Fleming is a family experience for PSI student Crystal Dudgeon

Fleming faculty member and ASIS Toronto Education Committee member Brine Hamilton (left) presents Crystal Dudgeon with the ASIS Friends and Family Scholarship
Fleming faculty member and ASIS Toronto Education Committee member Brine Hamilton (left) presents Crystal Dudgeon with the ASIS Friends and Family Scholarship.

Congratulations to Protection, Security and Investigation student Crystal Dudgeon, who won the ASIS Friends and Family Scholarship! ASIS International, a leading organization for security professionals, awarded Crystal with the scholarship based on a letter she wrote about her career aspirations, an essay related to security, a faculty recommendation and her transcript.

The name of the award, ASIS Friends and Family Scholarship, is fitting for Crystal. Unlike many college students, Crystal’s return to school meant spending more time with her family.

Crystal’s daughter Emily is a Customs Border Services student who recommended Fleming’s Law and Justice programs to her mother, who was living in the Netherlands and looking for a new direction in life. Crystal enrolled in the Community and Justice Services program and Emily was happy to give her mother a campus tour and introduce her to some faculty members when Crystal returned to Canada.

“When my mom said that she was coming to the college to take a Law and Justice program, I was really happy,” said Emily. “I think my mom is very smart, she had a lot of knowledge to share. Plus she’s a fun person, having her at the college is great!”

In addition to her daughter’s support, Crystal said she felt very welcomed by the Fleming community. “The students and faculty, particularly in the Law and Justice programs, are vibrant, fun and an engaging part of my experience,” she said. “I have learned a great deal from my fellow students and they have been very accepting of me.”

She decided to switch to the Protection, Security and Investigation program after faculty member Norm Killian presented on the topic in the Strategies for Success class.

“I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” she said. “I have a background in frontline security and the presentation really invoked my interest to return to the roots of my career.”

One of her favourite – albeit most nerve-wracking – program experiences is doing live surveillance exercises, where she follows former CSIS agents downtown Peterborough pretending she is not following them.

Not long after Crystal started Fleming College, her youngest daughter Jamie also decided to enrol.

Crystal (centre) with her daughters Emily (left) and Jamie (right).
Crystal (centre) with her daughters Emily (left) and Jamie (right).

“I was really proud and inspired when my mom was accepted into Fleming. It made me want to move forward with my own education and see us all be successful together as a family,” said Jamie, who is now in her second semester of the Police Foundations program. “She’s going to graduate with honours, which is something I am trying to do as well. She always told us that education is really important and now she is showing us how it’s done.”

Crystal shared that in the beginning she was concerned about navigating her daughters’ boundaries, wondering whether she could sit with them when they were with friends, talk about them to her peers, or tell faculty that she was their mother.

“It turns out that I was over-thinking the entire situation,” said Crystal. “Attending college with my daughters has been a dream come true for me. We get to experience the same challenges and excitements together as a family. Exam weeks can be a tense time in the Dudgeon household but at the end of the week, we also get to unwind and appreciate the support we’ve received from one another. Perhaps the best part, as a parent, I am always on hand for them– now academically as well as emotionally. And hey, what college kid doesn’t want to have mom’s cooking every night?”

Crystal, who is now in her fourth semester, plans to continue her studies at Fleming and earn her Emergency Management graduate certificate, hoping to find a career that allows her to interact with the public in a positive way. Her long-term career goal is to study and possibly teach the history of espionage and spy networks during historical conflicts.

Nicole Soanes aims to make positive impact as Youth Justice Committee Coordinator at John Howard Society of Peterborough

nicole-soanesNicole Soanes wanted a career that would make a positive impact on the community. After graduating from the Community and Justice Services program at Fleming College in 2017, she hit the ground running at the John Howard Society of Peterborough as Youth Justice Committee Coordinator.

“What I love the most about my job is getting the chance to work with youth who are often at a critical moment where they can take one of two pathways,” said Nicole. “I hope to assist clients in making positive choices in order to get on a productive and healthy path in their life.”

Nicole works with youth ages 12 to 17 who have come in contact with the justice system. She conducts intakes with youth, and coordinates restorative justice conferences between her clients and those they have harmed. Nicole also coordinates volunteers who are trained to facilitate restorative justice conferences.

“I love being able to connect a person who has caused harm with the person who has been harmed, and help to promote understanding and healing for everyone involved in a situation,” she said.

Many of the skills Nicole developed at Fleming College are applicable to her job, including the social skills and confidence she gained in the Community and Justice Services program.

