Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies
Degree: Social Service Worker
Year of graduation: 2010
During his 15 years as an actor, Elio Campbell worked with some of the most famous people in Hollywood. Denzel Washington and Jon Voight are among the stars he teamed up with on films and television shows that included Hurricane Carter, John Q, Jasper Texas and Soul Food. Today, Elio supports some of the community’s most vulnerable members as a social worker for the Peel Children’s Aid Society.
Although he enjoyed his career in the entertainment industry, Elio felt compelled to leave the profession in 2007 and follow his passion for social justice issues. “The vast majority of youth simply do not receive the help they need,” says Elio, who was born in Clarendon, Jamaica. Raised in Toronto, he chose Sheridan as the ideal training ground to build a new career in community services. He has since gone on to earn his BA in Social Work from York University in 2012 to widen his job opportunities.
In addition to his role at the Children’s Aid Society which he joined following graduation, Elio is the Program Supervisor for Alliance Youth Services (AYS) in Mississauga. Among its many services are 24/7, one-on-one or two-on-one support for clients with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as counseling and life skills training.
One of the biggest challenges facing youth and families in crisis is accessing the services they need to thrive, says Elio. “Sometimes the clients do not meet the program requirements associated with their difficulties and if they do, there is a long waiting period to receive assistance.”
The dearth of funding for services often means that community service jobs, although very satisfying, can be scarce and quite demanding, adds Elio. But he falls back on his Sheridan training to handle stress. “I remember my gifted professor, Nicole Johnson, who taught us that self-care is vital in our field, and I use her techniques to combat burnout.”
Despite its challenges, Elio is energized by his work. “The journey may be long, but seeing the positive change in the lives of each client in our care remains very rewarding.”
Elio is a member of Sheridan’s Social Service Worker Program Advisory Committee. Learn more about the Social Service Worker Program.