Bachelor of Social Work
School of Social Work
What led you to pursue a Bachelor of Social Work?
Initially, I earned a Police Foundations Diploma from a local college because I thought I wanted to be a police officer. But I naturally gravitated to working in social services. After getting my diploma, I started working at the John Howard Society with people who had been incarcerated and at Main Street Community Services with young adults with mental health issues. That’s when one of my colleagues suggested I apply for the Social Work degree.
You’re still working for those organizations, but how has your approach changed now that you’ve been through the Social Work program?
The program teaches from the lens of the structural approach, which looks at social inequalities and access to resources. I feel that I have changed the way that I work with individuals because now I look at the larger problems and how the system creates oppressive barriers for the individuals that I work with. So now, when I work with people, I understand a lot more in terms of the systemic factors that have to lead the individuals that I work with to poverty and homelessness, incarceration, mental health or addictions.
I feel that I can draw a lot of connections from what I learned in the class and connect it to what I do at work. I also feel that I understand myself better. I constantly reflect on my own upbringing and morals and how they will affect my practice with the individuals that I work with.
What’s next for you?
This summer, I’ll be working at the John Howard Society, Main Street Community Services and at the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre. I find working with youth really gratifying. Then in the Fall, I will be returning to Carleton for my Master of Social Work. I’m looking forward to a practicum with more responsibilities, and I hope to eventually go into direct practice counselling individuals.