The Getting Ahead program helped me in so many ways. Learning about poverty and the impacts it can have on people was really enlightening, and helped me to reflect on my own life. The self-discovery portion of this program helped me discover where my strengths and weaknesses are, and showed me how to identify which areas of my life I needed to focus on and improve. When we worked on identifying the areas in which we were strong, I felt really empowered and proud. Getting Ahead helped me form plans on where I want to be and how to get there. Instead of just dreaming about my future, I was able to make a detailed, step-by-step map to achieve it. I also learned some helpful strategies to get me through the process.
One of the most important steps for me was taking care of my mental health. I always felt like I had so much to do that I never had time to focus on myself. Getting Ahead showed me that because I wasn’t focusing on my mental health, it had become one of the biggest factors that was impacting my chaotic and disorganized life.
Getting Ahead also introduced me to a community of people with similar struggles. This was really eye-opening for me, as it showed me that I am not alone. The discussions we would have in class were amazing. Being able to connect with someone's story because you've been there, and having someone else connect with your story and say, "I've dealt with that too", is such a comfort. We listened to each other, offered support and advice, and validated each other. It was a really powerful experience.
At the end of the Getting Ahead program, I had a clear picture of myself and my life, and the knowledge and strength to go forward with my steps. It was as if the puzzle pieces of my life started falling into place, forming an organized picture that I can understand and make sense of.
The lives of people on Ontario Works, Disability, and in subsidized housing, would improve greatly by having the opportunity to participate in the Getting Ahead program. Then, they too can see that they don’t have to settle for just getting by, they can get ahead, too.