I first started thinking I would look into going back to school to get my GED when my oldest grandson asked the simplest question: “Why didn’t you graduate?” I always told my kids they had to do one step better, and they did. I looked into his face and realized that the excuses would no longer work. The B.E.S.T program has been a great fit for me; Janelle, my instructor, has made me feel that there is nothing I can’t achieve. Being someone who deals with depression and anxiety, she made me feel at ease.I love my life today and how it is turning out. In the future, I hope to be employed full-time.”
"My name is Jason Adams and I started at The Learning Exchange in April 2015 and finished in May 2016. My goal for coming here was to get my GED to better my life. I was in the Community Adult Learning Program (CALP). It was an amazing program where the teachers were always there supporting me and making things easier for me to understand. It also taught me to never give up. I would like to say a big thank you to my teacher Maureen for the support and for what you taught me. Also a big thanks goes to Dayna and Harry for helping me with finding work and thank you Erin, Janelle, Chris, Dale, Crystal and Christina for all of your support."
"My name is Amber Leighton. I started at the learning exchange in September 2016 after a few friends recommended it to me. I was placed into Maureen's class and felt welcomed right away. Maureen coached me and was very helpful with all my questions and due to her help I was able to complete my GED early December! I consider myself very lucky to have a teacher who cared about me reaching my goal and wanted to see me succeed. She also gave me information, phone numbers and emails to help me continue on from there and I am now enrolled in NBCC academic studies and taking Medical Laboratory Technology in the fall. I couldn't have asked for a better experience at the Learning Exchange and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to pursue their life goals."
"I started at the Learning Exchange in 2014 working towards my GED in the Community Adult Learning Program. I also met with someone from WorkLinks and we made a plan for me to start job searching. I started working as a housekeeper but I wasn’t getting enough hours so I decided to move on and join the Workplace Essential Skills program in 2015. In WES I learned different things like how to work with others and communicate better. I also worked at Stone Soup Cafe. WES helped me get ready for work and made me feel more confident. In July 2015 the Job Developer sent my resume to an employer and I found a full time job cleaning. The Learning Exchange has helped me a lot and I still stop in to give everyone updates when I am not working."
"It all started with me taking the Learn and Go and Power Up! Programs in 2014. I wanted to build my confidence and expand my network through volunteering. Then I decided I wanted to go to work but I wasn’t sure where to start. Power Up! lead me to the WorkLinks program at the Learning Exchange and I started to job search with the help of my Workforce Coach. I was not having much luck finding a job so my coach suggested I try the WES program. I started WES in February 2016. During the program I continued to gain confidence, learned team building, new math skills, leadership, communication and computer skills. I also worked at Stone Soup Café and Catering, where I was able to build on some of the skills I already had from work experience in food service. This experience reassured me that I wanted to work in food service and I made friendships that have lasted after the program.After WES I worked with WorkLinks again on interview preparation and attended a job fair for a local grocery store. Three weeks after the WES program I was offered my dream job working in the deli department at Sobey’s. I would like to thank everyone at The Learning Exchange and Stone Soup for the support and encouragement. I love my job and my coworkers and I hope to continue working for a longtime."
I started at the Learning Exchange in July 2015 and finished in October. WES was a really good experience and helped me build a lot of skills that I need for the workplace, especially where I didn’t have a lot of experience. While in WES I volunteered with Voila and gained some actual work experience in a professional setting where I had the support of Erin, my coach. Chris was a really supportive and encouraging instructor. In November I came back and joined the BEST program where Janelle helped me work toward my goal of finishing my GED. While in BEST I was also working with WorkLinks and applying for jobs all the time. I passed my GED in February and within a week I had a full-time job with the help of the team at the Learning Exchange.
