of a good future and easy job in the future as the more certifications and experience, the better it is.

I am someone who can fully utilize my extensive skills in different fields. I have more than 15 years of experience in my work field with skillsets like knowledge of computers, excellent working relations with public and coworkers. I’ve also experienced multitasking as and when needed to meet deadlines for achieving good results. I did a challenging job and consistently met and exceeded deadlines on a daily basis. In my life, I worked at different places with different positions. I always tried to do something new. I had Secretary Science Diploma course, after which I pursued Accounting Clerk Certificate course to add to my experience along with a Bachelor of Arts degree. I did couple of volunteer jobs with Yonge Street Mission, Neighborhood Information Post and University Settlement Recreation Centre. There have been lots of problems that I encountered in my life, like family matters and children’s issues. In such situations, I always think of different ways to solve the problem. However, sometimes I’m unable to take the right decision so I discuss with three other people. If two of those people are of the same opinion, then I follow that option and solve the problem. I faced so many difficulties in my life. During the COVID-19, I lost my job, in this situation, I was at home with nothing to do. I planned to go for further studies, so I decided to pursue Dental Assistant course from Anderson College. Now I am at the final stage. I hope once I pass and get my certification, I will get better opportunity in this field. My goal is to achieve a better opportunity, to gather more experience and better my life. I keep tying to improve my skills and get better chances. In our life it is important to have emissions with attempts to succeed them. That is when everything would go well. Never be negative, always be positive. That way, success will definitely come.

As women, we need to take care of family, children and our own career. There are lots of difficulties to face, but everything needs to be handled gently with care. Now I am 60 years old, besides taking care of my family, I always study to develop and improve my skills.

My name is Mirasol Facturanan and here's "My Courageous Story".

It all started in the year 2020 when I felt like the world was against me. I had three surgeries related to my infertility journey, lost my job and wondered what would happen to me. But to my surprise, after battling with so many medications and tests almost everyday for three months, I got a call from the clinic saying I was pregnant. I almost lost hope because it was already my third IVF. To make the story short, I delivered a healthy baby boy on December 12, 2020.

From that day on, from the moment my baby was born, my perception in life changed. Then another challenge came, being a first-time mom during the pandemic, no one could come over to help me at home, except for my partner who was also working double shifts for us to survive financially. I realized that I had to do something for myself and for my family; we needed a long-term plan. So, this is where my desire to go back to school began. After weeks of searching to determine which school would be the best for my situation, I decided to enroll at Anderson College. Besides it being a good fit, the staff and teachers have been very accommodating and addressing all my concerns. I am now multitasking, taking care of my baby and engaging in learning online for school.

At first, I thought I couldn’t do it but evidently, I can. I am now in the seventh month of my program. I am successfully managing my day-to-day activities and making a difference, not just for myself but I also hope to inspire those mothers who want to be successful while on maternity leave. Having a baby is overwhelming already but if you have a strong support system and the determination to achieve your goal, those sleepless nights of studying and nursing are all worth it. One step at a time, and I am closer to that.

All I can offer from my story is the inspiration to remember that being a mother won't stop you from achieving your personal goals in life. It's not a selfish thing to do something to better your life while you are on maternity leave but rather a selfless thing, as you’re doing it for your whole family.

I was a registered nurse in my country with over ten years of experience working in the emergency room of a good hospital before I immigrated to Canada in early 2010. Moving to Canada wasn’t an easy transition in my life. I could not find a job relevant to my education. I went through many unpleasant experiences in the years after immigration. I lost my father shortly after landing in Canada, I had two difficult pregnancies and a turbulent relationship. Therefore, I did not have the chance to go back to school and get Canadian qualifications in order to work in the healthcare field. When the pandemic hit and after the lockdowns, I was overwhelmed with unemployment, childcare, and providing care for my elderly mother. I needed to have a job where I could use my professional experiences. It was almost impossible for me to go back to school with two little children and a mother with serious medical conditions. In March 2020, I learnt that universities and colleges were offering online programs. I thought to myself that it was a great opportunity to study online and to supervise my children that were attending virtual school. It was a paradigm shift for me. I started searching for online programs, and after a few days, I found Anderson College. I sent them an email and asked them to send me information about Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Assistant program. I had many reservations before applying for the program. I would think, “I’m too old to go to school”, “My English isn’t good enough to enrol into the program”, “I forgot human anatomy/physiology”, and “I can’t handle my caregiving responsibilities and studying properly at the same time”. Finally, I made my decision and applied for the program. Ms. Sharee Mandel, the main instructor of the program, had an important role in my journey. Not only is she extremely knowledgeable, but also, a nice person. She encouraged me to be resilient. It was because of her instructions and my family’s support that I passed all courses with a high mark, completed my practicum successfully, and received an official job offer from a good clinic in early November 2021. My journey from June 2020 to November 2021 was not easy. I’m glad that I took my chances and applied for this program to study at Anderson College. I am thankful for Ms. Sharee Mandel for all her efforts, and Anderson College personnel for their kindness and support. Anderson College is indeed a good place to get quality education and improve your life. Studying PTA-OTA program was a turning point in my life. I’m proud of myself for working hard in the past 18 months and finding a job that is relevant to my education and professional experiences.

It's never too late to change your life. All limitations are in your mind. Success is the result of hard work. I could change my life for better when I had little hope left for me.

Of the many audacious moments in my home of Dubai, I’m not sure if it was crossing the sheer half-metre beam across a 30-foot-deep construction gorge acting as an everyday bridge, my fearful trek along the edge of a giant 50-foot-deep container in the creek side, or my bungee jump in that same creek that tested my courage.

It was, however, certainly the day I tried to scale Jebel Hafeet, an almost 4000-foot goliath on the outskirts of Al-Ain. One of my friends arranged this 'adventure'. Now, Jebel Hafeet was no Everest, but without equipment and safeguards, it proved a treacherous, almost life-ending experience for the three of us. We could have just tried to trek up the constructed path, but my friend had more challenging endeavours in mind. He took us to an untouched area of the mountain and there is where we began our climb. The climb up was daunting, even though we only had to scale as high as the first ledge, which was a dizzying almost 250 feet. This was hardly a mountaineer’s daunting height, but it was very scary due to an almost vertical base, and our having no climbing equipment. We saw from that height, cars that looked smaller than a Matchbox toy. It dawned on us that the test of courage was not climbing the structure but would actually be descending it. To our horror, almost every step we took, seemed to chop away pieces of rock, which fell smashing to a grisly end. It was odd, that climbing up the structure had not unraveled the mountain side, as the descent was. One of my friends lost his Sketchers to the terrain. That meant climbing down on hot rock, barefoot. Every step burned and before long, the painfully slow trek almost came to a halt.

Panting, sweating, elbows bloodied, with a ravaged foot, we found the remaining 150 feet almost impossible. Our friend did not want to move an inch, amidst the falling rocks. After an almost 15-minute pause, we managed to drum up a brave little strategy. We held hands, locking them in a wrestling grip, and began to descend slowly but surely downward, with the constant fear of one BIG slip. Thankfully, that slip did not happen. Out of energy, expended by the need to keep a painfully slow pace and our balance, we finally reached the bottom together and heaved a sigh of collective relief.

While quietly driving around the bend of the mountain we had just ‘conquered’, we saw a sign … ‘Danger”, that showed a person slipping and sliding on rocks, a cautioning illustration! I did not know if we should celebrate our bravery, or criticize our stupidity, for not seeing something warning us not to attempt such a dubious thing!

Courage and audacity need not go hand in hand.
Courage is a sensible need, a calculated risk, a necessary step for preservation
of what’s important, whether one's wits, life,
or the lives of loved ones, or of any other human being.
We must have courage to achieve great, and small, things in life.

It was always my dream to be a dentist, but I couldn't. I got married, had kids and I was trying to find a good job for myself. I wasn't always happy with my job because I knew I could do better. Then one day, I decided to do something for myself. It was hard for me to fulfill my dream of being a dentist, so I decided to join the dental office by being a Dental Assistant. I would like to thank Anderson College because it gave me the opportunity to achieve my dream. It is not easy; it is hard and perseverance with strong faith will help me achieve my dream and make my husband and children proud of me. This professional college has industry professionals, who bring their passion and dedication to the classroom every day, and I would like to thank Dr. Raymond Bokoi and Mediela Hernandez for their hard work to help us achieve our dream. At Anderson College, they care about you and your well-being. They provide the students with a free mental wellness student support program. Most diploma programs in school include hands on training as well as off-site practicum with potential employees. Joining the Anderson College team will help you reach your goals in short time, but you need to work hard to achieve it, it’s the best thing I did in my life, and it’s really made me proud of myself. I am looking forward to getting my diploma and work in the field that I really see myself in. Education is one of the most important investment in life and I was little worried about how I could afford. But Anderson College helped me to review my options to finance my future.

