Fleming Protection, Security and Investigation students help protect healthcare workers and patients amidst pandemic

Security, intelligence and investigation professionals work on the frontlines and behind-the-scenes to protect people, businesses, institutions and infrastructure— including during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amidst the pandemic, more than 10 Fleming College Protection, Security and Investigation (PSI) students are putting their knowledge and skills to use at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. They are working for GardaWorld Security Services to help keep healthcare workers and patients safe.

When GardaWorld was tasked to immediately increase support at hospitals due to the pandemic, National Operations Director Justin Sharrard provided the opportunity to Fleming College students first.

“This was a sensitive situation with strict requirements, and we knew the Fleming students would have the qualifications and foundation to carry out the duties professionally and safely,” said Justin. “I have always been impressed by the professionalism and dedication of Fleming students.”

GardaWorld hired Fleming PSI applicants ranging from first-year students to graduates. Graduates took more advanced security roles, while students are working in specialized Customer Service Agent roles at access points throughout the facility. Customer Service Agents help communicate and enforce quarantine policies to further protect medical staff and patients.

PSI program coordinator Christine O’Neill-Hawthorne is proud of the Fleming College students and graduates working amidst the pandemic to help others. “I am very proud of the courage, commitment, determination and work ethic that PSI students demonstrate every day that they go to work in this environment,” said Christine.

PSI student Grace Matser

PSI student Grace Matser said working amidst the pandemic has been truly enriching, both personally and professionally. “This is an incredible experience for me, as a soon-to-be third semester student of the Protection, Security and Investigation program at Fleming College,” said Grace. “This opportunity has allowed me to help the community, as well as gain the personal experience in the healthcare industry side of security.”

PSI student Trusha Sojitra

Fellow student Trusha Sojitra is also working at PRHC. Trusha is grateful for the opportunity and said she is thankful to everyone working on the frontlines. “We are in this together,” said Trusha. “Be kind and stay safe.”

About the Protection, Security and Investigation program: The PSI sector is recognized as one of the fastest growing fields in the world. In Fleming College’s Protection, Security and Investigations diploma program, students develop the knowledge, skills and capabilities to work in a wide variety of roles. This four-semester program focuses on new concepts in technology, intelligence analytics and investigative skills. This diverse range of marketable skills are essential to your success as an industry professional. Learn more about this program here; the next intake is September 2020.

Virtual law firm created for Paralegal field placement

When Paralegal program coordinator Amy Maycock realized field placements were not possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she started brainstorming creative solutions to ensure students could complete the 120-hour block placement needed to graduate and write the licensing exam.

Amy called the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) to discuss the situation and, during this conversation, the idea of a virtual law firm came up. She then spoke with Teaching & Learning Specialist Mary Overholt for guidance on which platform to use.

To give students variety, Amy created a multi-disciplinary law firm offering Landlord and Tenant Law, Small Claims Court, Provincial Offences and, if needed, Accident Benefits. To help develop scenarios and tasks for students to complete during placement, Amy connected with graduates for ideas.

Once Amy had a detailed plan, she submitted a lengthy proposal to the LSO for approval; this is needed for any major change, as Fleming is an accredited college. Once Amy received approval, she felt incredibly relieved and excited to deliver.

“I reached out to faculty and graduates and asked if they would volunteer to be placement principals and to act as clients,” said Amy. “The response was overwhelming; within hours, I had seven volunteers.”

Amy posted the placement position on D2L, held placement interviews online, and then the Fleming Virtual Law Firm was open!

For their placement, students used Microsoft Teams and Webex for communication and rotated through areas of law, spending one week in each discipline. Students completed tasks during their placement, including client interviews, drafting documents, researching case law, preparing legal memos and case briefs, and writing correspondence to both principals and clients.

“I think it was an overall success,” said Amy. “I believe it simulated as much of a real office as is virtually possible. It allowed students to apply what they had learned in school in a virtual setting. By successfully completing the virtual field placement, students can now write their Law Society licensing exam.”

Amy would like to thank her colleagues for their assistance and support: Victoria Orlandi, Janet Heeringa, Alushe Stafa, Kendra Kelly, Lisa McFadden, Vanessa Craig, Barbara Moyle, Diana Collis and Justin Stevens.

“I must give a special thank you to the students who completed the virtual field placement,” she said. “I could not have worked with a better group of students, and I thank them for entrusting me to get them to the finish line.”

