Working as a court reporter, Cassy Bowden was witness to many troubled youth and felt a strong desire to help them.
Cassy spent a number of years taking night courses while she continued to work and raise a young family. But, after several years of slowly earning her credits, she decided to quit her job and devote herself full time to earning a university degree.
"I didn't want to wake up five years from now and wish that I would have taken the chance," she says.
Knowing there was "never going to be a good time or a right time," she took the risk of leaving a comfortable job and the chance she may not be able to find work in a new field.
"In the beginning, I was worried that I had made the biggest mistake," says the Haldimand County resident.
But with a network of support that included family and friends, Cassy managed to juggle home life with the added pressure of not having an income.
The leap of faith paid off. Cassy graduated from McMaster University with honours, receiving a degree in sociology, and has a career she loves.
While working with young people at the John Howard Society can often be difficult and draining, Cassy said she feels satisfaction in knowing she's offering them an opportunity to better themselves.
"I always tell my kids that the things that are worth it in life are the hardest. You aren't going to love all of your teachers and courses, but the pay off at the end is totally worth it all."
Story by Jaymie Nelson
Photo submitted by Cassy Bowden