After Ashley heard about the AIMS program from her step-sister, she decided that this was a great opportunity and stepping stone in furthering her education. When she is not emerged in her crafts (yes! this woman can also bead, loom bead and work with leather) Ashley has aspirations towards becoming a Registered Nurse and already has a good idea of how she is going to get there. She always needs to be in motion and keep her momentum up in achieving that goal. To help with this path her son tends to keep her on her toes and greatly contributes to that motivation and drive that she possesses. Ashley is proud of becoming a mother at a young age. She feels that it has kept her grounded and focused on her bright future.
Ashley was not always this motivated, like all of us; she too had wandered off the beaten path but quickly realized that maintaining good relationships was far more important. When questioned further about the AIMS program, Ashley expressed much appreciation for the cultural aspects and the anishinabemowin which is a big part of this program. Traditional teachings and knowledge of natural medicines are just a few of the points discussed when talking about the AIMS program. Finding herself more open and socially confidant, Ashley says she would for sure recommend KTEI and its programs and that it’s never too late to go back to get an education. You just need the drive and willingness to not slow down.
A.I.M.S. STUDENT DANTE DANVILLE
When I first heard about the AIMS program, I knew I needed to learn more about what it offered. As soon as I walked in the door, I realized that this was the program I had to join. I was looking for a positive change in my life and “synchronicity” had happened. The AIMS program was a “perfect fit.
The environment was very welcoming sitting amongst my peers with smiling faces as we were all ready to learn some form of direction in our lives. The AIMS program taught me to accept myself for who I am. It gave me a sense of belonging and a peace of mind as our classroom became a family of sorts as we laughed and shared funny stories. I also learned that change is inevitable but if we sit and wait for it, the change that appears may not be to our liking so go out and initiate the change we want. Then we’re more likely to be happy with the results.
I’m in a much better place within myself as I now feel more confident that I can walk away from the old negative behaviours that dragged me down. I’m associating myself with positive people who are supporting me in my movement forward. I must say that I am most grateful for the Elders of the AIMS program who continually supported me and kept me on the “good road” especially when times were tough and I wanted to give up. The program taught me that there will always be challenges in life and it’s our attitude that will determine whether we rise above the challenges and look for the positive gifts within them. I also learned that our culture is at the centre of our core and determines our strong Anishinaabe pride...Miigwech!
A.I.M.S. STUDENT APRIL MCDOWELL
I had heard about the AIMS program but hesitated to join because I thought I knew who I was. However, I ventured into the Open House and registered. My first day in class gave me the realization that I knew we were all meant to be there together. The environment was warm and welcoming and I even recognized a few faces in the class.
One of the most important aspects of my learning within the AIMS program was the teaching from the Elders on the importance of our traditions within our culture: the drum teaching, the Clan teachings, smudging and especially the Treaties. They really impacted me and gave me such a clear understanding of my identity as an Anishinaabe kwe which I continue to pass onto my children. I finally felt like I “fit in.” My confidence soared especially with the teachings of the language which I still use today at home and at work. I also learned from the Elders that there is meaning in everything we do whether it’s beading, drumming, smudging or working with the plants and animals. It taught me the true meaning of "respect” because there is a bigger picture in everything that the Creator gave to us. I feel the humbleness every time I lay my semaa down.
The AIMS program has given me the confidence to begin my home-based business and I know I will succeed. Thanks to the AIMS program, I have a renewed sense of self-esteem. I received my Clan during the AIMS program which made me feel “complete and more polished”. My final thought and gratitude for the AIMS program is that our lifestyle defines who we are and AIMS helped and shone the light on the path for me. The bonds I created in the program still continue today. Miigwech!