For Nikaela Lutzer, having a positive attitude and being persistent have paid off.

As a single mom with two children, Lutzer was struggling to pay bills.

“I had nothing. I had a ton of debt from court fees and lawyers. I had no job. I had no way of sustaining myself and my two children,” Lutzer says.

“I was trying to relax in my hot tub in the backyard, and I looked at my kids and said I am going to teach swimming lessons in here.”

Lutzer put an advertisement on Kijiji and had 173 responses overnight to do private swimming lessons. She worked more than 12 hours per day, seven days a week teaching lessons.

Now, Lil Bettas Swim School and Safety Training has 17 locations across Alberta.

“My life wasn’t over. It sounds cliché, but it was just beginning,” says Lutzer. “It took some hard work but my children get to see their mom come from the lowest of the low to being happy. They get to see us as a family, overcome a very difficult situation and move on and build a great life.”

“Nikaela is a woman who has looked fear in the face and decided that she was going to be and do better,” says nominator Samantha Laycock.