“In particular, the Interviewing and Counselling course in Community and Justice Services made me feel extremely prepared to take on my current role,” explained Nicole. “That class was incredibly uncomfortable– sitting in front of all your peers and doing role-plays was a nightmare for me! However, I pushed through and it was so worth it. Interviewing and Counselling gave me the skills that I use every day in my role at the John Howard Society when working with clients.”

Nicole decided to enrol in the Community and Justice Services program after spending two years in university. “I approached the end of my second year and began to question where my degree was going to take me and what my future was going to look like,” she shared. Nicole wanted to make a change and when a friend recommended Fleming’s Community and Justice Services program, Nicole knew it was the right fit for her.

“My experience at Fleming College was absolutely amazing! I am a very introverted person and I often find it’s difficult for me to come out of my shell, to socialize, and to participate in class discussions and activities. At Fleming, that all changed,” said Nicole. “I made wonderful friends, and the faculty in the Community and Justice Services program is indescribable. The support that I found down the Justice hallway was just incredible.”

The Fleming College graduate said her education gave her the knowledge and skills to implement her passions, including the Aboriginal Justice course which ignited her passion for Restorative Justice.

“I honestly recommend the Community and Justice Services program to someone at least on a weekly basis. The two years that I spent in the program have been the best two years of my life,” said Nicole. “I graduated feeling extremely competent and prepared to enter the workforce, and continue to learn and grow. Fleming College and the CJS program made it possible for me to find my passion and find myself.”

Social Service Worker program is the ‘whole package’ for Valedictorian Darla Cuthbertson

darla-cuthbertsonDarla Cuthbertson wanted the whole package when she decided to attend post-secondary school as a mature student.

“I really wanted my college dollars to go as far as possible in the purchase of an education,” she said. “Through life experience, I have learned to see the whole package offering. The Social Service Worker program offers a well-rounded base of skills in which to use heading out into the community; everything from computer skills, human growth philosophy, to counselling and community development.”

In addition to learning theoretical approaches, Darla appreciates the application practice she gained through group work. “This was a great period of learning for myself, as I have often depended only on the efforts and works of myself,” Darla explained. “Sharing, creating and developing space with others played a huge role in developing my sense of self and community.”

Her most memorable experiences at Fleming were the kick-off, signing the Indigenous Education Protocol, and getting Anishinaabemowin accepted as a General Elective Language Course.

“My life has been enriched through my experience at Fleming, and friendships made here – both with my peers and my professors – will continue,” said Darla. “The faculty and staff are amazing and create a real family environment. Across campus and down each corridor I was met with a friendly and helpful welcome. The diversity of students is a gift in itself and brought a cultural experience unexpected in this little, off-the-beaten-path town of Ontario.”

Darla has been selected as Valedictorian for Community Development Programs at convocation, which she feels humbled by.

“There are so many students, ones I know personally, who are smarter and more talented than I,” said Darla. “After sitting with that feeling for a few days, I allowed myself to feel honoured and to accept the good feelings that come with such a title. I am proud to be a Fleming Knight and to accept this honour to represent such an important school of learning, alongside so many students dedicated to the helping professions.”

She added, “I hope my fellow graduates leave with pride in their achievements, knowledge of their belonging, and aware of the important responsibility they now owe to their communities.”

Being a mature student ‘wasn’t easy, but definitely worth it’ for Valedictorian Samantha Delahaye

samanthaSamantha Delahaye felt nervous when she entered Fleming College as a mature student, but is graduating as Valedictorian with peers and professors she calls friends.

“I worked extremely hard to achieve what I did while at Fleming College. Coming back to school as a ‘mature student’ certainly wasn’t easy, but definitely worth it,” said Samantha, who is graduating from the Protection, Security and Investigation program.

Samantha will deliver her Valedictorian speech at the Justice Programs convocation on Wednesday, June 7 at 10 a.m.

“I know that within the School of Law and Justice, there were a lot of contenders; and for me to be singled out and chosen from such a vast variety of students, it feels incredible,” she said. “My hope is that I am able, at the very least, to keep their attention. It would be nice if they could pick up from my speech that I really want the best in the future for all the fellow graduates. And I hope to deliver some laughs as well.”

Reflecting on her most memorable experiences in the School of Justice and Community Development, Samantha said she spontaneously waltzed with a professor to prove a theory, fell in a creek during surveillance, and had many memorable conversations with faculty.

“Fleming is an incredibly welcoming place to attend school, it holds an accepting and diverse community,” she said. “I came here two years ago as a mature student and worried that, because of the age gap, I wouldn’t mesh well. I couldn’t have been more wrong.”