“Hello, my name is Christine. I am 53 years young. I looked into changing careers a couple of years ago, but I would need my grade 12 as a starting point. I entered the Learning Exchange July 2015, in uptown Saint John. A little shy, a little nervous. I wondered if someone my age could actually do this. I felt at home and in the right place by the end of my first day. Through my 10 months of studying, I could always ask my teacher, Dale, to give me another example or explanation. He really helped. When I felt I couldn't do this he gave me new faith in myself so I could finish. I was very lucky to always be supported this way. I wrote my exams April 2016. My next goal is taking the Human Services course at the Community College. I have applied for this September. The help and the support at The Learning Exchange has guided me through this. I could not have done this without them.”
We are so excited to update that Christine successfully passed her GED!
"I came back to The Learning Exchange this summer as a student in the Basic Education and Skill Training program (BEST). My goal is to write the GED and be self employed. I gained some experience working with Voila! Cleaning and I just started selling some of my crafts in the new Impact Market. I have been crocheting as a hobby for the past two years and would like to continue selling crafts around my community. I enjoy coming to the Learning Exchange because there are a lot of exciting opportunities for people while they are studying."
I started at the Learning Exchange in 2015 because I felt I needed a change in my life. I was going from one dead end part time job to another and could not find full time meaningful work. I figured going back to school was the most important thing I could do in my life to give me more opportunities. I had not been a student for 37 year and I was scared to return to the classroom. I started in Dale’s class and left for a short period to try a job through WorkLinks it didn’t work out so I came back to class while working odd jobs in the evening and on the weekends. In total, I attended full-time for a year and part time for 6 months and received my GED in November 2015. Many days, my teacher Dale was the reason I stayed because he was so understanding and patient and treated everyone with respect. You only live this life once, if you want to come back to school do it. Don’t worry about what other people think, worry about what you want out of life. I know my mom and dad would be proud of me. Now that I have my GED I am going to learn to play guitar, and I want to find an employer that respects the work that I do.
"I was a senior at Simonds High School in 1991 when I dropped out of school after becoming pregnant. I always told myself I would finish high school or obtain my GED. After spending two decades raising my children, I acknowledged that I faced many barriers to success in the labor market. Some of the barriers I cited were: lack of a high school diploma or GED and post-secondary education or training. I decided it was time to take the plunge! In 2008, I continued my education at the Learning Exchange in the B.E.S.T Program (Basic Education and Skills Training). The staff were very welcoming and my instructor Janelle was always so encouraging and supportive to me. I wrote my GED that following year but did not pass all five exams. I re-wrote numerous times but kept receiving disappointing results. I was discouraged and decided to give myself a break and left the Learning Exchange. Then, in 2015, after six years of being away from the Learning Exchange, I returned; Janelle welcomed me back with opened arms! Initially I was embarrassed to return, but I then realized that this time nothing was going to get in the way of achieving my GED. It was those first few steps of walking back through the door that made it happen! There were days I wanted to give up! I was persistent and determined. I just couldn't quit because I'd only be disappointing myself! In 2017, I received the biggest news I so longed for: I PASSED my GED!! With my GED, I'm now enrolled in the Biology course at NBCC as my prerequisite to the LPN in September 2017. I always pictured myself wearing the Simonds High School cap and gown coloUrs on display on my grad wall at home alongside my two adult children in their graduation gowns. There I now hang in a frame with pride!"
Nicole M Voutour
I joined the learning exchange in September 2018 on a recommendation from my case worker. I joined WES to learn some workplace skills. I didn't think that i was going to enjoy the program as much as I did, it was a better learning environment then most school have in my opinion. I also did soft skills and digital literacy but only completed the former. Eventually my time to move on became apparent so I moved to work links and started to work with Mary who helped me completed my resume.
Some time after I was given an opportunity to work at the Impact Market for a few weeks. My time at the Impact Market was
very enjoyable I learned a lot of cool things while working there. Sadly my time to leave Impact Market was at hand, but a short time later I was invited to come back and Impact Market slowly became one with the Stone Soup Cafe. I began working with the newest social enterprise Creative Squirrel - where I am currently employed at the time of writing my story.