50 Faces of SECC – Yanira

Yanira grew up in Guatemala in a small town called Quesada. She remembers many afternoons of playing on the streets with friends and spending weekends at the beach, having fun from sunrise to sunset. These were some of the best days of her life.

In 2012, Yanira came to Canada as a permit worker and worked on a farm picking mushrooms. While working at this job for nine years, she met and fell in love with her husband and together they started a family. They now have four beautiful children.

For the last few years, Yanira has been studying English at SECC. She started Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) classes during the pandemic and faithfully attended every day while her kids were also learning from home.  When in-person classes resumed, Yanira attended our LINC class with enthusiasm and determination. Her desire to excel in English was apparent as she answered questions, offered interesting opinions, completed her work on time, presented two amazing presentations and more importantly always supported and helped her classmates. She is a natural leader in everything she does.

Yanira has a very determined spirit. After spending months studying, she recently wrote the Canadian Citizenship Exam and shared that she “passed with flying colours!” This past month, she and her family attended her citizenship ceremony. As if Yanira’s life wasn’t busy, she decided to add one more goal to her list. This past year, she began taking courses to become a Personal Support Worker (PSW). She completed the PSW program at the top of her class and now has a job in her field.

In July 2020, she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.  This was devastating news for Yanira and her family, but with the love and support of her husband and Yanira’s incredible drive and determination to heal, today she is cancer free. She views every day as a gift and embraces challenges fearlessly. There was a moment in class when Yanira’s classmate asked, “How do you do it all?” She replied, “I just do. I jump in and do it, even if I’m afraid. I try and I never give up”.

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