Degree: Child & Youth Worker
Year of graduation: 2014
Alyssa Chermaz is a 2014 alumna who now works at Arrabon House, a Toronto facility that offers supportive house and counselling services to young women. Here, she reflects on how Sheridan launched her career.
Q: How long have you been working professionally?
A: I started working at Arrabon House in March 2013. Arrabon was actually my first placement while I was in the Child & Youth Worker program. I got hired as a relief residential counsellor right after I completed my placement hours, and eventually moved my way up to full time.
Q: What would you say is your biggest achievement in your career so far?
A: My biggest achievement in my career to date is probably continuing my education. I obtained my degree in Family and Community Social Services and a Social Service Work diploma from the University of Guelph Humber while working full time. I also recently applied to the Master's of Social Work program for the University of Toronto. I had always planned to teach one day and I was inspired by the Professors at Sheridan to do so. I made a plan for myself when I was completing the CYC program, and thus far I'm still on track.
Q: While you were at Sheridan, were there any particular professors that influenced you?
A: Definitely Theresa Fraser. She made our learning come to life. She inspired us with each lecture. She made us feel both sides: the worker and the client, which made us better child and youth workers. Every lecture I walked into I knew it was going to be something good, like participating in drum circles, or playing with dolls and action figures to learn about play therapy. She taught us that learning is not a linear process and that sometimes we need to change our thought process to thoroughly understand the clients and situations we would be working with.
Q: What is a part of your job that might be surprising to a new graduate?A: I would have to say some of the history of the clients. Some of the stories that I've heard, nothing in school could have prepared me for. Also, the way the Ministry of Child and Youth Services works and how much it impacts the way that agencies are run.