A Winnipeg woman’s turnaround in life inspires her elementary school math teacher
Emad Agahi, CTV Winnipeg
Published Tuesday, October 18, 2016 10:16PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, October 19, 2016 1:36AM CST
A reunion between a Winnipeg woman and her old elementary school math teacher has led to a donation that will help troubled girls and boys turn their lives around.
Years ago, Paige Mills and Sarah Belley met as student and teacher.
"She was my Grade 4 math teacher and instantly we had a bond, we got along really well," explained Mills.
Their connection was strong enough for Belley to predict that the little girl she was teaching math to, was not going to have an easy life.
“I was really worried about her future," Belley recalled. “She was often in trouble and life really looked bad for her.”
That prediction would turn out to be right.
Mills said she left that school two years later and from there her life would turn into a downward spiral of drug use, alcoholism, and even a run-in with the law.
At 15, Mills explained she was constantly in and out of the Manitoba Youth Centre.
"On my last visit there I was given an ultimatum of staying there for 18-months or going to Marymound under lock unit house arrest," she said.
It's there that Mills said she decided it was finally time to get better.
With the support of staff at Marymound she did just that.
"I managed to kind of find myself and get completely clean from all the drugs and alcohol I was doing and it was a relief,” Mills said.
Meanwhile, Belley had recently been gifted some extra money and was looking for a good place to donate it.
Around the same time, Mills and Belley were, by chance, reunited on Facebook.
They went for coffee and after hearing of Mills' remarkable turnaround Belley said she knew exactly where her donation was going.
"It rang a bell right away," Belley said.
After hearing how Marymound had helped her former student and now friend back on the right path, Belley wrote a cheque to the organization.
The donation will go towards recreational facilities, bursaries and learning equipment that Marymound offers its youth.
As for Mills, she's now 19, has a full time job and is a few credits away from her high-school diploma.
She plans to study veterinary medicine.