CICE students complete RentSmart Certificate

Congratulations to Fleming Community Integration Through Cooperative Education (CICE) students who completed their RentSmart certificate! This certificate can be used by CICE students for rental applications when they’re ready to rent independently.

RentSmart features six modules covering topics such as: applying for housing, rights, responsibilities and expectations, managing finances and communicating effectively. The program aims to teach students how to be great tenants and is facilitated by Fleming Off-Campus Housing Coordinator Karen Hennessey with CICE faculty, and guest speakers from the community and local agencies. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, RentSmart was adapted to online learning modules to provide students with the opportunity to complete the certificate online.

CICE faculty member Julie Wilson helped provide student support with this change in program delivery and feels fortunate this certificate could be offered online. “RentSmart is a perfect addition to the CICE program (Essential Skills course) for our second-year students,” said Julie. “Students find the program informative, and is an opportunity to learn about their rights and responsibilities as tenants. The program builds confidence, knowledge and skills so people can make informed choices around rental housing.”

CICE student Dalton K. agrees. “I really enjoyed the RentSmart program and how it taught me about tenant rights and responsibilities, as well as the rights and responsibilities of a landlord,” said Dalton. “I like how this program talked about advocating for myself, as my teacher Julie is always teaching us to advocate at school and at work.”

About the CICE program: The Community Integration through Cooperative Education (CICE) program is a two-year program designed to provide individuals with exceptionalities and other significant learning challenges opportunity to experience college life and enhance their academic and vocational skills with modified programming and support from Integration Facilitators. Learn more here

Breakfast Television Toronto surprises Fleming College student with virtual convocation ceremony

Elliot Smith never imagined he would complete his final semester of the Community Integration Through Cooperative Education (CICE) program at home. He also never imagined Breakfast Television Toronto would broadcast a virtual convocation ceremony for him and his mom.

On April 16, Breakfast Television Toronto featured Elliot on their “BT Bright Spot” segment, where Elliot and his mom Debbie discussed his Fleming College education. Elliot was also treated to a surprise virtual convocation ceremony on the morning show.

“It was amazing! It was a great speech,” said Elliot, who received 500 tweets, 300 emails, and texts and phone calls congratulating him.

Elliot’s mother Debbie is so proud of Elliot’s accomplishments, including his education. “Elliot proved a lot of people wrong,” said Debbie. “There was a teacher who said he wouldn’t graduate from high school.”

Elliot has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Debbie credits the Autism Resource Team at Ajax High School for creating a success plan and providing supports. She is also grateful for the amazing gym teachers at Ajax High School for ensuring Elliot was included and able to take gym class every year, as she said many students on the spectrum are exempt from gym.

“The gym teachers encouraged me and they understand me,” said Elliot, who loves sports and plays on the Durham Region Challenger Baseball League, Archery 2 You, Pickering Football Club All Abilities, and has a black belt in material arts. Elliot also serves as the first Youth Amplifier for the Jays Care Foundation, where he attends weekly meetings to provide insight and suggestions for their Challenger Baseball programming.  

It is this strong passion for athletics that led Elliot to the CICE program at Fleming College, hoping to gain independence, confidence, and pursue his dreams of journalism and radio broadcasting in sports and entertainment.

“I wanted to take the CICE program to learn how to live on my own independently and learn life skills,” said Elliot, who moved to Peterborough from Durham Region to live in Fleming Residence. He shared a Residence suite with another CICE student, as well as students from other programs.

“It was a great experience to live independent and do my own chores. I like to keep everything tidy and clean,” said Elliot, who helped his suite win the Cleanest Suite Award in second semester.

Debbie said this was Elliot’s first experience away from home. “He had never been on his own or away from us. I was going to move to Peterborough so that he could go to college, but [CICE program coordinator] Patty Thompson told me to try this and said she will help,” said Debbie.

“Elliot lived on his own for two years and that exceeds our expectations. This is huge for him and the skills he gained from that – making meals, getting to class by himself on time, keeping to a schedule – is huge. The CICE team helped with that, they made visual schedules, helped him learn to take the bus in Peterborough, taught practical life skills,” she said. “We found at Fleming that inclusivity is a huge priority.”