One of Samantha’s favourite memories at Fleming College was her hour-long chats with faculty member Alana Hermiston, who sadly passed away last year. “She left an ever-lasting impression on hundreds of students during her time at Fleming College and she is missed tremendously,” said Samantha.

Through the Protection, Security and Investigation program, Samantha developed teamwork skills, especially in regards to communication. She also learned surveillance/intelligence, interviewing/questioning techniques, and crime scene investigation. “It made me much more aware of the environment around me, I feel as though I pay more attention to detail now,” she said.

Samantha recommends this program to others because the courses are intriguing and hands-on, the professors are wonderful, and the skills are transferable to many different opportunities.

Customs Border Services student Mkons Stone-Debassige makes Aboriginal Team Ontario’s U19 Men’s Basketball team

mkons1-2Congratulations to Customs Border Services student Mkons Stone-Debassige! Mkons, who is Anishinaabe from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, has been accepted to play for Aboriginal Team Ontario’s U19 Men’s Basketball team for the 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG)!

“My teammates come from all over Ontario and my competitors from as far away as Texas. Although we are all competing for the gold medals, what we come away with is new friendships, proud to be Indigenous, and experiences of a lifetime,” said Mkons, who is on Aboriginal Team Ontario, which has 400 athletes, 80 coaches and 20 mission staff. The Aboriginal Sport & Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO) is the Provincial Territorial Aboriginal Sport Body overseeing the team.

The NAIG is the largest continental sporting and cultural gathering of Indigenous people. It is a multi-sport, multi-disciplinary event for Indigenous youth across North America between 13 and 19 years of age. There are 14 sport competitions, and a showcase of Indigenous cultural artists and performers. Mkons is one of 5, 000 athletes who will attend the event this July in Toronto.

This is not Mkons’ first time attending the NAIG, as he played on the U16 team three years ago. “It was an awesome experience, for so many Indigenous youth to be gathered from all over North American for the Indigenous Games is just amazing. We all marched into the Roughriders Stadium in our territorial gear and I felt so proud to be Indigenous and to be a part of such a huge event,” said Mkons.

The Fleming College student was involved in a variety of sports growing up but started watching Fleming Knights home games and practices in grade 10, and decided to focus solely on basketball during his senior year at Kenner Collegiate Vocational Institute. His knowledge of the Fleming Knights and friendships with people in the Fleming community made his decision to attend post-secondary school at Fleming College easy.

mkons-2“Everyone was friendly and encouraged me to be a better player from the beginning,” said Mkons, who played on the Fleming Knights Basketball team this past school year. “I am far younger than all the other players and know that any spot on any varsity team is not to be taken for granted, so I try my best in classes and on the court and am thankful for all that I am blessed to be a part of.”

One of the friendships Mkons made before attending Fleming College was with Kylie Fox, Fleming’s Aboriginal Student Services Coordinator. Kylie said she is excited for the upcoming NAIG and will be cheering for Mkons.

“The theme this year is ‘Past, Present, Future. All One,’ as the North American Indigenous Games unites us through sport to celebrate our past, present and future,” she said. “I am so proud of Mkons, I can’t wait to cheer him on!”

Early Childhood Education students make nature their classroom

ecomentorship-group
Dean Carol Kelsey (left), ECE students who took the Eco-Mentorship Certificate program, and Mary Lou Lummiss (right)

Today’s child spends more than seven hours in front of a glowing screen and less than 30 minutes per day in unstructured outdoor play, but Fleming’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) students hope to change that.

On Friday, April 21, Dean Carol Kelsey presented a group of ECE students with their Eco-Mentorship Certificate during the Quality Childcare Displays event in the Sutherland Campus Galleria. The optional certificate program is an innovative collaboration between Camp Kawartha and Fleming College.

“When I heard about the certificate I thought it was an exciting opportunity, something to put on my resume, and good skills to learn that I can use on the job,” said ECE student Amanda Clement, who has since been hired as a Registered ECE at Compass Early Learning and Care at St. Teresa Catholic Elementary School. “I grew up in Haliburton and I enjoy being outside, and being outside was a part of my childhood.”

To earn her Eco-Mentorship Certificate, Amanda had to complete four interactive workshops: Building Children’s Understanding of the World through Environmental Exploration, The Power of Play – Establishing a Personal Connection to Nature, Fostering and Nurturing Stewardship, and Experiencing Being a Part of Nature from an Indigenous Perspective. Through the workshops, students learn to integrate outdoor and nature-based activities, connect children to the natural world, integrate Indigenous ways of knowing and learning, and help foster a generation committed to the stewardship of the planet.

