Joy Newhook

Adult Learner Award Winner: Newfoundland and Labrador 2016

What are your goals (examples: help children with reading and writing, go to college, get a job, etc.)?

My main goal in life is to make my life better and to help my daughters get a better life. I want to help children and youth that have addiction issues. Also, I want to help guide youth in low income housing on how to make a better life for them. Helping others makes me happy. I truly want a chance at making my life better, so I can help others.

Tell us some things about yourself.

I am a mother of two wonderful daughters. I have a passion to work with children and youth. I have lived in Newfoundland and Labrador Housing for 25 years. Because of my early life I dropped out of school. I have never realized how life for me and my daughters would be living in housing. I truly believed we would be treated the same as everyone. That didn’t happen between the bullying my girls went through in school because they were from housing. I wanted to give my girls a good life. Well, let’s just say they are sweetest women you would meet. However, they are struggling with a lot of issues now. They are my life and I want a chance to help others living in poverty. I have seen so many children and youth fail where I live. I want to make a difference in this world.

Tell us about things that have stopped you from continuing your school learning in the past (challenges or struggles you have had).

When I was a child I lived in a home that was violent and abusive. My dad wasn’t the best father and even worse as a husband to my mom. My mom had a lot of health issues. God bless her, she worked her guts out. Even with her bad heart and other health issues. It was hard going to school. I was in a regular class. My four brothers had learning disabilities, so they were in special Education. I was bullied in school, and in junior high I was hospitalized for two weeks because a student punched me in the eye with a sharp object. I was transferred to another school called IJ Sampson. This was the year a friend of mine was murdered, her name was Dana Bradley. I fell behind and just could not catch up. I dropped out of school. I made the worse mistake of my life by quitting. I have had a lot of hard uphill battles without an education.

Tell us how the decision you made to go back to school (improve your reading) has helped you in everyday life.

I wanted to go back to school for years. I tried three times to get my diploma. I came to a decision to come back to school when I see how much my girls suffer. I have always wanted to make their life better. So I came to the Discovery Centre and I have got my high school diploma through hard work and help from the staff at the Discovery Centre. They are outstanding. I want to work with youth, children and adults who want someone who truly cares about making their lives better. I have lived the life and I have seen how hard it is to try and make it without an education. I am proud of myself, but the day I got my diploma my girls saw their mother make her dream come true.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

I have many health issues I deal with on a daily basis. I am disabled when it comes to labor work, but I have a lot to offer this world. I also love to volunteer.