Facing challenges head on

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Basketball great Michael Jordan has been credited with saying, “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

Jessica Mooney is not afraid to climb, go through, or work around obstacles.

“My goal has always been to face adversity head on and prove that it’s possible to claw your way up from the absolute bottom,” she said. “But even so, as I got older and things got harder, I lost all confidence in myself. I was diagnosed with a basic math learning disability, so the math and sciences courses were intimidating to me. I managed to do way better than I thought I would and have grown the confidence to do anything I desire. That’s thanks to YPEP and the UACE program.”

Though she describes living a life that wasn’t so easy at first, Jessica determinedly faced the challenge of earning her high school graduation diploma, while balancing being a present mom to her young daughter. Support from the Young Parents Education Program (YPEP) was an important part of her journey.

YPEP is a unique, four-pillar family literacy program, run by the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, in partnership with the College, that provides full-time childcare, allowing young parents to attend formal college classes.

While enrolled in upgrading courses in the College’s Upgrading for Academic and Career Entry (UACE) program, YPEP’s life skills classes helped Jessica learn to balance being a mom with her academic work.

“The best part of the program is getting to see my daughter while I’m at school,” she said. “Sure, my studies could have been done a bit faster if I were using a separate daycare and doing my work in the classroom all the time but then I wouldn’t get to see my daughter as much. As a single working parent, the time I spend with my daughter is maximized because of the mandatory programming hours of YPEP.”

The support of both the YPEP and UACE programs has played an important role in Jessica’s journey so far.

And with that new-found confidence, Jessica is prepared to take on her next challenge as she enters the College’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program in September 2021.

“I’ve always wanted to go into medicine, and I have a definite love for the sciences,” she said. “The BSN program is only the start. I’m not quite sure where I’ll end up or if I’ll be content being a nurse, but I do know that I wish to work in a field that is ever evolving with more things to learn.”

“Jessica provides a stellar example for others,” said Desneiges Profili, Executive Director, Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL). “She worked hard, stayed focused and is now realizing the rewards of her efforts. She is also a role model for not only her daughter, but for all of us. We’re honoured to have been a part of her learning journey and we thank those who have funded this program as it would not be possible without them. Learning looks different for everyone, and YPEP is proof that creative partnerships rooted in the desire to assist people can be wildly successful.”

Columbia Basin Trust and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training have been long-time contributors to the Young Parents Education Program.

No matter where Jessica’s path eventually takes her, we’re confident she’ll continue to climb over, go through, or work around any obstacle that she may encounter along the way.