A time I chose to courageously take action in my life, a time that defined me, was when I decided to move to Canada. My decision was final, and I knew there was no looking back.

It all started when I gave birth to my first child and found out she had a disability; she was born with no arms. As a mother I was devastated, because this would mean life for her would be very hard, especially considering our country's living conditions. With my country’s poor management of and assistance for people with disabilities, it was even difficult to get her into a school. As she grew older, I began to see the pure potential that she had and how it would certainly go to waste in my country with it’s poor living conditions. That’s when I decided to come up with a plan to help her, and the rest of my children, and move to Canada. This was because I wanted her and the rest of my children to have the chance to create a new and better life than the one that they had before.

This was a very difficult decision to make considering that it meant I would leave a lot of important things behind. Things like my job, that provided astable income to support my family, as well as my husband's job which also offered us stability. Loved ones, like my mother and siblings, were all surprised at this sudden change we were to make and were all saddened because it meant there would be very little interaction between family members and extended family. Not to mention the fact that we were moving to a country that we had almost next to no information about. We didn’t know how people there lived and how they did things in that country. However, I knew I would have to learn quickly if I wanted to adjust efficiently, particularly for the sake of my dear children and their futures.

Now we live in a country with better living conditions and a much better life in general, and we don't have to worry too much about the dangers that surround us or the high risk of dying. Though, honestly, I still miss my mom, siblings and some very good friends of mine.

Finally, graduating from Anderson College of Health, Business and Technology is a very big achievement for me and for my family. I could never have reached this achievement if I hadn’t taken that bold step, one that would change my life forever. In life, I’ve learned how to be patient, focus on the things that are most important, determine what will define my life, and then to put the necessary effort in, in order to achieve my goals.

I want people to realize that things happen for a reason.
If it wasn't for my daughter's condition, I wouldn't be here in Canada today.
Initially I thought both my life and hers were doomed after the shame and the mocking of people, but now I'm in a better place.
If we can do it, you can overcome and achieve anything too.

I have decided to share my story with you as I need to show the whole world that there is no such thing as "the impossible".

I was living a life of luxury in one of the very rich Arab countries, where I was a Senior Flight Attendant with a nice income. I left all of that and came to Canada in 2019 with my family and requested asylum, as nothing is more challenging than the feeling of being treated inhumanly or unequally.

We'd been at the border for three tough days, going through all the investigation and official procedures. I was determined and even though I had lost much of what I’d known and left everything behind, I just had to build a better future for my kids, no matter what it cost. I still remember the days when we couldn't afford the cost of food or baby formula for my first born (I only had my beautiful daughter Joelle at that time). We’d been placed in shelters from Quebec to Ontario for many months. Life wasn’t easy, especially getting pregnant with my son Jad, and then the COVID-19 situation. It wasn't that easy to even get a job while people were losing theirs. I had decided though, to use every new day, preparing for something to unfold for my future; I am the kind of person who believes in themself, and I will never stop moving towards my dreams.

I had studied in a personal support worker program at first, believing there was job security in this field. However, I never liked the tasks requirement or the environment. Thus, I started looking online for the jobs that I could do with love so I could give the best of my best. I found out that the best for me would be something that has to do with the law, as I studied law back home. I started looking for law enforcement and police foundation programs offered at colleges throughout the GTA, but was not satisfied with the details or the services or the little help provided by the enrollment counselors.

I needed step-by-step help as this was my first time applying for OSAP as well. The best follow-up calls and emails I received were from Christina Chen and Joycelyn from the enrollment and financial departments at Anderson College. At that point, I felt secure having experienced this kind of professionalism and decided this would be the best place for me to start.

Here I am now, having overcome that moment of hopelessness, going through the enrollment process at Anderson and will be joining soon – following the path to my dream of success.

Follow your dreams, never give up, set a goal and nothing is impossible.
Nothing will prevent you from accomplishing your ambition. No matter what obstacles you face, there will always be a dream worth fighting for.

People can feel young at any age. On my 56th birthday, I felt exceptionally young by becoming a student again, joining Anderson College’s Personal Support Worker program.

I shared the news and my new identity with several friends. They were surprised and showed mixed emotions and their varied options: “It is such a heart-warming job”, “Many people find it difficult to persist and stay in the job”, “How do you handle this tough work?”, “Why do you want this when you already have a career and an easy life?”.

My interest and motivation for senior care is inspired by my loving parents. I have visited them every year since immigrating to Canada 21 years ago. We’ve shared countless sweet moments of laughter and love. However, the last several years have challenged my mother as she’s faced critical health issues. She’s suffered plenty of physical pain but never complains. It pains me that I haven't been able to visit them due to the ongoing pandemic.

In my professional life, I practiced as an insurance agent for 21 years. I had first-hand experience dealing with families going through illness and loss. Our family enjoys a quiet, middle-class life, as we raise our teenage son. I always aspired to find ways to get involved in senior care or related activities. I looked into volunteering as well. I then learned that one pathway to fulfilling my goal was by taking the personal support worker (PSW) program. I encouraged myself to study and become a certified PSW to help others. I turned the regret of being unable to visit my parents into an opportunity to learn and grow. When I acquire the proper skills, I will be able to care for seniors as a professional. I believe this experience will bring me closer to my parents when we reunite again. Getting old does not always mean aging, and aging does not necessarily have to be painful or faced alone.

As a 56-year-old mother, I am not scared of getting old. I love learning and staying active physically and mentally. Becoming a student again keeps me busy and young at heart. No one can guarantee that they will wealthy. Everyone will surely grow old. I hope that more people will get involved in the PSW industry and care for others, and I also hope that I can bring more smiles and joy to seniors.

No one can guarantee that they will be wealthy, and everyone will surely grow old! Learning at any age keeps people young.

I was born in a middle-class society in Bangladesh. In my life, I faced many troubles. During my student life, I struggled a lot to take care of my family as I had lost my father. After graduating, I was appointed as a preschool teacher in one of the schools back home, where I taught for six years. When I got married, my responsibilities doubled. I had to look after my in-laws and at the same time my mom and brothers. My husband was a businessman, and we had a daughter together.

During my professional life back home, I had a dream to come to Canada and study something related to my teaching profession. Then one day my dream came true. I got a student visa to study early childhood education (ECE) in Canada. But I became confused as to whether I should go to Canada to fulfill my dream for higher learning or to stay in my home country with my family. Because my daughter was only two and half years old at that time, and the apple of my eye, it was the most challenging decision for me to make as I couldn’t bring her with me. But nothing is impossible in life if someone wants to fulfill his/ her dream. I chose not to break down or lose focus, but rather to accomplish my dream.

In 2019, I came to Canada alone. I can still remember those days when I was crying the whole night for my baby. It was really hard for me to come to a new country alone and to adjust to this new environment. I came from Bangladesh where the winter is not too cold, and I was shocked to see the snow fall over here. I was scared when a snowstorm came and I lost my house. There was no one I could ask help from. I felt totally shattered. But even though I faced all these problems, I never gave up.

Now I think I made the best decision to come Canada for my studies. Because of some personal problems I could not continue in the ECE program I was in and stopped my studies. Five months after my arrival to Canada, my husband and daughter joined me. I felt relieved and started to consider continuing my studies again. I saw Anderson College on Facebook and read their information on their excellent faculty and what they offer. I then decided to study the Early Childcare Assistant program at Anderson College. I saw the light of my dream sparked with hope again as I was talking with one of the staff members at Anderson. I really feel proud to have become a part of this College. Everyone is so cooperative. I am especially thankful to my instructor who helped me to accomplish my dream.

I faced the most challenging time of my life when I had to leave my baby to come Canada to accomplish my dream.
So, no matter what the situation is never give up.
I believe that hard work always brings success in one's life.

The moments of my life that defined me was years back when I was a trader. An incident occurred when my goods, shop and my money got burnt, I was do devastated that I almost attempted suicide. It affected me and my family so much but with encouragement, hard work, commitment and perseverance, I was able to move on. Even though it wasn't easy for me as I faced some humiliation and rejection. I kept encouraging myself and worked very hard which changed my life. I still remember some of my friends who lend me money to do business when this incident happened. I wouldn’t have been able to pay them back and the worst part of it was that I didn't have insurance. It was a terrible and sad moment for me. However, with handwork and encouragement I was able to move on, today I am here in Canada and enrolled into a great program. When I remember what happened during my predicament, I also think of the old men and women who were affected because of this incident. I will always assist them and make sure they are doing fine as I developed a soft corner for them.

When I heard about this Personal Support Worker (PSW) program I was so happy because this is what I had been looking for to be able to give back. Being a part of the Anderson College, has defined my courageous moment.

The inspiration I hope to offer others through my story is that no matter what happens, never give up! Keep pushing through and with handwork and commitment we shall move forward and make this world a better place to live in.

