Manager, Youth Probation
Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
Why did you decide to be a Social Worker?
After I got my BA I started to work as a Youth Probation Officer and I really liked helping people. While doing an internship with an agency providing counselling to kids who had experienced sexual abuse, my clinical supervisor suggested I get a social work degree. I am so glad I did!
Can you tell us about your social work journey and how it has led you to your current position?
I have worked for the Ontario Government in Youth Justice for the last 30 years. Although not officially in the position of Social Worker, I have used many of the skills necessary to be an effective Social Worker. In the last 5 years I have been involved the addressing the domestic violence problem in our community. I facilitate a group twice a week in the Peel area for men charged with domestic violence. This really challenges me to deploy all the skills I have learned as a Social Worker—I love this work.
Where do you work, what’s your job title, and can you provide a little information about what a typical work week is like for you?
- Manager, Youth Probation: Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. I am in charge of all youth in the Peel and Dufferin region who come in contact with the law.
- Instructor, Centennial College: Social Service Worker Program. I have taught part-time at Centennial college for the last 20 years. In-class instructor for several courses including: group dynamics, counselling skills, Youth Culture and the Law.
- Group Facilitator: Partner Abuse Response— Catholic Family Services of Peel/Dufferin. Weekly group facilitation of an educational group for men charges with domestic violence.
Can you tell me about your current position and what you love and what are some of the challenges?
I love all the work I presently do. I have been able to gain the necessary experience to get to the positions of authority I currently have. I am constantly challenged with non-voluntary clients who test me to be the best Social Worker possible. The biggest challenge I have right now is how to prioritize all the opportunities that come my way as a male Social Worker with experience working with high-risk, challenging clients.
Why did you choose to be on the Alumni Committee and what do you like best about it?
I miss being at York and also felt like I am at a place in my life/career where I can share my experiences with new Social Workers. My career has taught me that the work of a Social Worker is misunderstood often and is so vital to many organizations.
What’s the career highlight you’re most proud of?
I have been teaching at the College level for 20 years and I have tried to inspire students to enter the helping profession. I have a former student who is finishing her second year at York in the S/W program and she attributes her career path to the seed I planted. Very rewarding.
What advice would you give to new social worker graduates?
Be flexible and say YES when opportunities present themselves. We often get too caught up in our head and hesitate when we should say yes and walk into our fears.
What energizes you about your career?
I love planting seeds of change in people/clients. When I see that the seeds I plant grow and I can help someone on their journey of change it really energizes me to keep going.