Jan 5, 2018
By James Oloo
Kimberley Laviolette is a medical administration assistant at a Saskatoon medical facility and a graduate of Dumont Technical Institute. We recently sat down with her to discuss her experience during and after her training at the Institute.
Kimberley started her medical office administration training at Dumont Technical Institute about eight years ago, but left the program half way through due to family reasons. She then found herself moving from one minimum wage job to another.
With tears in her eyes, Kimberley described how three years ago she suffered serious physical injuries from a spousal abuse incident that was very traumatic. This, she noted, “strengthened my resolve to return to school, succeed, and create a safe and secure life for my children.”
She then contacted Dwayne Docken, then an employment counselor at the Gabriel Dumont Institute Training and Employment for advice. “Dumont Technical Institute welcomed me back and said I could continue my studies in the medical administration assistant program. They gave me financing, encouragement, Dwayne was my cheerleader. He kept telling me that I had what it takes to complete the program and get a good job. At the time, life was hard as a single mother on welfare.” Kimberley continued, “But returning to school was not easy. I struggled to regain confidence and had difficulty socializing with others.”
The Dumont Technical Institute has long documented some of the common challenges experienced by students who return to school as adults, including anxiety and balancing the demands of school, family, and employment. The Institute has strategies in place to help the students overcome such barriers. Kimberley stated, “I was scared when I went back to school. I did not know anyone.” Further, “balancing school and family was tough. I sacrificed a lot to finish school, but it was worth it. Dumont Technical Institute was my first stepping stone into life. Today, I have a full time job and my family is happy.”
Kimberley said that completing her studies at Dumont Technical Institute was one of the best decisions she has ever made. The post-secondary education she received “opened doors for me, changed my life, and I can today walk with confidence, holding my head up high. It has also enabled me to set appropriately high expectations for my children.”
Kimberley grew up in foster homes in Prince Albert. This led to the loss of many people in her life and affected her confidence. She is thankful for her teachers, classmates, parents, and her family for their encouragement and support. “From my own childhood experience, and as a mother, I know that high but realistic expectations are very important to raising successful children. My own education, career, and parenting skills will enable my children to aim higher.”
Kimberley was motivated to complete her education by her family. “My children motivated me to stay in school. I wanted to show my children that no matter how hard life beats you down, you have to get back up.” She pointed out that “My husband and all who love me were very encouraging, many people believed in me.” She asserted that, “Without GDI, my family and friends, I would not be where I am today.”
Kimberley says it can be a tough world for women who are not economically empowered and are in abusive relationships. As she puts it, “If it were not for GDI I would still be depressed, anxious, and on welfare. However, today, I feel blessed, I have a good job, I provide for my family and we are happy.”
Kimberley turned to her teenage son who accompanied her to GDI office and asked him what he thought about her story. His response was, “I am proud of you mom. I am motivated to finish high school and go to college just like you did.”