Lois Aarhus has been a resident at Bethany CollegeSide for more than eight years. In getting to know her, staff noted her interest in education and wanted to assist her in pursuing her goal of one day finishing her Bachelor of Arts degree.
Joanne McCready, Aarhus’ social worker at Bethany CollegeSide, knew of a partnership agreement with Red Deer College that allows residents to audit any class that RDC offers. While the resident does not receive credit, auditing allows the individual to be a full participant in the class for a minimal fee.
“Lois is an extremely bright woman and we knew she was interested in finishing her Bachelor of Arts degree. It seemed like a great opportunity for her to try a class and get reacquainted with being a student in a positive, safe environment.”
Aarhus began taking Psychology 261 this spring at RDC. “I had been working towards my Bachelor’s degree about 19 years ago and I always swore I was going to finish it one day. I’m really enjoying learning and the environment at the College is really welcoming. My instructor, Davis Tharayil, has done so much to make me feel like a valued contributor to the class. It feels really good to be back.”
While she is enjoying the experience as an RDC student, it isn’t without its challenges. Aarhus has been living with multiple sclerosis since she was 21 and has encountered struggles in the classroom due to no longer being able to write. She has also encountered challenges with computers and technology.
Even with these challenges, Aarhus is working hard to overcome them and appreciates everyone who has assisted her. “There are so many people who helped create this opportunity for me both from Bethany Care Society and the College. I especially want to thank my social worker, Joanne McCready, for everything she does on a daily basis. I really feel supported and I am enjoying learning and being back in a classroom.”
Torben Andersen, interim vice president academic at RDC, is proud of the partnership with Bethany Care Society and the positive impact it has for both organizations. “At RDC we strive to have an inclusive learning community that is open to everyone in Central Alberta. I am delighted that Lois is taking advantage of this opportunity and enjoying her psychology class. We hope to see more people from Bethany Care Society take part in our programs.”
Meanwhile, Aarhus said she encourages others to follow their dreams.
“Anything you want badly enough – you can do it.”