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Allison's Success Story

Allison is a 42-year-old single mother who lived in a rural area two hours north of Selkirk. In July 2002, she experienced a spontaneous left carotid artery dissection (stroke) while working as a self-employed taxi driver in the north. Immediate life-saving surgery followed by rigorous rehabilitation helped to restore most speech and motor functions, but left her with residual weakness and little motor control in her right arm.

Allison had completed Grade 9, and later achieved a Grade 11 standing through the GED program in 1981. All of her past employment positions had involved sustained, strenuous physical labor, which she was no longer able to do. She had no other marketable skills and only minimal computer experience. Unable to work, she applied for Income Assistance to support herself and her young son. As she continued her recovery process, she asked her EIA counselor for help in finding employment, or training that would enable her to find work. She was referred to A.I.M. on February 24, 2004 for Vocational Rehabilitation services.

While at A.I.M. for Work, Allison received in-depth interest testing and vocational counselling. A Vocational Assessment was conducted in March 2004. It was determined that the best course of action would be for Allison to attend an adult education facility for educational upgrading.

She enrolled in the Mature Student Diploma Program at Fieldstone Ventures in Ashern; a one-year course that began in September 2004. A.I.M. for Work provided Allison with a Maltron one-handed keyboard, and installed a used computer in her home so that she could begin to practice her typing. Training and instruction on the computer and Maltron Keyboard was provided by the A.I.M. for Work staff, who also provided technical support to Fieldstone Ventures to ensure that the Maltron Keyboard would adapt to their computers.

Allison was an exceptional student, her keyboarding, computer and technical skills were in the superior range, and she mastered many complicated spreadsheet and data base programs. Allison achieved excellent results in all of her school subjects, and she graduated with a Grade 12 standing in June of 2005.

Allison was extremely motivated and committed to self-improvement. Her biggest dream was to become self-supporting once again. During the time that she was in training at Fieldstone Ventures, further educational goals became clearer, and she decided that she wanted to become a Social Worker. She arranged for informational interviews with several educational centers, but finally selected Booth College. She relocated to Winnipeg to attend the first year of General Studies, and in May 2006 she successfully completed that program. She was delighted to be accepted into the Bachelor of Social Work program, which will begin in August 2006.

Allison put forth a tremendous effort to overcome the barriers that were placed in her way. This formidable effort, combined with the assistance of the A.I.M. for Work program, made it possible for her to succeed in achieving these goals.