Elliot said he enjoyed living in Residence, kept active at the Peterborough Sport and Wellness Centre, and made new friends at Fleming. Some of his highlights include meeting boxer Cody Crowley in the Steele Centre, having lunch with race car driver Austin Riley on campus, and going to FanExpo 2019 with friends. He also enjoyed doing his CICE program placement at the Peterborough Petes, where he took scout identification, greeted guests and collected tickets.

Through the CICE program, Elliot learned about how to be a good leader and how to live independently.

“I feel incredibly confident after taking the CICE program,” said Elliot. “It’s made a huge difference and I would recommend it to others because it will teach you to be independent and teach you life skills.”

Now that Elliot has finished his Fleming studies, he plans to continue writing as Sports and Entertainment Correspondent for Outfox Magazine, is co-writing a book with Debbie called Living My Best Life with ASD; When the Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary, and will start an employment program in September at Kerry’s Place Autism Services.

Watch Elliot on Breakfast Television Toronto:



School Within a College inspires Shelby Baldino to strive for success

Shelby Baldino never imagined herself graduating from high school, serving as Valedictorian for her class or attending college, but thanks to School Within a College, Shelby achieved more than she thought possible for herself.

“I never in a million years thought I’d graduate high school, let alone be Valedictorian. It was a great experience,” said Shelby. “When I got the message, I cried. In high school, I was put down a lot by my teachers and peers because they didn’t think I was making an effort, but I had depression and that’s what was stopping me.”

In high school, Shelby had poor attendance, struggled with authority figures, and was battling depression. Her guidance counsellor introduced her to the School Within a College program, a partnership between the school board and Fleming College.

School Within a College offers a college learning environment for senior secondary students to complete their Ontario Secondary School Diploma credits. The program includes a dual credit course, where students are able to earn one college credit.

“I loved it! It’s more of a college setting and it’s up to you to do the work. For me, it was a better environment and I felt safer, and the people who work here are more approachable and try to help,” Shelby explains.

“My attendance got a lot better— I used to not go to school at all. After being in this program, I saw how much I could get done in a day and that made me feel good,” she said. “I went from 50s and 60s in high school to 70s and 80s here. That made me feel good and made me want to come. It influenced me to try harder.”

Through the School Within a College program, Shelby said she improved her attendance, time management skills, organizational skills, work ethic and more. She also felt supported with her mental health and is especially grateful for being introduced to the Peterborough Sport & Wellness Centre.

“When my teacher Amy brought me to the Wellness Centre and I saw how everyone just does their own thing, I realized this isn’t bad,” she said. “Now I find exercise is relaxing and it makes me feel better if I’m stressed.”

After completing her Ontario Secondary School Diploma, Shelby decided to continue her studies at Fleming College. She is currently in her first semester of the Law Clerk program with plans to earn a dual diploma in Law Clerk and Paralegal.

“I have nine siblings and I’m the first one in my family who will graduate from college. My mom said, ‘you’re not allowed to drop out!’ It’s exciting, but I’m also nervous because I’m setting the bar for everyone after me,” Shelby explains. “It’s showing them that you can struggle and make it. Even if you have problems, you can do it.”

Shelby’s long-term career plans are to finish the Law Clerk and Paralegal programs at Fleming College, use an education pathway to earn a degree at Ontario Tech University, go to Law School, work as a lawyer for 10 years and then apply to become a judge.

“Back in high school, I never would think to push myself. But after graduating with good marks and being Valedictorian, I might as well strive to be the best that I can be,” said Shelby.

Bowman Allen takes on World Firefighter Combat Challenge

Bowman Allen isn’t afraid of a challenge.

“Hard work is a choice and I’m not one to shy away from it, so I will be doing all I can for my future,” said Bowman, Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training.

The Fleming Fire Combat Team member is flying to Montgomery, Alabama for the World Firefighter Combat Challenge. From October 21 – 26, competitors will perform physically demanding tasks that simulate the demands of firefighters in emergency situations. This includes climbing a tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses, and rescuing a dummy that weighs 175 lbs.

“I’m looking for an experience I won’t easily forget,” said Bowman about the competition. “I’m hoping to qualify for the final day, and am excited to experience the American course, talk to the different firefighters and departments from around the world, and hope to see some familiar faces from the past season.”

Bowman has been training regularly since Nationals, with a focus on leg strength and endurance to conquer the tower portion of the race faster, and is prioritizing sleep, nutrition, and recovery.

He joined the Fleming Fire Combat Team in February, wanting to try a new sport, compete, and network with firefighters from across Canada.