On Wednesday, February 27th, 2019, I arrived at the Toronto Pearson International Airport. I hadn't had any rigors during the last 24 hours while traveling. It was something of a miracle.

Each plane ride I had been on since Tuesday night from Lagos, Nigeria had been free from me having violent, seizure-like shivers that typically doctors would work frantically to try and stop. My body, that had been hospitalized for the previous three weeks, took on a brave front while it was soared from Lagos to Frankfurt, then finally Toronto. Courage, or whatever it was that made my body cooperate midair was pretty cool. I had just had a rigor episode on Tuesday morning in the hospital in Nigeria and then had an intense one on Thursday, a few hours after landing in Canada.

Most travel is for business or pleasure. Traveling to the Toronto General Hospital felt like it was for pleasure. The happiness in my heart was evident by the semi glazed smile dancing over my face, like I was an ambassador of some premium donut brand. Quite a sight to behold. Imagine a some-what-skinny figure with a transfusion device hanging out of the right side of her chest, grinning on the plane, plastic cup in hand as if to raise to “Cheers” at any minute. For me, traveling to Canada for medical intervention was like going on an exotic vacation. It held the same level of excitement of a Maldives trip.

Been seriously ill, while putting up a strong posture so that the airport officers let me board the planes from one country to the next, was one of the most courageous things I've ever done (next to leaving for the US when I was seventeen). Going from hospital to hospital in Nigeria, for what had been diagnosed as malaria and a chest infection, without getting better, if what drove my mother and I to take this step. As someone living with Sickle Cell Anemia, the risks of complications are further increased.

The story began in January 2019. I had gotten a job as a kindergarten teacher's assistant, in Lagos. It was a beautiful start of the year, especially because it had proved challenging to land this position even after obtaining my teaching diploma. Also, I had completely changed career paths from medicine. Spending five tedious years abroad gaining a bachelor’s degree, just to restart from scratch, was not looked upon kindly by the Nigerian workforce. So, when I fell ill just one week after my job started in January, it was devastating. Three weeks later, I found myself in a Canadian hospital recovering.

Now in 2021, I'm thrilled to be forging ahead on my course, continuing my career in education and I look forward to giving back to this beautiful country.

 Hold on to your purpose, to what you know deep down you were made for.
Despite challenges and what may seem like a lifetime of pursuit, never let go of the dream your heart desires. Also … forgive yourself as you make your way.

I cherish every moment, every second, every minute in my life. As a child born into a middle-class family, my parents made sure my siblings and I had the best in life. We went to a good high school and private university in Nigeria, yet I was unhappy all throughout my years growing up as I watched how the elderly and people who needed help were being neglected.

After my graduation from university, I decided to change my location to experience more of life. I moved from the city to a smaller town where I could help people around me. The town had no access to good drinking water, and the environment was not conducive to good health. I started a project with some youth in that town to build a bole hole for the community so they could have good water, which was a success. I reached out to orphanages regarding food supplies and spent time with the children. I volunteered at hospitals to help some elderly people and those who had babies. I was very happy with the way my life turned out; I felt blessed.

My life since then has continued to be filled with excitement and joy. I got married to a very kind and lovely man who was based here in Canada; he believed in my goals and visions. I relocated to join him here in 2017. I wanted to continue the part of service that I left behind, by caring for the community, but I was told I had to take courses to continue working in this way. I became pregnant a few months after arriving in Canada. Since it was my first pregnancy, my husband and I were so happy and busy preparing for the arrival of our baby. We were not prepared for what came next. It was a stillbirth and we lost her. After mourning for a few months, I got a job, which helped take my mind off of the bitterness and pain I felt. My husband’s support and some counselling helped me to heal.

Today I’m blessed with two beautiful children, a girl, and a boy. My husband, who believes in me so much, and his encouragement, advice, and love kept me going! After I had my son, who happened to be my second, I decided that it was time to pursue a course in personal support work (PSW). The COVID-19 pandemic also made my desire to take the program grow stronger, with the rising cases in hospitals and people in the world in general seeking all the help that could be given. The elderly in the nursing home could not see their families; they felt lonely. Healthcare facilities were failing patients, due to not having enough healthcare workers to cover some areas of care. This is what led me to Anderson College to pursue the program.

Be positive of mind. Watch out for people around you who need help, because there are always people who do need your help. The help you render goes a long way to changing people’s lives and making them feel more positive about life too. This will help to reduce the suicide rate, drug addictions and will help to counter low self-esteem.

Way back in 2018, I was a Medical Technologist in the Philippines. At first, it never crossed my mind that I would be working abroad. My mindset at that time was only to achieve my chosen profession. But as time went by, reality struck me. My uncle recommended an agency that I could apply to in Canada. I was hesitant to even think about going because of my mother’s situation. She had breast cancer. But I am so blessed that my parents were supportive. They made me realize the difference having a job in Canada could make, because they wanted me to secure my future. My mother sacrificed her check-ups just for my application requirements to be completed. Despite it being very hard, I fought the battle and let my eagerness lead my way because I knew it was my mother’s dream. My visa as an international student was approved; I saw how happy my mother was.

The day I left in 2019 was the saddest moment of my life because that was the day, for the first time, that my mother and I separated. I travelled so long to get to Canada, but the day after my arrival, I went to school. I found some jobs too, in order to support myself. That moment, I realized that to be a working student is no joke. I also tried to find a school where I could pay on my own. The school is so good and student friendly, I especially liked their finance options, so I transferred without hesitation.

While studying, I worked as a live-in caregiver. The family of the old man was nice but after four months of taking care of him, he died because of his illness. I was challenged again because the family didn’t agree to continue my sponsorship. Then a month later, a devastating moment occurred. My mother died. Everything was so painful. I felt so hopeless that I thought of committing suicide. But one day, a whisper in my ear told me to decide to stand up again. I knew God had a plan. I continued my journey because I wanted my mother’s dream to come true. Everything changed, but those moments made me stronger.

On my journey, I know my mother is always there to guide and protect me. She even guided me to my new family. I am so blessed that I found a family that treats me like their own. They never let me feel that I am alone here in Canada. They even sponsored my Permanent Residency. Now I understand why things happen to us. I am grateful that I successfully finished my studies at Anderson College and am happily living with my new family.

I faced a lot of difficulties, but I never surrendered because those things moulded me into a better person. They taught me that being a strong and independent woman is attainable. Remember that God lets us experience different trials because He knows we can survive and hold onto Him faithfully.

My name is Priya Chaurasia, a human soul filled with gratitude and confidence. My courageous story may be a part of many hopeful hearts.

In 2018, when I landed in Canada, I had dreams just as everyone does, but they were more for my family rather than valuing any promises to myself. However, there comes a magical moment in which everything can change in an instance for a person; that happened for me too.

I studied ‘Masters in Biochemistry’ in my native country, but due to certain rollercoaster-life-rides, it never became my profession. Although I felt proud working as a kindergarten teacher, a one-on-one coach for primary school kids and a choreographer, deep inside I felt I was not doing what I loved most. Initially, I joined Hinduja Global Services, where I served for Rogers Canada. One day, I met a customer who was a law student. That conversation reignited a flame in me to finally do something for myself. I discussed my affinity for studying Medical Laboratory Technician with my family and they valued my goal.

In 2019-2020, I looked into many colleges, but it was all in vain. Everything was sidetracked again by me, and my thinking about my family and responsibilities, and I put it off once again. In the last few months of 2020, I was completely focused on doing an Excel certification for my entrance into Information Technology. I did a few computer courses and started preparing for a future that looked much the same as my past. While doing so, I was still not able to visualize myself there. I was unable to connect to it soulfully.

On December 21, 2020, I finally took a stand for myself and decided to pursue the Medical Laboratory Technician program. And with the help of my family, I came across Anderson College of Healthcare, Business and Technology located in Mississauga. Since then, I’ve never looked back. After completing six months at Anderson College, I can attest to the fact that nothing in this world will make you happier than doing what you love most.

Now, whenever my kids say things like, “Mom, how was your exam?”, “Please tell us the test result”, “We know you will do the best” and “We are proud of you”, these powerful words coming from innocent hearts make me realize that, by choosing consciously for myself, I am setting an example for my little wonders. Lastly, I would encourage you to dream, believe and try for your wishes. You just need courage to stand firm in your choices. Be a decision maker and set an example for all those who are keeping their dreams hidden. Your courageous story might be the only motivation for them.

The inspiration which I wish to sprinkle, is definitely to urge everyone to take hold of your life. Believe in your dreams and passion. Be a decision maker because even if you’re wrong you can learn, and if you’re right you will inspire others and be admired.

I’m a single mother who arrived in Toronto for a better career. Here in Canada, you need to go to school and get your diploma/certificate for the job you want, and of course the job you love. I chose the Intra Oral Dental Assisting field because I am one of those who doesn’t have any knowledge about how to take good care of my teeth. I wanted to help all the patients out there and make them understand how to keep their teeth healthy. Our teeth are one of the most important parts of our body and life, so that we can enjoy every food that we eat.

