With a little bit of help from The Winnipeg Foundation, Keri-Lynn Readhead realized she has the power to shape her future education and overcome challenges to achieve her goals.
Keri-Lynn is one of 12 participants of Career Trek’s ‘M’ Program, a program designed to help young mothers overcome barriers and get them back on the path to education and career success.
Keri-Lynn, mother to one-and-a-half year-old Allan, is a 22 year-old ‘M’ Program graduate with onyx hair and a bright contagious smile.
“’M’ Program really helped me realize quite a few things,” says Keri-Lynn. “First of all, it’s not impossible. You can do it!”
Keri-Lynn didn’t always have this level of infectious optimism toward education however. She struggled with school and her attendance.
According to Misty Belcourt, ‘M’ Program Manager, young mothers have a host of challenges they have to overcome in order to be successful on their education and career paths, the need for safe transportation, childcare, and good nutrition are just a few.
One of the most pressing challenges facing ‘M’ Program participants is finding the time to eat properly and feed their children healthy meals. When they go to school full-time and attend ‘M’ Program two nights a week, proper nutrition for a young family can be difficult.
Thanks to the ‘Nourishing Potential’ grant from the Winnipeg Foundation, The ‘M’ Program is able to help address nutrition with participants by providing them and their children with healthy meals during programming, ensuring an advantageous learning environment.
The impact of poor nutrition is well documented. According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, when students do not eat a healthy diet they may miss out on important nutrients needed to support optimal cognitive functioning.
“I liked the food!” says Keri-Lynn. “I don’t care what anyone says! That food was okay!”
Along with addressing the challenge of nutrition and learning, The ‘M’ Program is committed to helping participants overcome barriers surrounding education and employment.
Before The ‘M’ Program, Keri-Lynn admits it was difficult to make school a priority.
“I’ve realized that I’ve been slacking in some things, like with my attendance,” Says Keri-Lynn.
The ‘M’ Program has helped her to realize many things about herself and what she really wants, including the understanding that post-secondary education will play an important role in helping her provide for Allan.
“It’s made me believe in myself more. I can do it. That extra confidence in myself,” says Keri-Lynn. “That is the biggest thing that I have taken from the program.”
Keri-Lynn sees this experience as a positive chain reaction, and says that her goal of becoming a nurse is well under way as she has learned how to self-assess and push herself to achieve her goals.
Between her active schedule with her son Allan and her education plans, Keri-Lynn is working on filling out post-secondary applications and waiting on a letter of acceptance.
Her tremendous accomplishments are something to be proud of. Her continued success, both as a mother and as a mentor in her community, are things we continue to look forward to seeing in her future.