Counsellor & Life Skills Coach
Many years ago during my early 20’s, I started doing volunteer work with community organizations for children, youth and families. Even though life was busy as a Mom with 4 children and running my own business, I always made time to serve in various volunteer positions over the years, which has brought much joy to my life and those I served.
I saw the destruction and challenges of alcoholism, drug abuse and mental health issues within the lives of people that I loved and valued. I knew that I wanted to learn more about these difficulties and volunteered further at the Distress Centre, obtaining training and worked overnight so I could continue to care for my family and other duties during the day. Another opportunity to work within the program came up to be involved with the Survivor Support Program. I immediately signed up for training and had the privilege to work in dyads counselling those that had lost someone to suicide. I attended every workshop and training session available within the organization and studied Homicide Training as well. Because of the responsibilities of home and business, this was part of the service that I rendered for a number of years until there was an opportunity to go back to school and become a Human Services Counsellor (Addictions and Mental Health) and a Certified Life Skills Coach.
While working at a detox centre for women, I met women from all walks of life; Moms, grandmothers, women with families, women without families, women from all backgrounds and nationalities. Mental health and addictions have no boundaries or barriers and affect individuals from all walks of life. The human suffering was concerning. I appreciated the opportunity to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
As part of my education, I worked in Jamaica for over 6 weeks customizing and teaching Life Skills lessons within the school system, the home for pregnant teens, the employees of the papaya factory and other community organizations. After graduating from the Community and Social Services Department at George Brown College, I studied Sociology at York University completing my honours BA. Part way through working on my BA, I was presented with the opportunity to teach Social Service Worker students at George Brown College and remained there for 5+ years teaching a wide variety of courses, until it was time to return to university to work on a Master’s Degree. My area of study was Critical Disability Studies and my research was focused on Learning Disabilities. Several of the articles I researched and wrote were published and some were used as text for students at York University. I also had the opportunity to be part of panel discussions, seminars and conferences on inclusion through Ryerson University. As a senior teaching assistant at York University, I taught Racism and Colonialism and Racism and the Law while working on a Master’s Degree. I value education in all forms including the inspiration that has come from our children.
Learning is life long – I look forward to implementing and sharing the forward thinking of Lili Rhinehart - “You are the one thing in this world, above all other things, that you must never give up on. When I was in middle school, I was struggling with severe anxiety and depression and the help and support I received from my family and a therapist saved my life. Asking for help is the first step. You are more precious to this world than you’ll ever know.”