My year hasn’t been that good (or certainly for many of us) because of the pandemic that we encountered in 2020 and that lasted through 2021. One of the reasons that gave me a hard time is because I tested positive for COVID-19. I had planned everything and set future goals for me and for my daughter. I planned to finish my school by March. But all of the sudden COVID-19 gets you and you’re absolutely left behind with all your delayed plans. I questioned everything; why was this happening to me? Many of my friends comforted me saying that life must go on, whatever happens don’t let anything ruin your plans, always keep moving forward.

What I learned from all of this was, that whatever circumstances you encounter just believe in yourself. I may have cried everyday during that time but it’s okay because I knew someday, I would taste the fruit of my success. Sometimes delayed plans are still good plans for you.

I don’t have any regret about what happened to me because I met new classmates (Anderson College let me have my second chance and return to my program without having to pay!). I’ve made good memories while at Anderson College. And this is it! I am officially one of the graduate students of Anderson College. A special mention for all the staff who are behind every student’s success. Thank you for helping us throughout our upside-down journey and for helping us reach our goals. More power to Anderson College!

You may face tons of problem today but always remember the reason why you started out. Delayed situations don’t mean you can’t achieve, sometimes things happen   another way to prepare you for what more you can be. Don’t lose hope. Life must go on.

There have been many events and individuals in my life who have influenced and shaped me into the person I am now. For instance, my father had a major impact on my life. Not only was he a role model but he was also my best friend growing up. He was the one person in my life who genuinely believed in me and encouraged me to pursue my goals. Because he recognized my desire to help others, my father constantly encouraged me to pursue a career in medicine.

A series of events went downhill when I was 8 years old. One day, when I returned home from school, I noticed my father acting strangely and not himself. I tried talking to him but got no reaction. I assumed he was angry with me. He went to bed earlier than normal that night, then woke up having a seizure and fell into a coma, which I witnessed. My family hurried over to the phone and dialed an ambulance right away. After a few days in the hospital, my father woke up from his coma. However, after a few months, my mother informed me that my father had developed a brain tumour. My father underwent a surgery to remove the tumour, but it continued to grow. I was continually missing school in order to be at my father's bedside at the hospital and at home. My father suffered for eight months after being diagnosed. On June 13, 2012, my father passed away.

This entire experience was life-changing for me, and it was really tough to witness my mother's grief. My dearest friend and role model had passed away. Despite the fact that I still had my mother, my father and I had a much closer relationship. With the fear of losing another loved one, my family grew closer after the incident occurred. Unfortunately, we had to deal with the death of my grandfather a year later.

When I think back on all that happened during my youth, I realize how different it was from the lives of individuals around me. To honour my father's wishes, I decided to pursue a career in the medical field and become a dental assistant. All these instances occurred when I was a child, allowing me to grasp the essence of courage at such an early age. My father instilled in me the courage to pursue my goals in life. Following his death, I decided to follow his advice and enrolled at Anderson College in order to alter my life for the better.

I hope that no matter what tragedies occur in your life, that you will continue to move forward with your life and strive to become the person you want to be.

My is Saimiri and I come from Albania. I chose to immigrate to Canada for a better life. When I first arrived here, I thought it would be easy, but the reality hit me when I actually started living here. It was very hard to be away from my family and all alone in another country that I knew nothing about. It got to a point that when I got drunk for the first time in my life and ended up in a hospital. That’s when I told myself that I had to be strong. So, I started to work not one but three jobs. I got myself a lawyer and started my documentation work for permanent residence. Knowing no English, having no friends, and with no idea what was going to happen, I kept going every day. Every time I tried to check with my lawyer about my case, he would ask me for money. Hence, I really had to be careful and account for every single penny while making sure I was on time for my bills and lawyer expenses. I don't know how I did it to be honest, but I paid my lawyer $20,000 dollars. I was so stressed and tired that I got sick for three days. I thought I needed to stop working three jobs so I kept only two jobs because I couldn't afford everything with one job. I had no choice. Then the happy moment happened, I got my permanent residence and all the stress disappeared. However, when COVID-19 hit, I sat down and thought about starting school as I love working with kids. I continued the search during my time off and found out about Anderson College as they have courses for childhood assistants. I started the process and here I am, made it all by myself. Looking back where I was and where I'm now, it feels amazing. This is my story and I hope to offer inspiration through it. I never gave up and kept fighting no matter what.

Be humble and be patient. Nothing comes easy. Take it one day at a time, whatever you are going through, never give up. If I did it you will do it too, promise! Much love to all people out there struggling, you are not alone.

My courageous moment was when I finally applied to Anderson College in September 2021. You see, this moment was courageous for me because I am a 33-year-old mother of one. I haven't been to school since early 2012 and I have been working in the field that I had originally studied in and graduated from for the past 14 years.

I "shopped" around for colleges for two years because I wasn't ready to take that leap. After going back to work when my maternity leave ended, I realized that the field I was working in at the time was no longer for me. I was no longer passionate about it, I actually dreaded going to work every day. There was an ongoing battle within myself about whether I should start over or not because I had a lot to lose. Finally, with the support of my amazing partner and my daughter as inspiration, I realized that I was in charge of my happiness and my future. If I didn't want to feel stuck anymore then I needed to make this change. Once I made that big decision, I knew the rest would fall into place. I interviewed with three colleges and Anderson stood out to me because the program length and the flexibility of their schedule were convenient for my lifestyle. I could commit to being a full-time student and still put my family first. I didn't just choose a program and a college, I chose myself.

As I mentioned before, I had a lot to lose but by making this change, I have even more to gain. I am so ready to invest this time, money and energy into myself and I look forward to the learning experience and career opportunities coming my way. It’s never too late!

I hope to inspire other people my age who currently feel stuck in their current careers to take the leap by going back to school to pursue something that will ignite the passion within them once again. Especially parent's who don't feel worthy.

I’ve had many good and bad days in my life, but this period of my life that I will share with you was both hard and sweet. It was sweet because after this period I became a strong and very grateful girl. I am proud of myself that I was able to defeat cancer alone, and today, as I write to you, I am much stronger and am happier than ever.

My story started the day the doctor told me, very seriously, that I had cancer and that I should have surgery very soon. At first, I was shocked, because I had just immigrated, and I was alone in a new country. All this time I was completely alone; my family was in another country, and they did not know about my condition. The first three days I was very sick, depressed and crying, until, in a moment, I began thinking very deeply about everything. I said to myself, “The only thing that can save me is hope and positive energy.” After that moment my life changed. After the first surgery, my vocal cords were damaged, and the doctor said I might not be able to speak ever again. It was a difficult day, and I was mentally weak again and I kept thinking “What if I cannot speak anymore?”. I could not speak for a month. But after practicing and using the tonics they prescribed, after one month, fortunately, my vocal cords were repaired, and my voice came back the same as before.

After that hard period, I became an energetic and happy girl who came through two difficult experiences. Now I appreciate life, health and all the days of my life much more than ever. I believe that there is no problem in life that is unsolvable; one should just keep positive. My purpose in telling this story is to say ... “Be strong when you are in a difficult stage of life; remember that the power and ability that God gives us is greater than the difficulty.

There are no hard and unsolvable problems in the world,
you just have to be patient, strong and positive.

I graduated from college in my home country, with a degree in child development studies, after two years of education. I graduated as the top student in my class, so my school found me an internship. One day, during my internship, one of the children brought candies for the class. The girl asked her teacher if she could share the candies while she was playing in the ball pit. The teacher approved the little girl’s request. However, that approval felt wrong to me. I told the teacher that children should not eat those candies when they’re playing in the ball pit, but the teacher did not listen to me. I was very upset that she perceived it as a complaint when I said it.

The children were happily eating their candy, but one of them started to turn blue and clapped her hands. I saw this and immediately went into the ball pit. I pushed the child's belly from the back with both hands and pulled her up. The candy came out of the child's mouth and fell into the ball pit. The teacher was very regretful, and she was thinking about what that girl would say to her family. I had not even imagined that I would receive first aid education and apply it to a situation right after graduation. I understood once again how important first aid is.

The owner of the school came and thanked me for my courage. The little girl could have died, but I saved her life. I did not even hesitate to help her. The girl's family heard about the incident, and they came to the school. The girl's father was a very authoritative well-known man in my country. The girls’ family said they owed me gratitude for my courage. They thanked me very much. The child's father asked, "What can I do for you? Please tell me." I thanked him, and said, “Saving your child has given me the greatest happiness I’ve known in my life.”

