Donny Kinistino

Donny Kinistino

‘I am now what I call a lifetime learner’

NorQuest College Social Work diploma program graduate (2017) Donny Kinistino knows a good investment when he sees one: himself.

The 57-year-old, who only graduated in May of this year, will be returning to NorQuest in the fall to continue his studies in the college’s Recovery Practitioner program – a program he paid for with scholarship and bursary money he received while in the Social Work program.

“I saved it all like a pack rat,” he said. “And when it came time, I reinvested it in myself. I am so happy that I will be continuing my education at NorQuest College.”

Kinistino’s life is an inspiration to many. Returning to school in 2015 after 37 years of active addiction, he found work at the Edmonton Drug Treatment Court following his first successful stint in college. It is the program that helped turn his life around and got him enrolled at NorQuest in 2015. Now his life experiences, relatability to clients, and his current personal success go a long way in helping others see hope.

“That’s where I am right now,” he said from his office in downtown Edmonton, voice cracking with a jubilant laugh that is so obviously the result of a man who is incredibly proud of himself. “It was hard, but little by little I got to where I wanted to be.”

And he’s not done – not by a long shot. At NorQuest College, learners are met at any stage in their education, and with the help of exemplary faculty they are encouraged to continue that education as far as it will take them.

“I look at my past life as a blessing. My life changed after my arrest. I got into the drug court program and I haven’t looked back. It is why I graduated from NorQuest College in the first place. It is a wonderful, wonderful thing and now I am what I call a lifelong learner. I don’t think I will be stopping anytime soon. It has changed my life so much.”