A former Crown ward from Sudbury, Ont. is using her experience of coming through the foster care system and graduating from college to help others do the same.

Tiffany Pollock spent the majority of her young life bouncing between foster homes, attending nine different schools before she turned 12 years old.

"My experience was both positive and negative," she said of her time in foster care.

"I didn't really have stability until I was 12, but from 12 on, it was fantastic," she continued. "I had such a great foster mom who supported me through thick and thin."

Still, Pollock said those early years have had an impact on her to the current day.

Pollock and her siblings was taken by social services when she was four years old because her parents were involved in organized crime.

Her mother struggled with substance abuse and mental illness, and tried regaining custody of her children. 

"I really struggle with change, only because I've been through so much that it frightens me," Pollock said.

'I wanted to break the cycle'

Still, despite those challenges, including struggling with mental health issues like an eating disorder, depression and anxiety in her teenage years, Pollock continued to pursue post-secondary education.

"I wanted to break the cycle, I wanted to be the opposite of what my parents were and what they had done with their lives," she told CBC's northern Ontario afternoon show, Up North.

"I used that as my motivation."

Pollock has graduated from Cambrian College in Sudbury with an advanced diploma in child and youth services and has also completed the social services program. She's also completed a year at Laurentian University in their social work program and is working towards a degree in social work.

Pollock, who now works for the Children's Aid Society of Sudbury and Manitoulin as a mentor and project coordinator, said her experiences now translate to her job.

"To the youth, I share my personal experiences with being in care," she said. "I use myself as an example that anything is possible."

Listen to Tiffany Pollock's interview on CBC's northern Ontario afternoon show Up North here.