Through an unexpected pregnancy I was instinctively brought to a stirring Advocacy project to make Mohawk College more accessible to everyone who sets their sights on a higher education. When people think college life, they don’t think of pregnancy, parenthood, childcare costs or sleepless nights; sharing the experience with a child. I myself was once ignorant to the inevitable struggles faced by many or our peers-being a parent while navigating through post-secondary education.
I was wonderfully awoken to a new reality when I became pregnant with my son Thomas. It was then that I started to face barriers, jump hurtles and maneuver around the many obstacles, determined to complete my education. For some people this type of stress is unmanageable, it becomes a state of crisis; financial hardships, inadequate housing, inability to provide the necessities, lack of childcare options, et cetera; this often results in students giving up or dropping out. My goal is to give Mohawk College parents a fighting chance, to leave this school with the key to success, an excellent education.
Through my personal experiences I was projected into advocating for access to my own education. I was encouraged to keep up with my studies, but found that the help offered in the school didn’t support that notion. In researching my options for childcare I felt defeated; infant care spaces in Hamilton are limited, the cost of those spaces can be anywhere from $1000-$1600 + extensive waiting list with no guarantees; it has been 2 years now and I have yet to receive Childcare Subsidy in Hamilton.
This initiative is to bring awareness to the barriers that Mohawk parents are facing when trying to access post-secondary education. To date we have gotten a baby change table re-installed in the C-wing, and we have started a discussion at many levels within the college to bring childcare back to the school to alleviate the stress involved for students finding affordable care.There is still a lot of progress to be made to ensure that the students of Mohawk College won’t have their education jeopardized if they are, or become parents during their studies. We need to make post-secondary education more accessible to all people in our community. To our past, current and future students, this initiative is based on students voices and students experiences, we want to hear what you have to say because without a unified voice the change in this college community won’t change, and we need change.
– Laura Herbert
Social Service Worker ‘12
Follow Laura @Laura_dorothie
Laura continues to attend Mohawk College and is currently enrolled in the Concurrent Disorders post-graduate program. Follow Laura’s efforts to bring childcare to Mohawk at facebook.com/groups/Mohawkchildcare