From surviving to thriving

Donor-funded bursaries made Carrie-Ann’s education possible

Two full-time jobs, very little sleep and adrenaline: this was Carrie-Ann McAlpine’s reality for two years as she worked 16 hours a day at entry-level jobs to support her family.

Carrie-AnnwebWhen a series of life-altering events took place, McAlpine knew she needed to re-evaluate her life and what she wanted for her future. McAlpine realized she needed to start believing in herself and what was possible.

This insight inspired her to take the very brave step to visit Okanagan College’s Penticton campus and speak to an education advisor about going back to school at age 48.

"It was the best decision of my life,” says McAlpine.

“I can’t tell you how amazing getting an education has been. It’s changed how I see the world and life. I don’t use the same tools to make decisions anymore.”

McAlpine enrolled in the Business Administration Diploma program with support from donor-funded bursaries.

She excelled in the program and at the encouragement of professors is now pursuing an honours degree in business.

McAlpine is active during her studies, volunteering with Enactus, a student-led group that uses the tools of entrepreneurship to better communities. With fellow student Christie Reid, McAlpine recently volunteered at Queen’s Park Elementary in Penticton to create a fun way for kids to improve reading and writing skills.

The duo spent three days in the classroom, talking about transportation and new technology and giving the children an opportunity to write and illustrate stories about the future of transportation. The students’ work was then taken to a professional printer.

“When we brought in the published works, the students’ eyes lit up. It was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever been a part of, as a student or otherwise,” says McAlpine.

McAlpine has received a number of awards from donors, which have been instrumental in allowing her to continue her studies. She is planning on starting her own business after graduation, a concept she is incredibly passionate about.

“Doing anything other than my heart’s desire is not going to cut it,” she says. “Now I think I can be really successful. I never thought I could be successful before."