Amanda Clement
Amanda Clement with her Quality Childcare Display

“It was fun learning what’s available in our ‘neighbour-wood’ through this certificate,” said Amanda, who created a bicycle outline on the grass using found objects. “You don’t need to purchase materials and, as a college student, that is excellent.”

Her favourite moment was finding a sit spot to find wellness and peace. “When you go out with kids, they notice something new. It’s such a heartwarming moment,” said Amanda.

ECE professor Mary Lou Lummiss helped redesign this certificate program for Fleming College during her professional sabbatical. She worked with Jacob Rodenburg, Executive Director of Camp Kawartha; attended environmental camps, training opportunities, conducted research, and read several books on mentoring children in the outdoors.

“The ECE program at Fleming shares a widely held belief that being connected to nature is something that is slowly eroding from children’s lives. Research on the benefits of nature connections for children offers insight on the important role parents and educators play in this work,” said Mary Lou.

“ECE faculty wanted to set our program apart by offering a certificate that focuses on the role of the educator, seeing nature through an Indigenous lens, and provide strategies the educator can use with all age groups. We also have been focusing on sustainability within almost all of our courses, so it was a natural fit for us,” she explained.

Mary Lou recommends ECE students take this certificate to gain valuable insight into the affordances of nature, build on children’s natural curiosity to engage them more fully in outdoor learning, and identify barriers in the workplace and seek solutions.

“One student mentioned that she sees the outside and her time with children outdoors much differently now,” said Mary Lou. “Another student let us know that she was recently hired and that her new employer was very interested in her certificate and her passion for the outdoors. She feels it was a key reason why she was chosen for the job.”

Fleming College’s ECE program has an extremely high rate of related employment for graduates. This program prepares students to help young children develop their physical, social and intellectual skills, and their self-confidence and imagination. All courses are based on a philosophy that encourages inclusive practice and partnerships with families.

Child and Youth Care coordinator brings the real world to her classroom

cyc-coordinatorChild and Youth Care program coordinator Heather Sago brings the real world to her classroom. With more than 20 years of experience across Canada (Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Lethbridge, and Peterborough), Heather brings a national perspective on practice with children, youth and families.

Child and Youth Care (CYC) workers are an integral part of a treatment team and are involved in all facets of care. Fleming’s CYC program features leading-edge curriculum, including certification in the Therapeutic Use of Daily Life Events and over 1200 hours of field practicum experience.

“CYC to me is not just a job, but part of who I am,” said Heather, who has a BA in criminology from the University of Manitoba, a BSW from the University of Calgary, and an MSW with a child and youth care specialization from McGill University. “I hope to help students discover where their passions lie and how to integrate this into their personhood.”

Heather currently sits on the At Risk Youth Justice Committee & Judge’s Roundtable, Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies Research Evaluation Advisory Committee, the Development & Implementation Committee for the Child and Youth Care Educational Accreditation Board of Canada, and international working groups.

“While I may have lots to share, I also can’t wait to see what the students will teach me. Everyone has something to bring to the table and every moment is a teachable one!” said Heather.

She is excited to bring the Indigenous Perspectives Designation to the table this year. This designation is optional for CYC students, and those who choose to access it will have a strong foundational basis in Indigenous Studies, which is marketable in the employment sector.

If you would like to provide opportunities for change in the lives of children and youth, Fleming is currently accepting applications for the January 2017 intake of the CYC program.

CICE and DSW students help St. Joseph’s at Fleming residents prepare for Halloween

ciceCommunity Integration Through Cooperative Education (CICE) students helped St. Joseph’s at Fleming residents get in the Halloween spirit yesterday! For their CICE community project, the Fleming College students carved nine pumpkins for the St. Joseph’s at Fleming residents to help decorate for their Halloween party. Fleming Developmental Services Worker students also helped carve pumpkins with the CICE students, as part of their semester 1 course “Thriving at College.”

The St. Joseph’s at Fleming residents judged the pumpkins yesterday afternoon and handed out ribbons to the students for their hard work. Thank you to everyone involved in this great community initiative!

About: The CICE program is designed to strengthen essential skills for work, life and learning. This two-year certificate program is open to adults with Learning Exceptionalities (Communication, Intellectual, Physical and/or Multiple).

The DSW diploma program is designed to provide the specialized skills required for professionals who make a difference every day in the developmental services sector. This program has a specific focus related to supporting people with various intellectual disabilities, such as Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Autism, and neurocognitive disorders.