Amy Cousineau has faced a number of challenges in the past, but is putting it all behind her thanks to the support of the Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI).
As a single mother who fled an abusive relationship, Amy knew she wanted to do more for her son than rely on income assistance but wasn’t sure where to start. She just knew she wanted to help others as a way of giving back.
With the support of SPEI, she was able to enrol in the mental health and addictions program through Camosun College with the goal of becoming a social worker. SPEI is covering her tuition and other school expenses as well as child care for her two-year-old son.
Classes got underway in the new year and Amy is finding it very busy but enjoyable.
“It makes a difference when it’s something you love,” she said of her busy schedule and being away from her son for long stretches at a time.
Amy admitted she would never have been able to afford to go to school, particularly with the additional expense of child care, without SPEI.
“By helping the mother, that helps a lot of people. I can help my family and friends through what I am learning, and I can help my son by being able to support him.”
SPEI has also helped Amy in other ways, including boosting her confidence.
“It’s important for low-income single parents to know that it’s possible. I have the same opportunities now as someone who is in a better situation than I am.”
That new-found confidence, along with her friendly personality, will be an asset in launching a new career.
“It makes me feel so good to be able to talk to others about their situations. It makes me smile.”
The Single Parent Employment Initiative provides eligible single parents on income or disability assistance with supports including up to 12 months of funded training for in-demand jobs or paid work experience placement, transit costs to and from school, and child care costs during their training or work placement and in the first year of employment. Single parents can also remain on income assistance while attending a training program. Since its launch in September 2015, more than 4,600 single parents have become involved in SPEI and over 915 have already found employment.
Learn more about the Single Parent Employment Initiative: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/home/featured-services/services/employment-initiative-for-single-parents
Sean LeslieMedia Relations
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation