Layla Johnson is a 17-year-old high school student from Six Nations of the Grand River. Layla began visiting GREAT when she started high school in 2020. Navigating high school during the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging and took away opportunities that would've normally been available to students. Fortunately, Layla was eligible to receive GREAT’s $500 Student Support that they were offering at the time. This helped cover some at-home expenses that students may have needed to cover while completing their remote learning.
Once the school year was complete, Layla returned to explore summer employment opportunities. Layla participated in the Summer Challenge that year but unfortunately did not get the full placement experience due to the COVID-19 restrictions that were still in place. Immediately following that program, Layla registered for the “Eyeyadagweniyo– Be Your Own Boss” program. This was a paid 3-week program designed to introduce youth to various elements of running your own business one day. Layla says that completing a variety of programs at GREAT has helped her meet new people and continuously learn new skills.
More recently, Layla has completed the 11th grade at McKinnon Park Secondary School. After having a GREAT visit to her school this past year, she was aware that they offered summer positions and decided to reach out and find out more. Prior to this summer, she worked as a waitress but wanted to expand and try something new.
Layla is currently a receptionist on the Grand River Employment and Training Administration team. She said she is enjoying her summer position thus far; she is able to assist other students all while growing her skillset and getting comfortable in new settings.
Layla’s goal in 5 years is to be working with the Six Nations Police, continuing to give back to her community; this is a position she has envisioned herself in for many years now. Growing up, Layla was always involved in some type of sport, and she thoroughly enjoyed it. This made her realize that when choosing which career path she wanted to take, it needed to include being athletic and staying busy. We have no doubt, after the work we have observed Layla put in, that one day, she will be a frontline worker in our community.
We asked Layla what advice she would give to potential clients who may be unsure of their next steps…
“Recognize yourself and have a good mind. Do something you enjoy doing and follow your dreams!”