How could I know what this courage would bring me? The assistants at the college and the girl's father decided to send me to Italy to get a better education and to give me a job looking after the child of a very wealthy family in Italy. I was frozen with astonishment. This was a good opportunity for me and my future. I did not know whether to accept this offer or not. But I could not leave my family alone, so I declined the offer. Sometimes being courageous can benefit us and other people, but sometimes, our courage can bring sadness, pain, and loss. As long as I live, if I encounter an incident like this, I will do the same thing again.

The courage we have, offered in the right place at the right time, often will lead to a good result. Sometimes having courage is a risk, but when we have a situation where we need to save a human life, then we must be courageous and save them.

I am writing about my daughter Isabella. She was born with a condition that caused her muscle to be torn and at 10 months old, she needed surgery to help her with using her right arm.

When my daughter was born and was brought to the ICU, I was so scared I would lose her; I stayed by her side every day until she was able to leave. Eventually, I was told she would need surgery where they would have to make an incision in her neck to put a graph on the muscle in her neck. I was so scared for my daughter and I wondered how I could ever deal with life if something

happened and I lost her. The thought would run through my mind constantly, but I had to learn to have faith and be strong for her because she needed to see me strong and not crying or worrying.

I gave my daughter a kiss and she was off to surgery; it took four hours. The longest four hours of my life. I walked around Sick Kids Hospital telling myself she would be fine and okay, and she would make it. My parents came to meet me and stayed with me

through the wait and, when it was finally over, my daughter was okay! She was in a lot of pain, but she taught me to be strong and to never give up hope; I stayed and helped her with recovery.

While I was in the hospital, I saw so many people who needed help. I thought back to when my grandma was in the hospital and I went to help her with everything from feeding, combing her hair and taking her for walks, to even just sitting and talking with her. This sparked an idea for me and I said to myself, “When my daughter is 3 years-old, I will go to school to study and become a personal support worker. I’ll

become the best one out there, so I can help everyone and help make a difference.

My daughter Isabella changed my life; she made me stronger and gave me more courage than I ever had before. She is my spark in life, and for that I will become the best personal support worker ever and I will make a difference in the world.

The inspiration I hope to offer others is, to go after your dream. Never stop fighting for it. Have the courage and faith and believe in yourself. You can do anything you want. I have faith and hope that you too can become whatever you want in life.

I believe that the pandemic has presented all of us with challenges and obstacles that we have the option to overcome, and the opportunity to choose the path that will change the trajectory of our lives. For me, there isn't one moment, in particular, that I can say defined me, but a collection of moments served as little nudges, encouraging me to take control of my happiness, my life, and my future.

I've always struggled a fair amount with depression and anxiety, however, the pandemic hit me really hard. I felt isolated, depressed, and completely out of control of my life. I made the conscious decision to continue doing my therapy, although it was online, which took me some time to get used to. It felt like just surviving, just existing. I felt as though I did not have any purpose. Being put in a position where you cannot work, you're isolated from friends and family, everything is shut down and the news is terrifying across the world - makes for a very broken individual and that's how I felt.

Things began to look up when I began to look into careers of interest to me with high job demand, and a healthy environment. That is when I found dental assisting; it was a career that had crossed my mind before and the more I looked into it, the more I wanted to become a dental assistant. The leap for me was taking the initiative to contact the school and get everything in order to apply. I really had to ask myself if I was willing to commit to a school and give it my all. This required me to be brave and courageous and use the tools that I've learned in therapy to combat these negative, intrusive thoughts. The end result was, I convinced myself that I can do this.

I verbalized my desire to go back to school to my boyfriend and he was so incredibly supportive about it. It really helped me to talk to Ryan (my boyfriend) about going back to school because it helped me put those negative thoughts away and go for it. He always reminds me how well I am doing, now that I am about two months into the program. He tells me to make sure that I take time out of my day to remind myself that I am doing the right thing and that I can accomplish this. I've changed very much in the past two years, for the better, and one big reason for that is all the work I put into myself to get out from under that depression. Enrolling in Dental Assisting at Anderson College has and will change my life for the better.

I hope that others can read this and believe in themselves. You can make it through anything if you push yourself, have the desire to achieve your goals and reach out for help and support when you need it.

About three years ago, I left an abusive marriage behind to start my career. I wanted to show my children that you can be strong if you put your mind to it. It changed my life for the better, not being surrounded by negativity, showing my children that it’s not okay to settle for less. I put my foot out of the door and began my journey; it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I thought I’d be judged, but everyone I had around me was supportive. I began college; they helped me start my career. I now work an amazing job that will help me get to where I want to be in life and my children will know the story. They will grow up and see that their mother was strong enough to leave something abusive and jump-start her career, realizing the rewards that come with those choices.

When I was 18, I wanted to become a pilot, but life had other plans for me. My second career choice was working in the dental field, but I got into a life-altering accident and couldn’t continue college. My third choice was to join the police force. At Anderson, my flaws were overlooked, and they offered me their acceptance, as everyone deserves a chance in life. I started the Police Foundations program and, I have to say, it wasn’t easy, but having supportive friends and family along with teachers pushing you to excel in life showed me that I CAN do it.

I’d like to thank Anderson College for accepting me and believing in me, showing me that it’s never too late to start a new life, a new career, a new beginning. I am the star of the show, and I choose to make a difference. My children will grow up seeing that their mother did everything she possibly could to give them a different, a better, life.

I hope other people see my story and it pushes them to pursue anything they desire. There is no such thing as a ‘dumb idea’ for a career, for your life; you just have to push yourself through the storm, because every storm has a rainbow.


The moment I realized I can achieve anything is when I chose to study medicine in China. First, I couldn't speak Mandarin (the language spoken in China) and initially it was very hard to do daily tasks such as ordering food from restaurants, asking directions to strangers due to not comprehending the signs on the street and trains. I worked very hard to learn the language and understand the cultural norms in China. It was a struggle in the beginning, new culture, new language and massive/mega cities that were all new to me. It was the first time I left my home country away from my family including my mother. It didn't dawn on me how lucky I was while I lived with my family at home. I have a loving mother and very caring sisters that did everything for me including (all the cooking and cleaning). Once I arrived in China for school, I had to learn how to become independent quickly. Starting from scratch was not easy. At times I felt like giving up when I was overwhelmed with schoolwork, learning a new culture, new language, and also learning independent living for the first time in my life. Eventually I learnt the language, fell in love with the culture, completed my medical degree. Not only did I survive, but I thrived in that chapter of my life. In 2019, I moved to Canada; I was under the impression that I could practice medicine automatically. However, reality hit me fast and I realized that it would take years and many more exams, evaluations and the possibility of going back to school in order to practice medicine in Canada. From that point I had to make a decision quickly and find an alternative profession while I prepare the required courses for my dream to practice medicine in Canada. I decided to start a second career as a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) and applied at Anderson College. After almost one year here I am about to graduate with a new diploma and new profession. While studying at Anderson College, I met different people from different parts of the world, and we all have the same goals and dreams to achieve. I feel that I am a member of the Anderson family/community as we are all united to be part of the success that Anderson College is known for.

Life is about taking that first step towards your goal. Leave your comfort zone and take a chance. Only then can one achieve what they set out to be in this life. Impossible is a mind set, and if you work hard, you can achieve anything.

It has been over 15 years now, however, when I look back at this moment in my life, my heart feels the same strong emotions.

My moment of courage that shaped my life was about my decision to immigrate to Canada. I share about my experience with the students, graduates and especially newcomers I meet, on a regular basis. I feel that this is not only my story, but also the story of so many other individuals who, for different reasons, leave their home countries and open new chapters in a totally new part of the world.

I was only 26 years old, had just completed a degree in English teaching and started a career as an educator, working especially with young children, introducing them to a foreign language. Things were looking as expected for a young woman living in a small country that struggled economically and did not offer too many opportunities. I had to do more for myself; I had to create a chance for me to work hard and make it happen. I will never forget the look on my parents’ faces when they heard that their only daughter was going to live about a 12-hour flight away. As a mother myself now, I cannot even imagine the feeling.

So, with only two suitcases and a small amount of money that my parents were able to save for me, I landed at the Pearson International Airport in Toronto, where a friend from the same home country had offered to pick me up and host me for a little while. Where do you start?! Well, I started by printing some resumes and walking into a few shopping malls, dropping them off everywhere where they were looking for help. As many of the newcomers, after so many rejections, I landed my first job in a clothing store. After almost a year of working through all the holidays and weekends,

I decided that getting some Canadian education would be my way out of survival jobs and would pave the way to starting a career. The best decision I ever made!

Long story short, right after graduation from a business college, I got offered an admin job at the same campus, which for me was that chance to do something bigger. I decided to continue my education and, as I was working during the day, I took online courses in the evenings. Eventually, I was able to develop my professional and personal life. Here I am today, a proud mother, happy wife and a professional dedicated to inspiring others to reach their dreams!

I hope that others will resonate with my story and feel motivated to continue to show courage and overcome obstacles in life.

