At 52, Ron is not a typical student. But for the first time in more than 30 years, he feels like he’s part of the ‘back to school’ crowd. This summer, you could often find Ron in the Stepping Stones Learning Centre at The Ottawa Mission.
He says he’s determined to achieve his Grade 12 equivalency, so he’s been upgrading for the past few weeks at our learning centre as he prepares to start the A.C.E program (the Academic and Career Entrance certificate) this month.
Ron has struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol since he was a teenager and has spent some time over the last couple of years living at The Ottawa Mission. He is now out of the shelter and living in his own apartment in the community and has 5 months of sobriety under his belt. Ron credits his daughter for helping him get back on track. He adds they didn’t talk for years because of his addiction and he felt a little envious of her as she went off to university and found a career path. But when she recently reached out to him, it was the motivation he needed to stop using drugs and alcohol and start their relationship over.
Now several months into his recovery, Ron has a desire to learn again even though he’s dealing with a lot of anxiety over becoming a student after all these years. He notes he only ever made it as far as grade nine because he started working at 14 to support himself. But he adds he now treats everyday as a gift and what’s more, he wants to show others in similar situations as him that there’s hope.