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Crystal was a teenage mother who was forced to drop out of high school to raise her two young sons. Despite these obstacles, she went back to school and graduated at age 21 with honours.

Now, a single mother, Crystal decided to pursue a career in nursing and was accepted into the program at UBCO in 2010. She had to withdrawal from the program for a year as one of her sons contracted the H1N1 virus but again she persevered and graduated as a certified RN in 2015. 

Crystal met her fiancé during the beginning of her University education and he supported her in many ways throughout her degree. They had a son together after her graduation so she again had to postpone her career. When her son turned 18 months old, Crystal was ready to pursue employment but lacked the confidence to enter the workforce and she didn’t know where to start. 

Crystal met Charlene Blais, an employment counsellor for the YMCA Youth Works program, who encouraged her to join the 5-week job readiness program. Through this program, Crystal gained the skills necessary to build a professional resume/cover letter, as well as the confidence to network and be successful in an interview. She also learned how to navigate through and job search within the health care system, and obtained her first aid, CPR, WHMIS, and mental health first aid certifications. She is proud to announce that she just received a casual on-call position with Interior Health at a senior's care home in Kelowna. 

“My ultimate passion is to become a psychiatric nurse and support those struggling with mental health,” says Crystal. “I am so grateful that the YMCA offers the Youth Works Employment Program as it helped me gain the confidence needed to secure employment, especially after being out of the loop for a while, and then subsequently the means to pay back my student loans and successfully provide for my children.”