Seeing a poster while in line for the food bank was the opportunity Dee was looking for.
She has always wanted to be a carpenter, a passion instilled in her by her adoptive family.
“I am Ojibwe and grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba,” says Dee. “I was adopted when I was 5 months old into a Caucasian family… my family has always been in the trades. My aunt has been in the carpentry trade, she did renovations on houses. My mom loved doing renovations on houses. So, I have all these little skills that I’ve built as a little girl.”
Despite it being her dream, being a teenager, Dee made some choices and ended up dropping out of school at the age of 17. Dropping out of school limited her career options and she was never able to secure the funds to begin her career as a carpenter and use the skills she picked up from her family.
She worked a number of construction odd jobs, however, it wasn’t sustainable, so she took a job at a call center. She was happy she could afford a good life despite not having her high school education.
“I really didn’t see myself going back at the time. I didn’t have any kids of my own, but I saw my partner’s kids grow and how I couldn’t help them with school stuff in grade 12.”
Dee was offered a job at the call centre as a manager, but her high school diploma was conditional to her employment. Dee enrolled in Adult Education in Winnipeg and completed her grade 12 education in a year. “That was a huge accomplishment for me,” she says.
Unforeseen circumstances forced her to leave her job and she was unable to find new work when she moved to Calgary.
Unemployed, surviving on Employment Insurance, and in line for the food bank, Dee turned and saw a Momentum poster advertising the Trades Training Carpentry Program.
“It just fit,” says Dee. “It actually fit. I don’t know what you call it, maybe an epiphany? Standing there, realizing that life might not be so great and then looking at this poster and seeing this as my opportunity.”
Things are starting to line up for Dee. She’s recently found out where her biological family is and she’s enjoying the trades training program at Momentum. She has the opportunity before her to fulfill a dream.
“I’ve always wished to be a carpenter. I’ve always wished to build a house, be part of something bigger. And here is my chance.”