There is no doubt that 2020 and 2021 have been more challenging for everyone and requiring more moments of courage, both big and small. For me, 2021 has been exceptionally challenging.

After having lived more than a year in “pandemic mode”, I was fairly worn out. However, one night in July 2021, I found myself needing a “moment of courage”. By then I had been living as a single parent since 2019. Being a single parent to a young child during the pandemic has been challenging, especially co-parenting with someone managing pandemic risks differently than myself.

One night after she returned from her father’s, I put my daughter to sleep. Not ten minutes later, I heard her breathing very loudly. I had never heard her make that sound. I went into her room and saw her seizing. To say I was in shock is an understatement. I had never seen someone having a seizure. I honestly didn’t know what to do. I took a short video on my phone knowing I would have to explain it to the doctor later. I called her father who did not answer. I called 911 but had terrible reception on my cellphone. The phone call with the operator was taking too long as he could barely hear me. I feared for my daughter so I told the operator I would just drive her to the emergency room. I was overwhelmed and didn’t know how I would undertake this task alone. Finally, when the seizure stopped, I quickly readied myself and carried my 6-year-old to the car and buckled her into her seat. Luckily, it was a Sunday night at 10:30 pm so there was no traffic. On the way to the hospital, my daughter was starting to wake up, and I tried to comfort her the best I could while driving.

Once at the hospital, my daughter was fully conscious. I couldn’t believe I had done everything by myself. After tests the next day, she was diagnosed with epilepsy. She now takes medication and has not had another seizure since. It was and is a shock that she was diagnosed with this illness and that it seemed to come out of nowhere. Thankfully it is being managed well. It was a very unexpected challenge during an already trying time. But I chose courage, to be strong for my daughter, who has also been very courageous during this trying time.

I hope that others realize that you can always dig deeper and surprise yourself with what you are capable of.

I am going to share the most courageous moment of my life, which was coming to Canada from India by myself. I belong to a village where the main transportation mode is by bus, and even if I have to go far, the train was the fastest option. Flights were also expensive, and before moving to Canada, I had never boarded a flight, not even a domestic one. Boarding, checking, and immigration check -- every term sounded scary to me at that time. I was happy as well as nervous. I was packing my bags; I was so excited to see my husband after one year. Though he described to me every detail of the journey, I was scared because it was my first international flight by myself. The day came when I had to fly by myself on September 2, 2018. My parents dropped me off at the airport, who were also worried for me. With a timid heart, I asked every person at the airport regarding line up, immigration check, etc. I saw many videos about immigration checks where the immigration officers were very strict, could potentially send any one back. At that time, if something was to happen to me, I would not have been able to describe the situation to them in English properly, which was another tough part of my journey. Even after all these hardships, I decided to come to Canada by myself with very little knowledge and resources but with lots of courage and positive hopes. Finally, I landed in Canada on the September 3, 2018. I overcame the fear of everything and landed here safely. People were very helpful on the flight. And finally, I came to Canada to live with my husband after a long separation.

Courage is important in anyone's life.


It started when my mom passed away four years ago, the day after my 34th birthday. It was sudden, and we didn't even know she was sick. It took a toll on my whole family because she was so young (55 years old). Then about six months later my stepfather passed away. Before he passed, he was in need of a personal support worker (PSW), and that got me thinking maybe I should become one to help him. But by the time I looked into it, he was already gone and so I had put it on hold for a while. Then in the summer of 2019 my father-in-law was getting sicker and sicker by the day; he became so ill that he couldn’t leave the bed anymore. They had a PSW or a nurse come in to help him; he passed away that October. His need for care got me thinking about this career opportunity again, so I started researching schools and the program.

In August of 2020 my grandfather passed away, he and I were so close (being the oldest grandchild of seven). We did everything together when I was younger; it almost broke me when he passed. Then I started thinking about the fact that everyone who had passed away in the last four years of my life would not want me to sit around waiting for the rest of my family members to pass away. So, I thought better and continued my research into the PSW course. I wanted to make a difference not only in my life but for others as well, especially seniors, who need the love and care of people other than their family members.

So, that is exactly what I did, I got in contact with someone at Anderson College, in November of 2020, started the PSW program in January 2021 and just graduated in October 2021. Now I have enrolled in the Medical Laboratory Technician program not only to better my career but also to expand my medical knowledge. What started out as a series of tragic events, motivated me to courageously choose a career path for my life. Even though I couldn't help my loved ones in the way I wished, I can make a difference, now, in the lives of others.

I hope that in reading my story you learn that no matter what terrible things happen in your life, good things can come out of them. If you try and keep focused, you can accomplish anything!

In August 2004, I was getting ready to go to ‘Teacher’s College’ at Queen’s University. I had just come home from teaching Kindergarten in Taiwan for three years and was excited to expand my dream of teaching.

Unfortunately, on August 23rd, I had a fall that resulted in a serious injury to my brain. I woke up in hospital to see my sister, but when she spoke to me, her words made no sense, and I couldn’t speak. It was like my brain turned off the language switch, and her words were just strange sounds. Thoughts were confusing and my ability to communicate was gone. Thankfully, time helped, and I began to get better.

My memory and understanding started to return, so I began to speak. Though I was healing, Teacher’s College would have been too much. This loss was heartbreaking. Discharged from the hospital, I stayed with family to recover. After few months, my progress rate appeared to be slowing. Problem solving or remembering was a struggle and this left me questioning if university or future teaching, would still be possible. Then one day my old daycare supervisor called to ask how I was doing. When I told her of my concerns, she suggested a visit to the daycare so we could speak in person. When we met in her office, I sat down and realized I was shaking.

Teaching was everything and dreams I had worked hard to create, might be coming to an end. Being near it again, was difficult, but my supervisor had many wise words to offer. She acknowledged my challenges, but also pointed out my progress and even offered me the chance to try going back to work. It seemed impossible. The pace, the multi-tasking and the verbal communication with parents all felt like too much. She said it would be fine as she would start me as an extra teacher in the classroom, so the pace was mine to choose. There was no risk to the children and the teachers would appreciate what help I could deliver. That offer was kindness I can never repay. It was the stepping-stone needed to find my confidence again. Her offer was an example of what teamwork and true human kindness can do.

My courageous moment occurred on my first day at work. On the way to the daycare, I was shaking again, afraid it might not work out and my future would be lost. As I stepped into the classroom, I chose to face that fear, and happily never looked back. The following year, I went to Queen’s University, and earned my Bachelor of Education Degree.

Sometimes life gets in the way of our dreams. I aim to inspire others not to give up, no matter what fear or challenges stand in their way. It can take more time, but perseverance can create success.

Dreams are our heart’s greatest desires. They are meant to be fantasized to our heart’s content using our wildest imagination. Dreams, however, unaccompanied with actions, motivation, courage, determination and perseverance will never have the slightest chance to be turned into a reality. This was my guiding principle when I took a leap of faith in December 2018 to courageously embark on a new journey in Canada.

It was very difficult for me because this was the first time that I was leaving my family. I had a very good career in the Philippines where I worked as an Associate Manager for one of the biggest global (Fortune 500) companies. My husband and I owned a consulting firm that sent people who wanted to study, work and migrate, to Canada. I travelled 4-5 times per year, domestic and international. I was living a comfortable life. But I knew I would have to defy the odds if I wanted to change my life and live outside my comfort zone. At first, I thought I would not be able to withstand the avalanche of homesickness I felt, and I almost booked a flight to go back to my home country. But my husband reminded me of my purpose and why I wanted to be in Canada.

I know it is hard to be alone in a place where you have to work hard each and every day and face cultural adversity. Doing household chores and trying to build a life of my own was challenging. It really paid off for me to be courageous. I strived to make the dean's list during my stint at my school. I even joined forums in which I could test my skills and show myself that anything is possible. The motto "it is better to learn the hardships of learning than to suffer the bitterness of ignorance" is real in the sense that learning is a continuous process. It takes a lot of guts and persistence to overcome fear, anxiety and work to belong and become a better citizen.

Anderson College is the school that pushes me to be the best version of myself. With the help of my family, friends and colleagues, I strive to be the best because this school only provides what is upstanding, authentic and empowering. Straightforwardness, sensibility and persistence have a price, but gaining those through hard work is priceless. And that is what courage offers.

It is important to have a goal, a plan, a contingency plan in case the initial plan fails. Make a commitment to give your best. Never give up, be motivated, and inspired; work hard, be stubborn to be strong, keep on praying, hoping and dreaming.

On March 16, 2020, classes were cancelled for three days and then moved online. All my summer plans were thrown out of the window. I wanted to reach out and shadow as many different specialties of physicians as possible, I wanted to visit many professors for research ideas/opportunities and teaching assistant opportunities for summer classes. I wanted to volunteer at my local hospital’s fundraiser, do a co-op working with inner-city kids and spend much needed time catching up with friends. I sighed and continued to sigh as the days in quarantine turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months, and now even years.

