Originally published in The Georgia Straight
As a mature student and parent, Amelia Godwin appreciated how her educational needs were accommodated at Vancouver Community College (VCC).
“Smaller classrooms and tutors were a huge draw toward the school,” Godwin said. “I was a mature student entering into the college so I was highly concerned with my knowledge gaps, feeling like a number, or not being able to find a support group.”
She began in September 2016 by enrolling in the University Transfer Sciences program at VCC with the goal of becoming a dental hygienist. Godwin later transferred to the Associate of Science program, graduating last June.
Much to her delight, VCC created such an accepting environment that she was able to bring her daughter with her as she used the learning services, libraries, printers, and other campus facilities. She also noted that tutors at the learning centre showed incredible patience in answering her questions.
“It felt bittersweet when I slowly needed them less,” Godwin said. “It felt like they were teaching me how to use new legs until I finally gathered my strength or – in this case – educational independence.”
The help she received and the overall accessibility “precipitated a significant difference in my grades”.
“The professors, admissions advisors, and tutors ensured my personal and academic success,” she said.
In fact, she was so successful that she was awarded the 2021 VCC Pathway to Health Sciences Award.
“More importantly, they taught me how to advocate for others and succeed in alternative environments and I am eternally grateful,” Godwin added.
She’s now enrolled Brock University, studying for an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. In addition, Godwin is enrolled in the practical nursing program at Niagara College. Her goal is to become a physician assistant.
Her experiences with VCC’s approaches to accessibility have inspired her to initiate changes at her current schools.
“I am establishing an accessibility policy called the ‘3 O’s of Education Determinance’ (obstacles, opportunity, and obtainability),” Godwin revealed. “Through this policy, I am actively advocating for other parents to have access to libraries, tutors, and other on-campus amenities with their littles in arm – I personally know the difference it makes to a family.”