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“Pride”: A Reflection on My First Year as an Employee of GDI

By Colleen Duffy

May 6, 2020

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It was a beautiful day in May 2019 when I reported for my first day of work as the newest member of the Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) family. I always knew that the Institute had been doing an excellent job in empowering and making a positive difference in the lives of Métis students, clients, families, and communities since 1980.


Reflecting on my first year as an Employment Services Manager with the GDI Training and Employment in Regina, I would have liked to highlight a story about one or more of the incredible students that I have met. However, the Covid 19 pandemic has made contact more difficult.


It could have been about a former client who came in with his wife to ask about possible assistance for their daughter who was about to graduate from high school and wanted to train as a practical nurse. I spoke with them about the Dumont Technical Institute program and how incredible the faculty and staff were and gave them a brief tour of that classroom.


He called back the next day to say that the family had made a decision. His wife, who had stayed at home to raise their children and who was now working in a minimum wage job, would upgrade her high school education then take the nursing program with her daughter.


Or it could have been about the student who returned to school after raising a family and only being able to secure part time work as a cashier. This was a student who struggled with some of the material and had often been told that something was wrong with her. So, when she was diagnosed with a learning disorder, she felt at ease knowing that it was not her fault. This student is now doing so much better today despite having health issues and not being able to drive; and does not see barriers anymore, it is only opportunities and possibilities.


It could also have been about the student whose spouse lost their job but despite that setback continued to thrive and envision their future success. This student warmly and openly helped anyone who needed it and never missed baking a cake to celebrate every classmate’s birthday.


These are just a few of the students I have met since working here and you would have enjoyed meeting any of them through an in depth profile. But this is not the time to intrude as they have to make adjustments to this new reality.


Without a doubt some of them are struggling with the new remote delivery of programs; but they have the support of the instructors who really care and go the extra mile to help them meet each of their needs.  They also have the support of the whole GDI organization and in Regina, they have Gareth Griffiths who works long hours making sure that every employee and every student has the technology they need to work successfully at home. Would someone please let me know if I can submit an expense claim for a cape and mask for our resident superhero?


When I started at GDI Training and Employment it was spring and a time of celebration. Classes were ending and students were going on interviews and landing incredible jobs. There were graduations and I witnessed a great deal of generational pride as families came together. What a difference a year makes.


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