Things I never would have guessed back in March 2020:

  1. We are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic today, as we near the end of 2021.
  2. I had the opportunity to work as a front-line worker, supporting individuals with special needs amidst a pandemic, four hours away from home.

Many people urged me not to go. I had never lived away from home, much less faced anything like the uncertainty of COVID-19. My family did not know how I would stay connected with them over the four-month period or if I could even leave my room without donning full personal protective equipment (PPE). I chose to go and live there because when was I ever going to get this kind of opportunity again? I was sick of staying in the comfort of my bedroom while seeing inspiring stories of people stepping up to help.

It is easy to be boastful; I am sacrificing my time and energy, I am so brave, and I am doing everything for these people with intellectual disabilities. What I am realizing is I am learning so much about myself, new skills, how to care physically and emotionally for others. With all the hurt COVID-19 has caused I think we can still be thankful –thankful for the healthcare workers, thankful for the opportunity to discover new ways of communicating and connecting with others, thankful for the opportunity to think about the lonely and vulnerable and reach out to them. COVID-19, as scary and uncertain as it has been, has allowed me to think of others.

My life right now is nowhere near what I planned. And I am learning to be courageous, to do my best in all the opportunities that are given to me, enjoy the process, and take it one step at a time.

I hope that when people read my story, they know it is okay to not be 100% sure of what the next step is. And it is okay to do things out of your comfort zone. The experience will surpass all your expectations!

As a teacher at the Hamilton campus, I have been a witness to the many individuals living homeless in the streets of Hamilton. During my lunch period, I would take a walk for fresh air and a change of scenery. Each time I would walk by a particular area, and I would come across the same young girl. This girl, I’ll call her Emily, appeared to be in her early 20’s, with tousled hair and old clothing. Each time I’d see her, she would be drawing in a small sketchbook. Emily would display her artwork and sell it to passers by to make money, to support herself. Emily intrigued me. Although she was down and out, she had this sparkle in her eye, a desire to “survive”, and be “courageous”. I always looked away if she made eye contact, I battled with myself about this. Why couldn’t I smile at her? I feared that making eye contact would make her feel judged, based on her appearance or living quarters. Emily became someone I thought about often.

I told myself that on my next walk, I would exchange a smile with her. The next day I approached her, I slowed down and stopped to look at her art. She looked at me, and I said “Hello”. I did something I wanted to do for a long time. Then I stopped into a nearby Subway to grab lunch. I quickly changed my order and said, "Make that, two sandwiches.". I didn’t want her to be offended by my gesture. I told myself it was time to be courageous. I walked back over to her and asked if she was hungry, we locked eyes and she whispered, “Thank you”. I stood there for a few minutes, and I remember my heart pounding. Before I left her, she paid me a compliment. Emily said, “I really like your lip gloss.”

That night I went home, and she was on my mind the whole night. I thought about her kind compliment and how grateful she was for lunch. The next day, before my class, I went on a walk to get a coffee. That day, I brought her a gift, the lip gloss. I passed it to her and said, “Try it!”. She put it on and asked how it looked. I replied, “You look so beautiful”. With teary eyes she replied, "No one has ever told me that before”.

Emily taught me a valuable lesson in life …step outside of your comfort zone, push yourself and have courage. Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything, maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that really isn’t you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.

I hope to inspire others to reach out, even if it makes you feel awkward. A simple smile or a hello could change someone's day or journey in life.

I am going to share with you the story of my own courageous moments. I am Thushyanthy Puradchithasan from Sri Lanka. I lived in refugee camps for 15 years and struggled financially and mentally, but I studied extremely hard, and I got admitted into the Bachelor of Arts degree program at the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka in 2003. When I graduated from the University of Jaffna, I got a job at the Provincial Treasury in 2008 and worked there until 2014. However, my family’s financial situation brought me to Canada.

I got married and came to Canada through my husband's sponsorship in 2014. After I came here, I planned to continue my studies, but my family commitments did not allow me to do so. After six years, I decided to opt for Medical Office Administration. At that time, I was very confused about my situation and wondered how I could manage my family commitments, taking care of my baby and my studies because my third baby was born on 7th January 2021. But my husband told me that I can do it and he promised me that he would support me during my studies. So, with my husband's promise and support, I started the Medical Office Administration program at Anderson College on 8th March 2021. Now, I am a student at Anderson College’s North York campus. This is a milestone in my life. I am so proud of and grateful for my husband. I thought that I would be unable to achieve my goals in life while fulfilling my family commitments, but here I am travelling towards those goals with my husband's full support.

When I started the program, my baby was two months old. The first four months were difficult for me. During that time, my first son also studied in Senior Kindergarten (SK) virtually. So, I needed to look after his studies and progress. Sometimes, I asked myself why I started my studies during this situation. Again, my husband encouraged me and told me not to give up. Also, my Anderson College teacher's instructions are exceptionally good and enable me to understand the course materials.

As I got the opportunity to study virtually during the pandemic and had the best lectures from Anderson College, I successfully completed my fifteen courses. I believe that after completing my program, I will get a job and it will change my family’s lifestyle in Canada. So, I will always thank my Anderson College family for the opportunity. I am so proud of myself as an Anderson College student, and the courageous moments I’ve experienced here, in this, will inspire me forever.

We can achieve our goal with commitment. If we have goal and go after it, it will always lead us toward achieving our dreams for our life.

I am a single mother of four kids. When my kids were little, I was a stay-at-home mother while I was in an abusive relationship. I was at a low point in my life. I felt and was told that I would never amount to anything, that no one would ever want me, and I would never be good enough. My partner got mad at me one day and the threat of physical violence was directed at my son, who was 8 months old at the time. I don’t know what came over me, but I did what I had to do to protect my son and that day was the last day –he last time I ever saw him. I finally called the police and told them what had been going on for years. That was the first day of the rest of my life. With my four children depending on me, I finally left him.

I had to start all over with virtually nothing. At the age of 21, I went back to high school and graduated. I went straight to college afterward but never found work in that field. So, I went back to school again and found a career I loved in Corrections. One day at work, I was informed that there was a suicide on my Work Range. It was my nephew. I spiralled into a severe depression and suffered PTSD from the guilt I felt for not seeing the signs leading up to his death. I suffered for a long time with the symptoms of PTSD.

I truly thought I would never get better and that my life would be a mess forever. Then I found work in long-term care (LTC). I found my calling. The one thing in life that I was made to do; built to do. Through all the obstacles and treacherous roads life has led me down, I finally found out who I am supposed to be. With this course I will be able to fulfill my destiny in healthcare.

You are worth it. You deserve to have your dreams come true.
And it’s never too late to go back to school to be the person you were meant to be, to have the career you’ve always wanted.

Life happens and it certainly does not wait for you to be ready! This sentiment resonated particularly with me over the last couple of years. It took me for a ride I never saw for myself nor thought I could endure. As you take each day at a time, you look back and can reflect on all the hurdles and challenges you overcame to bring you to this present day. Gratitude and self awareness have been key for me.

Starting the journey of my transformative couple of years, I was a freshly graduated adult entering the world. COVID-19 struck, many industries were hit hard and being in the food and beverage industry, I lost my job. My personal life took a turn and I had to quickly navigate the next step. In the year of 2020, I moved three times and worked two jobs. Though I had many revolving pieces in my life, some things were apparent … my sense of power, autonomy, and the ever-growing courage that filled my spirit as I realized I was taking myself through everything life required of me to do, remained. The moments of despair, of haze and uncertainty when looking towards the future were undeniably stifling as the world froze and was hit with terror. In my personal life this was reflected in my loss of self, security, future plans and stability.

Courage is to face that fear and take action for yourself, for your life. Today, I can look back at these times as a chapter of the past. Although I am aware there will be yet other challenging chapters that will arise, the one thing I know for sure is the courage in my spirit is strong!

Anderson College found me at a time when I least expected it. It was a call for me to try again. Since March 2021, we’ve built a team from the hope and courage within each of us. We look ahead and believe, not only in the power within ourselves but in each other to get back up and start anew! Starting from a team of two, the Message Centre is now a full team of five and growing.

I hope my anecdote about my last two years inspires others to think about the challenges they have faced within their own lives. We must not forget to cheer ourselves on and remember that we have made it here today!

In the middle of 2021, I courageously decided to pursue the rigorous Cardiology Technology program at Anderson College, as a survivor who resiliently overcame trauma, illness, and injury. I chose the possibility of a rewarding career, where I can help improve cardiovascular health outcomes for fellow survivors.

Almost a decade ago, I survived chronic abuse and harassment from a former driving instructor. I was too young to fully comprehend its long-term impacts. Despite not being able to enjoy high school due to this traumatic experience, I managed to graduate as an Ontario Scholar, and got accepted into the University of Toronto in Scarborough. Midway through my university studies, I was diagnosed with tachycardia, which I did not give much thought to at first, and simply attributed to university stress.

