Friday, October 8, 2010

40 after 40: Lisa Neilson

Before Douglas College, Lisa Neilson was an 18 year-old single mother struggling to start a new life in Burnaby after a life on the streets.

“My youth worker had mentioned Douglas College, so I inquired about several programs that Douglas College was offering,” she recalls. “While sitting in the registrar’s office with what seemed like a mountain of forms in front of me, I became increasingly overwhelmed and anxious about the application process. The lady at the registrar who had previously assisted me said, ‘you'll do just fine, come ask for help anytime.’" Those little words meant the world and the beginning of my education.”

After successfully completing the Health Care Support Worker program, Lisa realized she would be doing herself a serious injustice if she did not continue her education. She is currently enrolled in the Criminology Diploma program and will graduate in January of 2011.

“After graduation I plan to pursue my BA of criminology/criminal justice with an extended minor or possible double major in criminology and would love to continue on to a master’s program to put forward some of the unique ideas that have originated through my time at Douglas College.”

In addition to her schooling, Lisa is in her fourth year as a peer-counsellor for street entrenched youth where much of her education at Douglas College very often comes in handy.

“I was dealt a very unfortunate hand in life, by 14 it was expected that I would remain addicted, homeless and state dependant,” she says. “But Douglas College showed me that when someone puts themselves out there, takes initiative, asks for help and, most importantly, believes in themselves, anything can happen.”

40 after 40 is a series showcasing our amazing grads and employees in celebration of our 40th anniversary. Check back every Wednesday and Friday for another inspiring story. See more about our 40th on our Anniversary page.