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Kendall Worth: Great news for young woman on income assistance as dreams of university come true

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Regular readers of the Nova Scotia Advocate may remember a story I did in the fall on how the bus pass for people on low incomes improved the life of a young woman who lived in the middle of nowhere.   

Recently she contacted me with some good news. 

For one, she is moving out of Beaver Bank and into Bedford. She is looking forward to this move because after she settles into her new place her life will be a bit less isolated, closer to the stores and services she needs. Also at her new address bus service will be better.

But more importantly, the other good news is that she got accepted in the Career Seek Program. This second piece of good news has both of us really excited. I say it is about time we at Nova Scotia Advocate heard about someone getting accepted into this program. 

She is going to Dalhousie as a full time student. Her meals on campus will be covered by Career Seek, so she will only have to worry about food on the weekends. This will make a big difference when you live on income assistance.

I am familiar with others who tried to get accepted into this program, and got turned down due to the bureaucratic nonsense and systematic problems at the Department of Community Services (DCS).

However, for this income assistance recipient to get accepted was not easy and it did not happen overnight.  In her case it was thanks to getting an employment support worker who actually helped her cut through that nonsense.

This is how she got accepted into Career Seek.

When she told her caseworker she was interested in the Career Seek program, her caseworker referred her to an employment support worker. 

Getting accepted into Career Seek took a lot of visits with her employment support worker. She head to take some tests and assessments to make sure she was capable of going to university as a full time student. And also to make sure that university was going to be a good fit for her. 

She is looking forward to feeling less isolated and getting back to having structure in her day to day life. She owes it all to having the free bus pass, she says. It helped her be able to explore various options of what she wanted to do in life. 

She did tell me that she plans to take going to university seriously and does not plan to engage into doing stuff like going out partying and drinking. She is planning to take advantage of studying in the library when she does not have classes.

With the free bus pass she was able to visit university campuses and check out different courses. She decided she wanted to study either nursing or social work. However she is still deciding between the two what exactly she will major in. 

However, she also says she does not plan on isolating herself from doing social activities with new friends she will make, as long they are healthy social activities.  We both agree that not taking breaks from your studying is not healthy for you. 

Her hopes and dreams are that this new life is a start on the road of getting herself off income assistance.  She believes she can do it.   

All of us at the Nova Scotia Advocate I wish her good luck and all the best!

Kendall Worth is an award-winning anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.

Click here to find out more about the Career Seek Program.

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