“I’d been struggling to get my high school diploma for a long time. I come from Somalia, and I didn’t go to school back home. I’ve been in Canada 20 years, and I’ve tried to do upgrading, but couldn’t do it because of money and timing. I have a big family, and have to work, so time and cost are problems for me. Also, English is my second language – it’s not easy for me.”

A feeling of belonging

“When I came to the Never Too Late program, I saw all the people there – that they were the same as me. People the same age, some older; people with families; people working, coming from work straight to class; some of them feeling scared – everybody was there trying to get their GED. I saw everyone and I thought, “If they can do it, then I can do it.” Seeing the other students was my biggest motivator.”

Supported and encouraged

“The first time I wrote the exams, I didn’t do too well, but I didn’t feel discouraged, I felt happy, because I knew I could get help. I knew when I came back no one would ask, “Why couldn’t you pass?” They welcomed me back and told me, “It’s okay,” and the coordinator and instructors were telling me, “If you want to retest, you can; if you want to come back, you can come back.”

A program that is a community

“In Never Too Late, there’s a lot of help. If you have any issue, you can come talk about it. We get everything we need – even coffee and tea in class. There’s somebody willing to help you, and it’s free – it’s not every day you get something like that. I came back, and I got the help I needed. And the second time, I passed everything.”

It has changed our family’s life

“Now my wife is in the program. Because of my experience she’s going back to school. My kids will ask me questions now, if they have some issue with school work. This program might change your life, the way you are thinking. Before, I’d see some jobs, and I would never apply without a GED. Now, I’m thinking I can apply for this job or that job. There are opportunities now.”

April 25, 2019