Monday


ABOUT ME


Explanation 

I didn't want it to come to this, however I now feel it's necessary. I don't want any mudslinging from corporate goons, nor accusations of "extortion" or anything else. So I will briefly explain the context of this blog and my current circumstances.


Better Future

I went to Vancouver Career College to obtain an education and work towards a better future for myself and my son. To fully understand though, the reader will have to start at the beginning. 

I was placed into foster care at 4 years old. I was a ward of the Province from 4-19, and lived in roughly 30 homes. I endured several homes with abuse, including physical and sexual abuse by two different foster parent couples.

At 13 I ran away from a foster home I felt I could no longer bear, and to escape abusive foster parents (including one of the sexual abusers).

I did temporarily end up living with a kind woman who treated me well, but unfortunately she was diagnosed with cancer she passed away sometime thereafter. After leaving the only stable home I had ever known (and only kind caregiver) I wound up dropping out of high school and living on and off the streets and with friends.


The Province

At 17, I contacted The Province about my story. A reporter named Peter Clough did a series on British Columbia's foster care system with my story as the lead.

He ran my story as the lead and concealed my identity. He got a few minor details wrong, but I was still pleased that the piece ran. I considered it basically a 'fluff piece' because anything hard-hitting had been omitted due to legal reasons (the paper did not want to be sued and couldn't prove my allegations).

Of course the reaction was plenty of 'lip service' about how "changes" would be made to the system, and what a "tragedy" it all was and so forth, with interest waning after a few weeks and nothing substantial ever being done.


Adulthood 

I moved to Kelowna and lived with friends. I accidentally became pregnant at 18 and was promptly abandoned by my then-boyfriend, who has never been held to account or been forced to pay a single cent to this day (due to ridiculous laws and loopholes and my inability to afford a lawyer).

I completed my GED, and after the birth of my son I began working as a maid for Molly Maid. My boss was a nasty woman who treated her employees terribly; I was forced to clean mansions and expensive homes all day. On one particular work day as I sat scrubbing a kitchen - a group of men roughly my age sat around watching me, sipping drinks and cracking jokes at my expense. 

After enough humiliation and ill treatment, I lost my patience and quit. I didn't know what to do as I had no valuable work experience or references, little education and no one to help care for my son. By that time my son's behavior was becoming more difficult and problematic and I would later find out he had autism.


Vancouver Career College

It was at that time that a friend's mother convinced me to speak with someone at Vancouver Career College. She told me she was planning on training as a Personal Support Worker and that I should go inquire about the course - which I did. I was reassured that my GED and other issues would not be a problem. I passed the entrance exam with near perfect marks (it was embarrassingly easy). 

Because my mother is Aboriginal and I hold Aboriginal status - I was eligible to apply for education funding. I attempted to obtain some but was denied because private colleges were not covered (as I now understand - with good reason!). I was disheartened and assumed I would not be able to go. The representative then assured me that I could still go to school if I applied for loans, and that because I was under the age limit they were guaranteed to be approved by the government. I still wasn't sure what to do, but he managed to smooth talk me into joining up for a course and taking out loans. I took out the full amount I was eligible for: enough to cover the course, and the remainder for living and childcare expenses. After some wrangling I convinced my Band to cover the cost of books and a few other minor expenses. 

At that time I felt I had no other option. I didn't see how I could go back to high school and finish when I was so far behind and nowhere else would accept my GED. The rep assured me that this would be a 'condensed course' I would finish in just under a year, enabling me to begin working immediately and make money. Since the other alternative was immediate poverty with no prospects, it seemed a logical choice at the time.

The rep led me to believe that I needed to take an 11 month course for Community Health Care, instead of the shortened 'Personal Support Worker' course which was roughly half the length and cost. I didn't realize I'd been duped until several women in my class finished their training for becoming PSW's while I still had half a course to go. I was very upset. I made my complaint clear to staff (who had received similar complaints from numerous other students) and the rep was fired. It was too late for me however, after having signed the agreement papers and paid for the course. 

I finished my course but it was not easy. I was in a small class of about 8 women who were catty and nasty. (This despite being told by the rep that classes were "filling up" and that there was only "one or two spots left" and I had to "rush" so I didn't "miss out on the opportunity".) The class was very unprofessional and a terrible experience. All the women gossiped and back-stabbed each other. The faculty were useless for help and assistance. There was a lot of bullying that went on in the class and in the school generally. My teacher was a silly woman who sat about gossiping all day, discussing her personal life and grading according to favoritism and her particular moods. I could go on ... but I think the idea is clear.

I graduated with a B+ average, after having a difficult time with attendance and other issues relating to my son's care and other matters. After graduation I found a thankless job where I was worked to the bone and treated awfully until I moved to Vancouver some time later.


