Shelby's Journey: Overcoming Addiction to Become a Community Service Worker

April 24, 2023 | Alberta

Shelby, a mother of two from Grande Prairie, Alberta, knows firsthand the struggles of addiction. Her husband, a truck driver, is often on the road, leaving her to take care of the kids on her own. But Shelby is a survivor and is determined to help others who are struggling with addiction.


Shelby's journey began while she was attending meetings and doing group work during her recovery. It was at this time she heard about the Addictions and Community Service Worker program. She did not know about the program, and she was compelled to find out more.


Before she knew it, Shelby had signed up and been accepted into the program. It was a life-changing decision that she does not regret. Shelby was passionate about helping others and understood people struggling with addiction need love and respect just like anyone else.


Starting A New Path


Being an online program Shelby was unsure about what to expect from the program. As a hands-on learner, the online aspect was a little daunting, so too was having to juggle her commitments at home with the kids, but she discovered it was a great experience. Being online allowed her to schedule things on her time, learn at her pace, and could review things she didn’t easily understand.


She also had the benefit of having a small cohort of just 15 students. This meant that finding time to collaborate and scheduling time with classmates was also simplified. She also felt that at times it was just her and the instructors which gave her a lot of one-on-one time when she needed extra help.


She found the instructors knowledgeable and available, and she credits them as being a significant factor in her success.


Giving Back To the Community


Shelby’s determination paid off, and in January 2022 she graduated from the program and began working as an FASD navigator in Grande Prairie. It’s a role that allows her to help people in need. She helps with finding access to income, housing, and food. It’s a difficult role and not without its challenges, but her coworkers have been supportive and have helped her whenever she needs it.


For her, the biggest frustration is when she can’t reach her clients. Her desire to help is evident, she knows they’ve been marginalized and have faced significant obstacles in their lives, and she is always happy when she can make a connection.


She’s proud of where she’s got to. Going back to school and entering a job wasn’t just for her and her future, but she wanted to show her kids too that no matter how hard things seem, it’s possible to overcome and find success. For Shelby, her success is also her dedication and legacy to her family. She is already looking into the possibility of taking an addictions and mental health course and is excited about what the future holds.


For now, Shelby is making a difference in her community and looking forward to what lies ahead.


For anyone thinking about entering the Addictions and Community Service Worker program, Shelby's advice is to take things one day at a time and stay determined.


Click here If you’re interested in learning more about the Addictions and Community Service Worker program.


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