“Being on the team has been a great experience, getting to know each member of the team and the coaching staff,” he said. “The season would not have been as incredible had it not been for my teammates and the experiences we all were able to share.”

He also enjoyed his experience in the Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training program, which is taught at the Eastern Ontario Emergency Training Academy (EOETA) in Norwood, Ont. The EOETA applied learning environment features a burn tower, roof props, door props, search and rescue maze, confined space prop and new high intensity propane training props.

“The fire grounds and equipment we have access to is awesome and the environment we have because of the facility makes it all that more real,” he said.

Bowman chose this program because he wanted a rewarding career where he could make a difference.

“I feel being able to serve my community, help others, and have a positive impact on life and safety as a firefighter is the most rewarding career I could ever have,” Bowman explains. “Being a real-life superhero for my children is also pretty amazing.”

Bowman is currently serving as a firefighter in Cavan Monaghan and hopes to convince more department members to get involved in the Firefighter Combat Challenge one day.

Fleming Fire Combat Team’s Declan Fitzpatrick set to compete in World Firefighter Combat Challenge

Fleming Fire Combat Team member Declan Fitzpatrick is heading to Montgomery, Alabama to compete in the World Firefighter Combat Challenge.

This intense competition demonstrates the firefighting profession’s rigors to the world. From October 21 to 26, competitors will perform physically demanding tasks that simulate the demands of firefighters in emergency situations. This includes climbing a tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses, and rescuing a dummy that weighs 175 lbs, while wearing firefighting gear.

“I joined the team because I wanted the challenge and the experience of FireFit. The career networking was a bonus,” said Declan, who took Fleming’s Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training program and joined the Fleming Fire Combat Team in February, 2019. “It has been a lot of fun training and competing this year; we had an incredible group of people on the team this year, competitors and coaches.”

Declan qualified for the World Firefighter Combat Challenge last month at the FireFit Worlds & Canadian National Championships in Oshawa. He achieved an incredible 1:24 in his first year competing in FireFit, making him the fastest new competitor in Canada and earning him the 2019 FireFit National Rookie of the Year award.

“Being Rookie of the Year is very rewarding and has made all the time and commitment put in that much more worth it,” said Declan, who has maintained his routine of home workouts and weekend training with the Fleming Fire Combat Team. “In Alabama, I am hoping to achieve a time of less than 1:40, which is the cut-off to get into the ‘Lion’s Den’, a prestigious ‘club’ that is very difficult to become a part of. Even if that doesn’t happen, I will still be thrilled to have taken part in the FireFit Worlds.”

Declan enrolled in Fleming’s Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training program because being a firefighter has always been his dream job.

“Being a firefighter has always appealed to me because it’s a challenging and very rewarding career that will allow me to do a lot of good for my community,” he said. “I have enjoyed my time at Fleming, both in the course and on the FireFit team. We had a great group of people in the course, as well as the instructors.”

Keeping strong cultural and spiritual ties is important to Fleming Grad Recruiter Rebekah Rego

Fleming College’s commitment to helping every student succeed is what makes it so special to Rebekah Rego.

“Everyone here is dedicated to your success,” explains Rebekah. “Faculty and staff strive to help and want to see you succeed!”

As an Anishinaabek student, success to Rebekah means maintaining her strong cultural and spiritual ties, which is why she connected with Indigenous Student Services.

Indigenous Student Services at Fleming aims to help students transition into college by providing support, information and resources, cultural programming, and by acting as a link to the college and wider community. It quickly became Rebekah’s favourite place on campus.

“Indigenous Student Services felt like my home away from home,” shared Rebekah. “Indigenous Student Services provided me support and a safe place to strive as an Anishinaabek student. Their services include Elder visits and a medicine room.”

She added that the staff are supportive and provide cultural programming that fits everyone’s schedule to ensure events and programming are easily accessible.

Rebekah graduated this June from the Social Service Worker program with the Indigenous Perspectives Designation. She thoroughly enjoyed her Fleming experience, including the Sutherland Campus, Fleming staff, academics and the extracurricular activities she was involved in.

“I felt like I was a part of the Fleming community,” said Rebekah. “I had such amazing and meaningful experiences during my time at Fleming.”

At Fleming College, Rebekah said she was able to learn valuable skills while developing herself as a professional.

“My program helped me prepare for the working world while I also learned how to give a voice to those who cannot, be involved in community events, organize a student club and have the responsibility of being on committees,” she said.