The Goons

The corporate goons are probably wondering why this blog has surfaced now, as opposed to years ago (it's been several years since I graduated). As I've already stated - I did complain at the beginning but was ignored. After the bullying, belittling and terrible treatment by classmates and staff alike - I did not feel that I would be listened to or helped. I couldn't afford legal advice and gave up any hope of obtaining a refund or any assistance. I decided to simply try and move on with my life and pay down the debt as best I could.

Of course, that's easier said than done - especially when your education from a 'diploma mill' is a complete joke that nobody takes seriously. It was acceptable in Kelowna: a small city of approx 100,000 and a major retirement center (seniors being the majority of its population). However, having moved from there I've constantly encountered problems with my training and diploma and often found that jobs in retail or cleaning have paid the same or better than a job as a PSW (and I have done both several times). Having moved to another province I barely qualify as the lowest level of a PSW after my year-long, $13,000 education. Nice, huh? 

Having struggled financially I eventually defaulted on my loans when I couldn't make payments and now I am being charged $100 a month in interest - which is about all I can afford to pay, so the principle amount never goes down. Despite several years I have barely paid off $2,000. Again, lovely, isn't it? 


The Province

I assumed that yet again I had been screwed over in my life and left it at that. But not long ago I came across the disturbing realization that thousands of students had been scammed by Eminata. The web was full of complaints of well-meaning, desperate people such as myself who had been taken advantage of to make greedy men rich. Not long afterward, I read Cassidy Olivier's articles in The Province newspaper and to say that I was enraged would be an understatement. 

Although a few years had passed, I decided to make this blog to help warn other prospective students and help them avoid being scammed by an Eminata school.


Civil Suit? 

I was sent a Cease and Desist Letter by Eminata's legal counsel and asked to shut down this blog, I was also threatened with a potential civil claim. This temporarily concerned me and I sought out legal advice. It then dawned on me that the corporate goons at Eminata must be smarter than they look and that they wouldn't file a suit against me.

I am a single mother of a disabled son, a visible minority, scammed by their school. Surely they wouldn't want that in the papers? Can you envision the headlines ...?


"Education Conglomerate attempts to shut down blog run by single mother"

"Education Tycoon tries to silence mother of disabled child speaking out ..."

Not to mention the publicity would turn 1,000 blog views into 100,000. 

There may be an ethical deficit running in Eminata, but they are businessmen after all. 


And now  ...

Here I am. I am $20,000 in debt. Even though I would have been in debt regardless, and although I may have defaulted regardless ...  I would rather be $10,000 less in debt than I am currently. No, I admit that money would not be in my pocket. But at least the debt would be easier to pay down (half my monthly interest could be my payment on the debt), not to mention in the long term I would have $10k more to put towards other things in my life. 

I have tried to overcome the hardships of my childhood. I've tried to be a civil, decent person and a good mother. I have attempted to educate myself and learn everything on my own - as I had nobody to teach me. All I wanted to do was get an education, improve my lot in life and provide for my son - none of which happened and now I have a large, needless debt for a useless education which I cannot pay down and will double or triple in the long run due to interest. 

After 10 years of being ignored by social workers, lawyers and the RCMP - I finally managed to convince one officer to reopen the case and take action. Since two of my previous foster parents are now being charged this gave me the courage to stand up for myself and hope to obtain some form of acknowledgment or arbitration. I contacted Eminata with my complaints - leaving voice messages and writing a letter but I was completely ignored until this blog came to the attention of its members. 

So that is my story.

Welcome to beautiful  brutal British Columbia ... where nobody cares if you live or die, prosper or fail, or what happens to you (if you lack money). If you have money the world is your oyster; failing that, your very existence is inconsequential. I guess it's the same story the world over.

All I know is that I resent having been failed by every institution in the province of BC, and that the corrupt, incompetent fools in charge allow this for-profit, private industry to thrive at the expense of the vulnerable and poor such as myself. I ASSUMED that the same standards of education and regulation applied to all colleges in BC and Canada. I was naive and now I have nothing to show for my efforts or debt.


What now?

Now I continue to publish this blog and announce the truth to the world. When students read about the truth they will be persuaded to go elsewhere. A couple dozen students will turn into a hundred, and then a couple hundred and I will cost Eminata millions. 

With enough time and effort this blog will rise in the search engines and hopefully at some point pop up next to their main websites ... exposing the truth to everyone. If Eminata cares to stop me, they can attempt it - but will be exposed to the world for the greedy, selfish crooks they really are - ruining lives and stealing affordable education from poor people. 

Eminata is a disgrace!