ISET Success Stories

Florence Halcrow, ASETS for a Pardon

 

Q:      How did you find out about the program?

A:      I found out about ASETS through the CANADA Service website. I looked more into it when I found out about CAP (Congress of Aboriginal People). And when I was searching for funds for one of my clients I spoke with an ASETS holder about the Pardons and he explained that ASETS may cover the cost.

 

Q:       What motivated you to apply/enrol? To pursue this opportunity?

A:       I was motivated by knowing I can remove my criminal record. And with the opportunity I had to take a chance and apply, knowing that people with criminal records rarely get considered for good paying jobs

 

Q:      What were you doing at the time you applied? Stay at home parent? Full or part-time student? Working? Unemployed?

A:      I was and still am working at the BNRC where we help people with their barriers to employment. When I found out about the Pardons funding I started helping others to take the steps to get their pardons.

 

Q:      What did you expect from this experience?

A:      I wasn’t sure what to expect. I know that living off reserve is a challenge in itself. When I called the reserve for funding or anything else. The response is no , that I live off reserve. But now that I am aware that the ISET funding is for both on and off reserve, I know I can expect to have a chance at the funding.

 

Q:      What was your biggest challenge?

A:       My biggest challenge was trying to contact the Employment and Training Coordinator in my community. But with the help of a wonderful person at MKO, and Belinda the assistant coordinator at E & T in Cross Lake I received my support letter. And the long process of getting a pardon was well on its way.

 

Q:      What did you find the most rewarding/enjoyable about the experience? (For example, has it opened new doors, opportunities? Boosted self-confidence? Motivated you to pursue new opportunities or further your education?)

A:      This has opened many doors for me as I can now become an entrepreneur, and help people with their barriers and fears to employment and help them get back on their feet. Traveling to the US was something that I couldn’t even dream of. When my daughter said she wanted to go to New York someday, my heart sunk as I knew at that point I wouldn’t have the chance to even take her. Once I found out that I was eligible for funding for a pardon. My hopes and dreams came alive.

 

Q:      If you had to do it all over again … would you?

A:      Breaking the law, incarceration, and a criminal record? No, I would never do that again! Looking for resources and helping others, Always!

 

Q:      How has this program/grant/experience changed your life?

A:      With a criminal record you fear that no one will hire you and you feel hopeless. When applying for work you need a criminal record check. To volunteer you need to have a criminal record check. To be a foster parent requires a criminal record check. Every time I was requested to have a criminal record check the shame would over come me of what I have done. I now feel so happy that my criminal record will be clear in a year and a half from now. Thanks to the ISETS funding formally known as ASETS.

 

Q:      Would you encourage other people to apply for this program/grant?

A:      Everyday I encourage people to search themselves and set goals. When I mention ISETS and the funding that is available to them, the look on their faces is very happy and filled with hope.

 

Q:      Was this experience a stepping stone for you to follow new directions? Career? Job? Continue education?

A:      The experience has opened many doors for myself. I don’t have to just work to survive, I can choose what I want to do for work. And can start a business or continue helping others where I am currently working. I was even offered a job without applying but turned it down because it did not pay as much as I am already earning.

 

Q:      Has your experience impacted on your family/friends/community? If so, how?

A:      My experience has caused a positive ripple effect in my family, friends and community. My children watched as I went through my struggles. And watched me grow by becoming a home owner, getting my education, finding a job I love, and helping others. When I graduated it wasn’t too long after that two of daughters graduated as well. As I was a single parent and making ends meet, I have watched my son raise his son on his own for the past 3 years. As for the community, I have informed other organizations in our community about ISET funding, and now they are assisting their clients by contacting ISET holders for funding. Through my job I was able to help a young lady with her pardon, which has opened many doors for her as a home care worker. The impact that ISET funding has made in my life and community is totally amazing.

 

Q:      Would you recommend this program/grant/opportunity to others?

A:      I will always recommend the program/grant/opportunities to others. I even share with other community members and programs in Brandon, Mb.

 

Q:      Would you like to provide us a quote that we can include in the story?

A:      “Your Dreams only happen when you make them happen Dream it! Plan it! Do it!”