October 18, 2019
Members of our community, staff of the Skills Training & Upgrading (STU) department, students and Jeff Yurek, MPP and Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks proudly came together yesterday to celebrate the achievements of Katharina Peters at YWCA St.Thomas-Elgin. Peters has been awarded the Council of the Federation Literacy Award representing Ontario for her successful completion of the STU adult education program.
Peters grew up in a community in Belize where education for women was discouraged. She, however, was interested in education and in her community taught Grade 1 until she married, and it was considered no longer appropriate for a married woman.
She moved to Canada with her husband and had 3 children. When she and the children experienced family violence, she had to make some difficult decisions. She left her husband to protect her children and herself from violence. She set a goal to pass the GED. These decisions were not well accepted by her community or family and she felt sorrow at the loss of their support.
Peters found it exciting to study and decided to take a Doula Studies program at Fanshawe College. In this way she could help other women from her community who felt alone and isolated as she did as a young mother. She passed the GED on June 1, 2019 and will begin Doula Studies in September. Peters has been a powerful role model in her community.
After thanking her teacher Helen Krygsman, Ontario Works representatives, former classmates and her community sponsor Linda Axford Peters describes her challenges and reminds all that if you have a dream to never stop reaching for it.