BA Social Care - CAO Course Code: CR031
MTU DEPT. APPLIED SOCIAL STUDIES
Originally from Canada; Adrienne Aldridge is a 26-year-old international mature student on the BA Social Care programme within the Applied Social Studies Dept at MTU.
With Irish ancestry (her late grandmother Mary-Ann was from Ennis, Co Clare), Adrienne was awarded the Irish home coming scholarship to undertake her studies at MTU.
International Women’s Day means reflecting on the struggle of women all around the world who have had to fight for some of the rights we have today. International Women’s Day also means reflecting on how far we have yet to come with rights, access, and social justice for marginalized women. As a social care student, Adrienne has a particular interest in her practice on social justice in regards to marginalised women specifically: asylum seekers, women of colour, Canadian aboriginal women, members of the LGBTQ community, women from the Irish travelling community, women with mental health disorders, women with disabilities and women who work in the sex industry.
Adrienne feels inspired by her late grandmother Mary-Ann who studied to be a teacher in the 1950’s, eventually working as a teacher and supporting her husband whilst he completed law school, and eventually sat the bar and became a judge. Mary-Ann placed a strong emphasis on people accessing education, especially women so that they could always be independent. Adrienne also feels inspired by her mentor, an unofficial Irish ‘mam’ Professor Margaret Linehan of MTU Applied Social Studies Dept. Professor Linehan has mentored Adrienne, inspired her, and provided immense support around access to housing, mental health assistance, access to placements, things to wear to interviews, and much more! Adrienne is inspired by Prof. Linehan’s level of experience, education, and achievements at MTU.
Adrienne is also inspired by Prof. Linehan’s commitment to social justice and involvement in ‘Cork Stand Together’, a group founded with fellow social care student, Colm Healy, that provides street outreach to people experiencing homelessness in Cork city. Margaret can often be found (when COVID-19 restrictions aren’t in place) on the streets of cork city on Wednesday nights handing out food, water, blankets, clothes and smiles to people experiencing homelessness.
Adrienne experiences mental health struggles which provide unique challenges when accessing education. Being new to Ireland also brought unique cultural challenges. Despite having a partial scholarship Adrienne still pays fees which are almost 3x the cost of her Irish peers. Adrienne has worked hard during her entire degree often working 30-35 hours whilst doing fulltime classes and placements. Adrienne wants other women to be inspired to access education despite experiencing mental health struggles, and to avail of the many supports available at MTU such as the Disability Support Service, the Medical Centre, Student Assistance Fund and Counselling Centre. Adrienne was previously involved in volunteering at Childline in Ireland but has recently moved back to Canada due to COVID-19 and is completing her degree online.
Adrienne recently started working in residential care with service users who have various disabilities. Adrienne is passionate about working with children and youth, and dreams of a career that combines her passions: social justice, marginalised communities, and young people.
By Adrienne Aldridge, March 2021