Nikki was referred and completed Getting Ahead through the Goodwill Career Centre. She is a single mother who had recently separated from her partner, and was on Ontario Works. Nikki was one credit short from graduating at Brescia University, but was unable to complete the credit until she was eligible for OSAP to assist with tuition. OSAP would not release her funds until the interest from a previous school loan was paid. Paying the interested owing was not feasible for Nikki due to living on the income from Ontario Works; Nikki was caught in a systemic barrier. Nikki identified feeling stuck and unmotivated, and felt completing her degree was the only way to break through and be successful.
Nikki says that when she completed the Getting Ahead program it had “lit a fire under my feet”. Through Getting Ahead, Nikki was able to co-facilitate parts of the program while attending, which allowed Nikki to gain experience in her educational field and helped build her self-confidence. Nikki graduated from Getting Ahead and moved into Circles. Her circles coach, and Getting Ahead Facilitator supported her to advocate to continue her degree, and access OSAP. At the same time she started applying at multiple social service agencies and was able to secure permanent part-time employment with benefits.
She is now working full-time in her chosen long-term employment field, which she identified from the activities in Getting Ahead. Nikki now works at Indwell Housing and they even created a position for her. Nikki is now actively making positive change for the residents of Indwell.
Nikki now refers others to Getting Ahead, speaks at each Getting Ahead group, is an Alley in the Circles program, AND is still looking to complete her degree!