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“I'm very grateful to be a part of this agency.”


When you speak to Janelle, even for five minutes, you can tell she’s going places.

"I’m definitely getting closer to my career goal,” she says with a grin. Janelle is finishing her final year of the Human Services Foundations program at Conestoga College, with plans to pursue her Masters in Social Work to become a pediatric social worker.

But it has been a long road leading up to this point. When Janelle decided she wanted to pursue further education, she found that the process was overwhelming. It was not until she connected with Dan Lajoie, the Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region’s Peer Resource and Advocacy Coordinator, that things started moving in the right direction.

“Without help navigating the process, I probably would have gotten stressed out and stopped,” Janelle recalls. “Dan helped me through the process of getting back into school, and now I can continue my education.”

Her return to the academic world was not the only time Janelle has used the Peer Resource and Advocacy Program. When she moved to Kitchener from Brantford at 16, Janelle joined the Youth in Transition program, which helped her to establish a network and build community.

Around the same time, she began meeting with Dan one-on-one and developing important skills for independent living.

“I find that when I talk to someone in order to find solutions to problems, it works out much better,” Janelle says. “Dan helps me deal with obstacles in my life in a positive manner, and cope better. He puts things in perspective.”

When asked if she had anything to say to you, the supporters of the Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region, Janelle pauses briefly.

“I just want to say thank you,” she says. “Without your support, I wouldn’t have been able to get on track toward my life goal. But these services don’t just impact me, they impact many other consumers as well. I’m very grateful to be a part of this agency.”

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