Between her long-term foster kids and her own three children, Kim Finch-Ballance has spent a lot of time in her communities’ schools.

“I really do believe it takes a community to raise a child, and we were so lucky to have the Catholic school system,” said Finch-Ballance.

When her son Jaraco was in Grade 2, he first began to show signs of a learning disability, and in Grade 5, it was clear he would benefit from some extra support by way of specialized learning technology. But alongside his learning tools, Finch-Ballance says her son was also growing as he internalized the values of self-respect, integrity and perseverance.

At times he struggled — Grades 7 and 8 were particularly difficult. When Jaraco entered high school at Sacred Heart Catholic in Walkerton, he was enrolled in remedial classes.  

But he was determined to get to the college-level stream, and his school community was determined to help him succeed. With the combination of that support and his own dedication, Jaraco graduated with his Grade 12 diploma last year.  

“He was able to be himself. I think that really built his self-esteem, his respect for himself and respect for others,” his mother said. “It’s been a journey, but it’s been an amazing journey.”

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