Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/1/2015 (1868 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
She arrived in Canada as a refugee from Sierra Leone in June of 2002, a single mother of five children ranging in age from two to 18 years. Today, Augustina Foley is site manager for the Morrow Avenue Childcare Program operating out of Hastings School in St. Vital, a position she has held since 2007.
Foley had worked in her home country as a teacher in a pre-school program. When a friend told her about the EDGE Career Program, an employment preparation program for low-income individuals, she wasted no time securing her seat in the September session.
"It was called the Job Re-Entry Program at that time…I was there from September to October and by the end of October (the staff) told me ‘it really seems like you’re ready for the workforce’ so I did not actually stay in the Program that long," Foley explained.
The Morrow Avenue Child Care Program hired Foley that October to work as a childcare assistant while she completed her early childhood education II program at Red River College. She worked three days a week and studied two days a week. Since then, she has risen up the ranks to management and is responsible for staff supervision, program planning and the care of 34 children.
Although her time in the EDGE Career Program was short, Foley credits it with preparing her for her current job.
"First of all, it was connecting with people," Foley said. "Because I was new, I had a fear of meeting strange people. Who should I talk to? What are the things I should ask? The program helped me to venture into this unknown country, to feel comfortable and to have the confidence to step out…
"The program was very open to newcomers. I felt welcome. I felt warmth. I felt loved. The way I was accepted in the program helped me to forget that I was new. It was like reconnecting with a family."
Foley’s will be only one of hundreds of success stories celebrated as EDGE Career Program throws a party to mark 25 years of service to the St. Vital area on Thurs., Jan. 22 at Riverside Lions, 188 Worthington Ave.between 2 and 7 p.m.
The public is invited to the come-and-go event, which will feature a special program at 2:45 p.m.
Nicole Pringle is a community correspondent for St. Vital.