In my early twenties, I stumbled into the world of support work. It was a very different experience from my previous serving job where I would work into the early hours of the morning, with sore feet and a migraine, not looking forward to my next shift.
I found great joy in being a Community Support Worker. I worked with variety of clients: young children with behavioural disorders, young adults with special needs, seniors with Alzheimer’s, etc. I enjoyed the challenge of adapting to each client’s specific needs and daily routines and the range of experience it gave me.
I’ll never forget my favourite client; he was a young adult with Down syndrome. He was homeschooled at a grade 12 level and had unbelievable will power, discipline and a goal in mind: he wanted to attend post-secondary. All his life, he was bullied by his peers and told he could never achieve his goals.
We worked hard every day. He took his studies very seriously and was an inspiration to watch. I would visit with him around noon and we would make lunch together. After lunch we would work on Math problems. Then we would go for a walk outside if the weather was nice and talk about life; he was very curious about the world and always had many questions. After our walk, we would focus on other subjects like History or Biology. We used flash cards and videos as learning aids. He was always very eager to try different methods and learn as much as he could.
When the time came, he applied to every single college and university in the city. We waited and waited, and slowly started receiving letters… of rejection. I saw the disappointment in his eyes each time but he always kept his hopes up. Finally he received an acceptance letter to a smaller community college. I had never seen such a reaction! He jumped up and down, ran around the house squealing in joy, hugging everyone. When he finally calmed down and sat down, he looked at me and said “Thank you”.
I knew that I had made a difference in his life, just by being present and supporting him to be as independent and determined as possible. He had become more than just my client. He had become part of my life.
The way I see it, being a Community Support Worker, you are so much more than just your job title. You are a mentor, a friend, a counsellor, a voice of reason, an advisor, a shoulder to cry on, an advocate. You help these individuals shape their lives and guide them towards what benefits them most. You teach and help maintain their independence, their dignity, and their wellbeing. You make a positive difference in people’s lives. You are the change you want to see in the world.
My years of experience lead me to my current role as an Admissions Advisor at Drake Medox College today. My goal is to help others realize and pursue their dreams of a career in healthcare. If my story has inspired you and you would like to learn more about our new 6 month Community Support Worker Program, please call me at 604-629-0196.