MSW Dream: Help Me Beat the Odds!

One of the application questions for the Master's of Social Work program at the University of Toronto asks what challenge the applicant is most proud of overcoming.

My answer was completing my B.A. It may not seem like much to some people, but for me it was a journey to overcome a lot of tough odds. I was the first in my family to go to university, a single mom (I had my son when I was 18), and a mature student. I was dealing with the death and dying of my mothers and my husband. I had no money and worked two jobs throughout my degree. It took a while before I felt like I belonged in university, like I was worthy of being there. But I persevered through it all, and tears still come to my eyes when I think about the day of my graduation, with my son and close friends applauding as I accepted my degree.

Now, after three years of applying and being rejected, I’ve realized my dream of being accepted into the U of T’s MSW program. Everything I’ve done in my life has been because of perseverance, determination, and great community supports—including a lot of people who didn’t judge me the way society did and instead told me I could do it and gave me a leg up.

I want to become a social worker so that I can give that back to more people. I've been in many of the situations that social workers help with. I've known poverty and discrimination and social isolation in my own life, and mental illness, addiction, and terminal illness in the lives of those close to me.

Being a social worker is not abstract for me, and it won't be just a job. I've lived it, and I want to bring my compassion and knowledge to as many people in this city as I can. Clients in need could really use someone who knows where they're coming from—someone non-judgmental and mature and experienced, someone who knows what it’s like to have nothing in the fridge and to work part-time while finishing high school and raising a child.

The only remaining barrier to me becoming a social worker is a financial one—tuition for the first year is $12,000 and I just don’t have the means to access that kind of money, even in a loan. Anything you can give to help me break down this last barrier and become an MSW would mean the world to me.

It’s really hard for me to ask for help, but I’ve learned that in order to help others you have to be able to accept help yourself when you need it. Every little bit goes a long way! Even $5 or $10. I’ll be more grateful than you know for whatever you can spare to help me on this journey of care.

30763612_1530997079623096_r.jpeg                                                                   Me and my friend Stacy right after I received my B.A.

30763612_1530997253653720_r.jpeg                                                                                         Me and my son Steve.

30763612_1530997457126823_r.jpeg                                                                              The wonderful co-op where I live 
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Heather Yager 
Toronto, ON
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