Marymound offers programs and services that help referred children and youth of all ages. The Independent Options Program (IOP) at Marymound prepares youth from within Marymound or from elsewhere in the child welfare system for their transition to adulthood and living independently. Chevie Delaronde joined IOP at age 18.
Chevie was resilient from a very young age. Coming from a turbulent upbringing in a very small town north of Winnipeg, she focused on many activities to help deal with the challenges she faced. Chevie learned to play the guitar, fiddle and square dance. She also loved the outdoors and had an interest in building things because she was surrounded by family members adept at carpentry.
After finishing elementary school, she struggled in high school in nearby Swan River as she was still affected by the physical and emotional issues from home that caused her to get into trouble.
She decided a change had to be made so she spoke with a social worker, “I can’t take it anymore and I don’t want to live at home.” She was soon placed in care and ended up living in a Group Home for three years (even though the maximum time was to be six months). Unfortunately, her troubles continued at the Group Home. “I got into the wrong crowd and eventually got kicked out of high School in grade 10 and was told not to come back.”
“I decided to come to the city because I wanted to change my life,” says Chevie. Her social worker found her a foster home in Winnipeg, but since her move came in the middle of a school year, she had to wait until the following year to enroll. She realized that schooling was her number one option and focused on her studies. Thinking back, some of Chevie’s motivation came from an RCMP officer she knew. He stressed the importance of attaining an education and how it enables you to pursue many opportunities. Chevie’s foster mom was also a stickler for kids getting their homework done that also helped to keep her focused.
Chevie’s foster mom also wanted to find her the right program to better prepare her for adulthood. So, at the age of 18, and with the help of her social worker, Chevie entered the Independent Options Program (IOP) at Marymound. The IOP transition program taught her to budget, prepare meals, grocery shop, and provided her with the necessary life skills to eventually succeed on her own. Chevie also gained work experience through the Marymound Student Work Experience Education program (SWEEP) by helping in the Marymound kitchen. This summer, she worked regularly with SWEEP on landscaping the Marymound campus earning her first regular paycheque!
Chevie has been thriving in her own apartment with the assistance of IOP for the last two years. While living independently she has been a model tenant, and studied diligently to proudly graduate high school.
Now 20, Chevie realizes she wants more. While discussing with support workers her potential post-secondary options in the Trades, carpentry came to mind. “I like building things, I enjoy being outside so I thought I’d give that a try,” says Chevie. “I would be the first family member to be a certified carpenter!”
Chevie recently completed the application form for the Carpentry Program at the Manitoba Institute of Trade and Technology and was accepted. She used her own savings to pay for her seat deposit.
By being in a Marymound Program, she was also eligible for a Marymound Bursary. Chevie applied and based on many positive testimonials (in addition to her own perseverance), she received enough funds to cover the cost of the carpentry program. “I thought maybe if got half the money, I’d be happy. This is more than I expected, I am so grateful to Marymound for helping me build my future.”
Because of her resilience and perseverance along with Marymound’s Independent Options Program, and Bursary, Chevie has an opportunity to realize her full potential.