This is Valerie Hobson, she is a participant in the VOI day program in Portage La Prairie (PLP) and a valued member of the community.
Valerie came to VOI in 2011 looking for a brighter future and the opportunity to grow, which is exactly what VOI delivered. VOI partnered with PCCL - TLC Daycare in PLP to support Valerie in her employment placement. Although she initially began as a volunteer, for the past year Valerie has been fairly compensated for some of her gifted service hours.
Natalie Verwey, Manager of TLC and the founding owner, says “We don’t know what we would do without Valerie, she is a big help, and we love her. Her nickname here is the baby whisperer because she can get any baby to stop crying.” Natalie has been a mentor to Valerie for the past five years. She gives Valerie a lot of credit for her achievements and dedication to her work.
For Valerie’s dedicated efforts, she earned her Early Childhood Development Assistants Certificate! Unfortunately TLC recently faced a road block; daycare regulations in Manitoba state that daycare workers may only maintain employment for up to one year without completion of the required ongoing education. As a result, Valerie is no longer paid for employment.
Some may see this as the end of the road for Valerie, but VOI proves it to be another example of why we exist……to break barriers. Lucille Hilhorst, Service Coordinator in PLP, took action. She contacted Red River College to find out how we could enroll Valerie and create an adapted program for her to learn the skills essential to her role. With the coordination of VOI, and help from the dedicated individuals at TLC, we were able to create a support team for Valerie to guide and assist her in reaching her goals.
The eight month program started on Tuesday and Valerie is now on the road to success. “I am good at putting babies to sleep, feeding babies, and doing puzzles with them, I am good at what I do, and I want to stay here.” And she will, thanks to everyone who believed in her.