Mother and daughter graduate together as Personal Support Workers
February 28, 2013

Sonya Keith and her daughter Karla Smith graduated from Georgian's Personal Support Worker program on Feb. 27. They have high hopes for the future education of Karla's two-month-old son, Caylun, who is wearing a

Sonya Keith and her daughter Karla Smith graduated from Georgian’s Personal Support Worker program on Feb. 27. They have high hopes for the future education of Karla’s two-month-old son, Caylun, who is wearing a “Future Georgian Grad” shirt.

Quite often, it’s parents who encourage their children to enter into a fulfilling career. Sometimes it works the other way. . .and sometimes it works both ways.

Sonya Keith and her daughter Karla Smith encouraged each other to further their education. Not only did they choose the same area of study, they chose the same program. Keith and Smith enrolled in the Personal Support Worker program at the John DiPoce South Georgian Bay Campus in Collingwood last year and graduated on the same day, Feb. 27, during convocation services at the Barrie Campus.

“I think we’re both very proud of each other,” said Keith. “We were in the same classes and it was hard work, but we worked together and really helped each other.”

One of their biggest supporters at the convocation ceremonies was Kim Stubbs, general manager of Georgian Stores, who is Keith’s cousin.

Smith had already graduated from Georgian’s Addictions: Treatment and Prevention program. After taking time off after the birth of her first child, she was looking for a new educational adventure.

“I said to my mom, you should go to school and get yourself a career,” said Smith. “We’re all from a family of labourers and I thought my mom could do something more than that.”

Her mother, now in her early 50s, had worked in factory jobs for most of her life. Going to college was completely new and it was exciting to learn useful and innovative skills alongside her daughter. She currently has two jobs, one at a Thornbury nursing home, and one at a homecare agency. Karla recently had another baby and is currently concentrating on providing care at home.

Georgian’s one-year Personal Support Worker program is offered at the Barrie, Midland, Muskoka, Orangeville, Owen Sound, South Georgian Bay campuses. This program is designed to prepare students with skills to support people living at home, in long term-care or acute care facilities, and to function as integral members of a health care team. Graduates have found employment in retirement homes, long-term care facilities, homes for the aged, various private and public community agencies, acute care facilities as well as in independent practice.