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Despite learning disabilities, Kim Flasha persevered to graduate AOLCC’s HCA program.

Kim Flasha knew going back to college would be a challenge. Not just because it’s been more than 20 years since she last stepped foot in a classroom, but because she suffers from dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Those are two learning disabilities that can test a person mentally in everyday life — let alone trying to attain a post-secondary education.

There were lots of ups and downs, but Flasha was going to give it her all to not let those challenges stand in her way of graduating from the Healthcare Aide program at the Academy of Learning Career College.

“It was really challenging,” said Flasha, who graduated from AOLCC in 2020.

“I had to reprogram my brain to learn different learning strategies. I had to do away with what I learned in school 20 years ago and start over."

“I failed a lot of tests, I got emotional at times because of how difficult it was, but I knew I had to study harder and I had that determination to keep pushing myself.”

As Flasha moved through the program, she started hitting some roadblocks and fell behind in some of the assignments.

Instead of dwelling on falling behind, she reached out to the AOLCC staff and asked for help and used some of her government grant money that the AOLCC helped her qualify for to hire a tutor.

AOLCC staff got her in contact with a Healthcare Aide grad to help guide her through the program. Flasha would meet with her tutor, three to four times a week throughout the school year.

“I was getting frustrated, because I knew the material, it just wasn’t showing in my marks,” said Flasha.

“It was a real big help, because she showed me how to do things at a slower pace, where I could grasp it.

“She was an amazing role model for me. She was a little bit older than me, and she had made a career change as well. She pushed me and inspired me to really get through the program.”

Despite the difficulties she faced, Flasha not only wanted to prove to herself that she can overcome the challenges, she wanted to show her daughter, who was graduating high school in the same year as her, as well her adult son, who’s autisitc that she could do it.

“I wanted to be that positive role model as their mom and show them that it can be done,” said Flasha.

“I wanted to show them that there will be different challenges you will face in life, but you can overcome them. You just have to keep pushing.”

Flasha graduated just two weeks prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that has severely impacted the world on so many levels.

She admits, it was intimidating and scary to begin a new career venture when something as serious as a pandemic was wreaking havoc — especially in an industry that she was trying to find work in.

“It was scary, but I didn’t want to live in fear. I wanted to do what was best, and that’s help people and work in the front lines,” said Flasha.

“I was confident in what I learned in school, and I wanted to take that leap of faith in myself.”

Since January, Flasha has worked at The Hamlets — an assisted living seniors facility in Red Deer. She’s in charge of an entire floor of nine residents aged 85-101-year-old.

It’s an experience that she’s grateful for, being able to give back to the community during trying times. She takes great pride in working and caring for her residents.

Since making the career move, Flasha is thriving in her role as a Healthcare Aide, and while she may look to enroll in nursing school in the future, she’s enjoying every aspect of her new career and living in the moment.

“It’s the most rewarding job I could ever fulfill in my life,” said Flasha.

“I’m their person, and while I care for them. They bring me so much joy. They’ve taught me so much about gratification and unconditional love.

“There were some challenges in school, and I had to get help from a tutor, but it was totally worth it, because I wouldn’t be where I am now. I’m getting so much gratification working with my residents.”