Rebekah feels so strongly about Fleming College that she is joining the Student Recruitment team this fall as a Fleming Grad Recruiter. Rebekah will be travelling across Ontario to share information about Fleming with prospective students.

“I am really looking forward to being able to share my enthusiasm for learning and my passion for Fleming so that other potential students can see the valuable opportunity Fleming presents for their future careers,” said Rebekah. “I cannot wait to meet students across the province and share my experiences and knowledge with them.”

OACYC provincial conference inspires Child and Youth Care student Denise Borg

Program coordinator Heather Sago (left) with Denise Borg

Child and Youth Care student Denise Borg loves to learn, which is why she signed up to attend the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care (OACYC) provincial conference.

“I felt like this would be a huge learning opportunity,” said the third-semester student. “I’d be able to introduce myself to people in the field and hear their stories, and learn a lot more about what career I’ve put myself into.”

Denise is one of 230 participants who attended the sold-out conference this June, which welcomed local, provincial, national and international speakers to Peterborough. Entitled “Weaving Perspectives: Challenging Ourselves and Others Through Storytelling and Narratives,” the three-day conference featured keynote speakers, panel presentations and interactive workshops that explored ways to enhance relational care practice, methods and models, and encouraged attendees to continue working towards excellence.

“One workshop moved me that I began to think of ways that me, as a student, could begin to make a change,” said Denise on the Working with young people experiencing death, loss or bereavement workshop. In that workshop, the group discussed that while there is a program for helping youth deal with the grief of losing a loved one, there is no program in place for new foster children dealing with the grief of losing the life they had been living before being placed in foster care. “The next workshop I attended was about influencing change in your organization [Influencing organized culture], and those two workshops together had the wheels turning in my head.”

Denise explains that when children are taken to a foster home, there is a “tiptoe period” where they try to behave, be good, and always do everything right so they can stay and not be moved. It is a huge life change, with new rules, a new home, and new people.

“I want to help foster kids deal with that form of grief,” she said. “Having someone to be there to work with that young person, to ask them if there’s anything you can do to make them more comfortable in this situation or happier, or any extracurriculars they want to do, or if they’re missing something from their culture that they want… just having someone there to support you with this, that is huge.”

From the ages of 11 to 16, Denise lived in foster care in her home province of Nova Scotia, bouncing from foster home to foster home before running away to move back with her mom.

“There was no one I could trust or talk to about being in care,” said Denise. “You’re taken away from your family and put in a stranger’s house. You don’t feel safe surrounded by strangers.”

When Denise read the description of Fleming’s CYC program, she felt inspired. “I thought, this is the person I needed in care. I wanted that, and I want to be that person,” she said. “I lived with addictions for four years of my life. When I saw I could work with young people who live with addictions, I thought ‘If I could work with foster kids who live with addictions or out of care with addictions that would be essential.’ If I had someone that I could have gone to and discussed my issues with, I don’t think I would’ve fallen down the path that I did.”

Denise said she reflected a lot about her past at the OACYC provincial conference and her experiences in foster care. One powerful moment Denise experienced during the conference was listening to Ziigwanbinesii Charles sing at the sunrise ceremony, opening ceremony and closing ceremony.

“My heart filled with so much love that I cried. It was so beautiful to hear her sing,” said Denise. “When I was in Nova Scotia, I was in a Mi’kmaq studies course and Ziig sang one of the songs my teacher sang to me when I was in school. It touched a part of my soul.”

She said the conference experience has also been beneficial in discovering more ways she can help others.

“I don’t think that I would have made the connections I did or that I would’ve thought about the grief that foster kids go through when they’re apprehended– and that there’s nothing in place for that,” she said. “It’s been beneficial, and I’ll take everything I learned and put towards my practise and next two years of school.”

Denise said she is enjoying her time in the CYC program at Fleming College and attributes it for her personal growth over the past year. She said the program’s inclusion of self reflection has helped her to move forward.

“I’ve had a lot of heart-to-heart moments with some of my professors and that makes the program that much more enticing,” said Denise. “You can tell Heather, Aurora, Cherylanne and Patricia really care, they are willing to meet you where you’re at– all of the teachers, really. My legislation teacher is the woman I inspire to be; Lisa Fenn inspires, has so much passion, she is my role model.”

Denise is excited to continue learning and developing skills for her career path. She said the OACYC conference confirmed that this is the right fit for her.

