change lives.

Madison’s story: the courage to seek a better future

Madison has struggled with significant mental health issues her entire life.

At five years old, she was diagnosed with extreme anxiety and selective mutism. As she grew older, she was diagnosed with depression and social anxiety. She was targeted by bullies. By the time she got to high school, it all became too much and she quit school entirely.

About five years ago, she resolved to get her education back on track and turned to the Saint John Learning Exchange, a United Way-funded partner. She was feeling good, going to classes twice a week, but a toxic relationship threw her education on hold.

She found the courage to leave and eventually met a kind partner who supports her goals.  Together, they have a one-year old son and Madison resolved again to get back on track with her education.

She knew where to go. She joined the GOALS program at the Learning Exchange, allowing her to earn an Adult High School Diploma while having wrap-around support to help achieve it.

“The classes are very small and a lot of the work is online – I can work on it at home. This has made it so much easier to be in school and take care of my son at the same time. I love how flexible it is,” Madison says.

“And I love how the Learning Exchange helps me with my other wants and needs, not just school. Going back to the Learning Exchange was one of the best things I’ve done!”

Thanks to the Learning Exchange and the generosity of United Way donors, Madison is now looking to her future of becoming a nurse and reaching her full potential.