Less than a year later, while working for the government, I suffered from depression, anxiety, bronchitis, and painkiller dependence after failing my road test. Although I healed after receiving counselling, treatment for bronchitis, and completely abstaining from painkillers, re-entering university was particularly challenging due to many triggers. Then, I realized all my traumatic experiences and health challenges, from abuse and anxiety to tachycardia, were interrelated. This ignited my fascination with cardiovascular disease, but I was unsure about how to act on it. So, I first completed my co-op undergraduate degree with distinction in 2018, as many say, “against all odds”. In 2019, I overcame yet another obstacle when I left my full-time job as a Medical Office Assistant to heal from an infected sprained-ankle injury and the associated heart palpitations I experienced. I prefer to view this unfortunate situation as a positive because it solidified my interest in cardiovascular health.

I began researching careers in cardiology and came across Anderson College’s Cardiology Technology program. Immediately after the open house, I knew this was the career I had always been dreaming of and applied. By September 2021, I officially started classes in the Cardiology Technology program, and it is one of the best decisions I ever made.

My story of courage is a series of interrelated health and social challenges that I decided to transform into the possibility of pursuing a career, where I will hopefully improve the well-being of fellow survivors. This vulnerable group often faces cardiovascular health complications associated with, or resulting from, traumatic experiences. My lived experiences helped me to appreciate how a quick and accurate diagnosis of cardiovascular conditions using cardiology technologies can be life changing because it is often the first step in exploring co-morbidities.

Hopefully, with the support of my kind and knowledgeable instructors I will transform my one courageous decision, many courageous moments, passion, and dream of improving cardiovascular health for trauma survivors into a reality.

Do not be afraid to pursue your passion regardless of your identity, or any of its associated barriers.

It was a Sunday evening during winter when I came out of my friend's home in Winnipeg. It was not far away from my house, about six kilometers, so I had gone there on foot. It was already a bit dark and I wanted to get home quickly, so I decided to take a shortcut through a small forest. When I arrived in the grove, I saw a coyote rushing towards me in the distance. At that moment, I was so shocked that I could not dare to move at all, my mind went blank.

I am a city woman; there are no animals like this in my hometown. This experience and encounter was one I never expected in coming to Canada.

When the pack of coyotes approached me, I calmed down. I used my backpack as a

weapon in one hand and called a friend's phone in the other. The phone rang out loudly in the night, as the coyotes circled. I suddenly remembered that I had a package of snacks in my bag. I quickly took it out and threw it far away, and the coyotes ran away to snatch it. I escaped.

My friend came to get me, after having received my call. I was in shock. Another friend told me afterward that there are many coyotes in Winnipeg. They survive by catching small animals and really don’t hunt humans, but it didn’t feel like that. This experience was the most tense and scariest moment of my life. I was brave and feel I saved myself by maintaining my calm and composure. After having experienced this death-like fear, everything now feels good. Even in difficult situations, don't be afraid; you need to face them courageously.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I was not nervous and kept going to work. When I lost my job, my family decided to move to Toronto to find more job opportunities. I decided to go to Anderson College to study the Personal Support Worker (PSW) program. My husband got a job that would help us to survive. I hope I can get a job as a PSW, and then my husband will then be able to study another major and find a job that will enable our lives to get better and better.

I hope sharing my story encourages you too to be brave, to save yourself in any situation by maintaining your calm and composure.

This is not simply a story of compassion, or one of science fiction; this is story is about empowerment and how a normal mom found inspiration and strength from her son and started her life over from scratch.

Immigration is always a challenging process but is it even more difficult when you arrive and discover your life is a castle built of cards, riddled with domestic violence. Sometimes we see violence as something that happens to ‘other people’ and we are incapable of believing it could ever happen to us. However, if it ever does, escape at the first sign. But what happens if the type of violence you’re facing isn’t physical, but comes in the form of psychological manipulation? It lacerates your soul, your self- esteem little by little. What happens when that hurt comes from the one with whom you started a family, have a son with and for whom you left your country and family behind for? And all because that person has a problem: an addiction to alcohol.

The decision to leave is not an easy one to make, especially when fear dominates us. We feel the contradiction within – wanting to escape but also wanting to help the person who is the father of our child. That is the moment when we must think about the wellbeing of our little one, the one who should always be our priority. We have angels in the form of social workers that remind us that we are responsible for the patterns of behavior that our children will imitate in the future. That is when we leave everything behind, to seek emotional stability for our little ones as we build it within ourselves. And yes, I lived in a shelter; I know the feeling of being supported by people you don’t know but who become angels in your life.

My son, even though he is only 8 years old, is such a gentleman, and cares about me. He knows that every girl is a flower that needs to be treated with respect, and every night he tells me how proud he is of his mom. Now I’m studying at Anderson College to become a Medical Laboratory Technician, an opportunity that brings me along a new path in my life. Without a doubt, after every storm there is the magic of a rainbow. To be reborn, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, is always possible, more so if you have people who listen to you and tell you: I believe you, I’m here for YOU.

No matter how difficult life becomes, there are always pathways lit with hope that will help us get ahead, if we look for them and follow. Never give up!

My journey has never been easy. For years, it felt like I was mindlessly walking on a dark misty road, with a heart full of doubt and hopelessness.

In 2014, I came to Canada, and it was a bittersweet moment because I was able to be reunited with my mom, but I had to leave my boyfriend back home. In 2016, I went back home to get married and hoped that my husband would then be able to come here after a year, but there was a problem with the immigration paperwork. In April of 2018, I went back home again for a month to visit my husband and then, when I came back here to Canada, I had the most wonderful news! My husband and I were having a baby! I talked to my lawyer and told him the good news, hoping that my husband’s paperwork would be processed faster than normal. Sadly, I gave birth to my baby without the presence of her father. It was a good thing that my mom was here supporting me emotionally, physically, and mentally. When I saw my baby, she gave me lots of hope, joy and courage.

As days went by, my husband and I were using social media to communicate with each other. We never stopped hoping and believing because miracles happen everyday. Our daughter’s first birthday in 2020 was spent without my husband here. After my maternity leave, I had to go back to work but I had to drop to a part-time job because nobody could take care of my baby. It was a tough decision for me to give up my full-time job, but my baby is my priority.

Moving forward, COVID-19 came, and my employer said that part-timers would be laid off, and I was one of them. One day, I was in my room thinking what to do and I said to myself "I want to go back to school and continue my dream to be an Early Childhood Educator”. The next day, I contacted Anderson College and gathered all the information. I lived day-by-day, and unexpected news to come. My husband's paperwork was finally approved to come to Canada! And so, I learned to keep in mind that the universe really does work in mysterious ways. I almost gave up so many times but for some reason, no matter how risky and impossible the road seemed, I needed to continue walking and to have courage.

Never stop believing. Sometimes the process is painful and hard but don't forget that everything has its perfect timing. Be courageous, be strong!

A short story about myself and the reason why I am here in Canada and why I left my mother alone in my home country, the Philippines.

I was 12 years old when my father passed away. Life back then, after the passing of my father, was very difficult because my mother was a housewife. She needed to make a living because she had three mouths to feed (herself, me, and my older brother). It was difficult for her, but she was very optimistic about life and believed that as long as we worked hard together and had a strong faith in the Lord all would work out.

At a young age, my brother and I didn’t get the chance to play like our classmates and neighbours did. After class we would leave for home right away to finish our chores at home, along with our assignments. During the weekends, we would help our mother to sell something, or we would visit our grandparents and help them with anything they needed at their home so that they would give us money for our allowance for the upcoming week. Since I was determined to finish school and wanted to spare my mother the cost of my tuition fees, I decided I would perform well in my studies and become a scholar. Through hard work and determination, I finished college and then passed the licensure examination for nurses.

After several years, another devastating incident happened in our family, the passing of my brother. I had plans to go to the Middle East, but those were put on hold because I needed to stay and take care of my mother. My dream of working abroad was put on hold because my mother is more important than anything else.

I just always pray to God for His wisdom and guidance. And then in 2017, I was given the chance to come to Canada as a live-in caregiver. Slowly, my mother’s living situation in the Philippines got better and better because I could send her money every month. We had the chance to renovate our home and buy something nice for the house and I got the chance to help others. But earlier this year I tested positive to COVID-19 and was terminated from work. I didn’t know what to do at that time, but since my mother always taught me that God is greater than my problems, I left everything up to Him. And one day, as I browsed through my Facebook, I came across an Anderson College ad regarding a free tuition fee for the PSW program. Without a second thought, I registered immediately.

In every problem or detour in life, we should never loose hope and always trust the Lord because His plans will always be greater than those we can imagine for ourselves.

There’s always hope even when you’re at the lowest point of your life, as long as you have faith in the Lord.

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