“Hearing other people’s outlooks and experiences put me in a spot where I need to do this. This is who I am meant to be,” she explained. “I feel it in my heart that I’m in the right place.”

A childhood in foster care inspires Andrew Chartren to make a difference through Child and Youth Care

Andrew Chartren did not have an idyllic childhood.

He remembers being placed in the foster care system, spending time with his father under supervised visits, feeling incredibly angry and acting out in school, and being grateful he and his brother were able to stay together.

“One time, my dad lost it. He yelled at the worker, ‘I don’t need you here, babysitting me with my kids!’” said Andrew, recalling an interaction between his dad – who had supervised visits for a period of time (and later unsupervised) – and a Child and Youth Care Worker. “It’s an invasion of privacy in a sense.”

Because of Andrew’s personal journey, he chose to become a Child and Youth Care Practitioner to support other families through this experience.

“I go up to the parent and I let them know ‘I’m here to support you. I’m not here to look over your shoulder, I am just here to keep you safe.’ I talk to them, I crack jokes, I make them comfortable,” said Andrew. “I’m more involved as a Child and Youth Care Worker than most of the service providers I had when I was in care. There is no awkward silence and I make it very relational, because the parents might think I’m judging them and I am not.”

Andrew, who was born premature with Cerebral palsy and spent months in care at Mount Sinai Hospital, was placed into foster care when he was eight years old. Andrew and his brother were able to stay together through foster care, which Andrew explains is uncommon and something he feels incredibly grateful for.

Although Andrew was obedient to his foster care family and behaved well at home in Warsaw, he felt a sizzling anger inside. “At home, I was good and listened, but at school I was bad. I had anger problems,” he explained. “I used to get made fun of, so I’d retaliate in anger; and sometimes I would just smack people around because I wanted to. People would ask my brother why I was so angry.”

As a speaker in the Children’s Aid Societies’ PRIDE program, Andrew says he tells new foster parents to expect their limits to be tested. He encourages foster parents to sit down with the child and reassure them, “I’m here for you. I know things are hard.”

Andrew does this because he strongly believes that a great support system can make a huge impact.

“Your support team will determine your progress,” he said. “If you have a great support team who want the best for you, you will do better.”

When Andrew left foster care at 18 years old, he went through a rebellious stage, but his support team got him through it. He credits his youth group at church for never giving up on him, and always speaking highly of him and saying kind words.

“Those were words of healing to me,” he shared. “Because of that, I was able to bounce back. I was able to look at myself and say, ‘Andrew, wake up man!’”

He signed up for Academic Upgrading to earn the English and math credits needed for post-secondary school and completed them when he was 23 years old. With a goal to work in the foster care system one day, Andrew enrolled in Fleming’s Child and Youth Care (CYC) program because the curriculum covers this field.

“I really like that the teachers came in with their own experience in the field. That was really encouraging to me,” he said. “These aren’t teachers who just read and talk about it and don’t actually have the work experience; these are teachers with real work experience in it. Everything my teachers said was accurate and I know it because I went through it.”

One learning experience that reminded Andrew of his past was preparing for supervised visits as a Child and Youth Care Practitioner. “I had to go through that and this class made me see that this program is real,” he said. “It is emotional, spiritual, intellectual… it is real to a person.”

Andrew recommends the CYC program to others, especially the Therapeutic Interventions courses that prepare students to help young persons work through real life issues, facilitating opportunities for change (“those three courses were a highlight. I’d recommend CYC just for that”).

Through the program, Andrew has developed notetaking and communication skills, learned theories from the field, and gained knowledge.

“I came in at an advantage with a lot of knowledge of the system already, but I feel like this program really added to my tool belt and is super beneficial. They did a good job,” he said.

Andrew graduated from Fleming College this June and is already employed full-time as a Child and Youth Care Practitioner working in the care system. His career goal is to work in family interventions to help reunite families, instead of placing children in care.

Andrew is still very close with his brother, visits his mom regularly, and said that his father passed away six years ago (but they were in contact before that). Andrew is happily married, a certified minister who leads a youth group, and his goal in life is to free others from their hurt.

“This career is important. We need CYCs in the foster system because children and youth need help and support,” said Andrew. “I want more people in this field. It’s super rewarding; it’s about caring for the lives of others and being selfless. It’s not about a pay cheque, it’s about making a difference.”