My name is Sierra, and I am in my third year of the Child and Youth Care program at Fanshawe College. I was first intrigued about the field when I met a Social Worker named Garth. I struggled a lot with mental health while in high school. I started missing school, I started failing my classes, getting into alcohol and drugs as a way to cope with my struggling. I was at a loss of what to do until I met him. I found out about a group he ran every Wednesday. It was called ‘Restorative Justice Circle.’ In this, we talked about our daily struggles and our highs. This showed me that I wasn’t the only one going through these problems. Hearing other people's highs and lows really introduced me to the world of mental health. It showed me that it went beyond of what I was going through. We helped each other, we gave advice where we could. If I never went to that group, if I didn’t meet Garth, I would not be where I am today. I would have never finished high school and gotten to post-secondary. He helped me through it every step of the way. He inspired me to help others with their mental health like he did for me.
Throughout my three years of school, I’ve learned a lot about mental health, and learning about it has just made me more eager about wanting to make a difference and be an advocate. The Child and Youth Care program focuses on working with children and youth and helping them overcome their barriers, and being a support for them. Helping them cope with their struggles, which I feel is necessary these days because the mental health area has definitely become more of a high-need over the years. I’ve realized that more people are becoming aware, being more supportive, being more open to talk about the topic.
Since my first year of the program, my goal has been to find my calling, to find out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life after these three years. Throughout my three placements, i’ve been looking for an agency that will expand my knowledge on mental health, and an agency who are strong advocates for mental health. I believe I have found that here at mindyourmind. They work with youth, for youth, to help and support them with their mental health. Mindyourmind inspires me to continue to learn and continue to work within this area.
As my three years come to an end an April, i’m terrified. I’m so used to telling people that anxiety is normal and that being in panic is okay. I think it’s harder to tell myself that. I have no idea on where i’m going to go in my life. These three years have felt like they just flew by. I wish I appreciated it more. I remember how care-free I was in first year. I spent my time getting familiar with the school, trying to make friends, and have the ‘college experience’. It’s a bittersweet feeling looking back on my experience, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My time in class, and experiencing different milieus within the CYC field has been the best time of my life. I’m nervous as heck thinking about what the future holds for me but I couldn’t be more ready to explore the CYC and mental health world.