Laura Bell


Family support, funding key to Métis learner’s success

Funding relieves the stress of attending the Practical Nurse Diploma program for mother of four.

When Laura Ball first spoke about her desire to return to school to become a nurse to her aunt who works with a Métis organization, she encouraged Laura to apply for funding. She knew of several avenues for Métis learners to get funding for post-secondary education.

“The opportunities for Métis students to receive funding are amazing,” Laura says. She applied for financial assistance from the Rupertsland Institute (RLI) so she could take care of her family of four children, and pay for tuition, books, and transportation to attend the Practical Nurse Diploma program at the Bow Valley College High River campus.

“Knowing that I am not taking money away from my family gives me peace of mind and alleviates the stress so that I can focus on school,” Laura says.

RLI provides funding to Métis learners in the post-secondary schools. One of the two awards Laura received from the organization is the Métis Scholar Award. It is funded through endowments at post-secondary institutions across Alberta through the Métis Education Foundation (MEF) and RLI, and is administered directly by each post-secondary institution, in this case, Bow Valley College.

On the path to fulfilling a lifelong dream

“Ever since I was a young girl I had a desire to be a nurse,” Laura says. “I pride myself on my nurturing personality and I always have best enjoyed my life when it involved helping others.” Now that her youngest is starting kindergarten in the fall, Laura said she felt the time was right, so she applied and was accepted.

“I was very excited but also nervous as to what I was taking on with four kids on top of it all.” She had a good first year, and although it wasn’t always easy, she recognized that if she put in effort, she could succeed.

“Receiving this funding through RLI is a true testament that hard work and commitment does pay off and is worth it,” she says. “I have never been so proud of myself.”

For Laura, balancing family life and school is the hardest part of pursuing post-secondary education, especially when she misses her children’s activities because she is in school. The good news is that her kids are supportive of her.

“I think that my children have a very good understanding as to why I cannot be at all of their events,” Laura says. “That makes it easier on me as a mom, but I most certainly have the mom guilt when I cannot be at an assembly or a hockey game because I am doing school.

And the most rewarding aspect of going to school? “Working my butt off and seeing the good marks is definitely the best part,” Laura says.

“Receiving this award is incredible,” Laura says. “I feel very honoured to have been chosen and I look forward to my second year of the Practical Nurse program even more now because I am not worried about cost. Now I see it as an amazing and incredible opportunity to learn and to excel in my program.”

When she graduates Laura hopes to work as a support nurse to postpartum mothers.


Posted on: Sept. 4/18

Writer: Anne Georg

Photographer: Chris Bolin

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