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Each one of us is unique and so there are many paths to well-being. These personal well-being stories show how people have used the six ways to well-being to overcome challenges and lead to positive changes in their lives.

Melinda’s Story

inspiration photo 1I know a lot of newcomers could definitely relate to my life’s journey here in Canada. It wasn’t easy to start a new life in a new country. It was an adventure filled with constant struggles, high hopes and uncertainties, dreams that may or may not come true, a future which could either make or break me as a person.

My family and I arrived in Canada April 30th 2011. A few days after, I went to several agencies offering services available to newcomers like me. Living a new life in Canada didn’t turn out as easy as expected. Speaking and understanding a new language and culture, endless job searches, meeting new unfamiliar faces, and missing home as well as coping with the very cold Winnipeg winter made my life so miserable. I felt so desperate and full of regrets as to why I came here.

Then I had the chance to volunteer at the Health Science Centre. Later on, I volunteered in the childcare centre which I really enjoyed. Until one day, I bumped into a job posting at Mosaic Newcomer Family Resource Network. It was a last minute application and fortunately, I was hired after four months of being jobless. It was a part-time job, but I persevered because I loved what I was doing and it was a safe and awesome workplace!

At first, I thought I couldn’t stay long with Mosaic, I needed a full-time job. There I met Jean Tinling, the Family Programs Director who convinced me to be part of the Family Program’s team. I was sent to various training workshops and facilitated numerous parenting programs. This was how my career as a facilitator started, and eventually got hired as the Family Programs Coordinator. Indeed, this job made a difference in my life because I felt redeemed for the self- esteem and confidence that I’ve lost before. I found a sense of purpose and motivation in life because I was able to prove to myself that I could do anything by just believing that I really could do it and of course, the trust and support given to me by my employers, Val and Jean!

Melinda Fernando-Pascual
Family Programs Coordinator
Mosaic Newcomer Family Resource Center
Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Jade’s Story

inspiration photo 1Twelve years ago, I was diagnosed with Friedreich's Ataxia which is a progressive neuromuscular disease, affecting roughly 1 in 50,000 people. As the years have passed I've gone through the stages of wobbly walking to needing a walker and now I use my wheelchair.

It has been a struggle to adapt to this ever changing disease. Each time my mobility needs changed, I would confine myself to my home.

Part of my reasoning seemed logical, that it would be easier to adapt to my newest mobility device in an unchanging environment where I was comfortable. But the biggest reason for my isolation, was my worry how the public would see and treat me. I was afraid that everyone would only see my disability and not my true self. I believed that due to the rarity of my disease that nobody would be able to relate, which increased my feelings of alienation and isolation.

It was because of those feelings that I began talking to a professional. Through that experience, I was able to work through my fears and learned to lean on my loved ones for support. I started socializing again with friends and family on my terms, which meant at home. I could see that my loved ones did not treat me different. This acceptance and support helped me to become more self confident. I began venturing out in public and slowly pushing myself outside my comfort zone. One major fear was going into crowds, such as a mall or movie theatre, places that seem like no big deal to the average person.

Each time I made these metaphorical steps, I was able to express my concerns to my family and friends, who would in turn be by my side. Knowing that I have love and support, helps me to have the confidence to grow as a person and to love myself. I know that letting people in can help, it provides a safety net when I feel vulnerable. They cheer me on and encourage me to move forward. Everyday, I am thankful for my support system.

I have come to the realization that we all have struggles, some more visible than others. The important thing is that despite our struggles, we must connect and lean on each other.

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