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Alumni Profiles

Tara Briand

Tara Briand

Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies
Year of Graduation: 2004
Program: Social Service Worker

Finding a Job She Loves Everyday

I graduated as a Sheridan Scholar from the Social Service Worker program in 2004.

I came to this school as a mature student—25 at the time—and fell in love with this program. I had always known that helping others is where I needed and wanted to be and after much research and consideration, I found Sheridan.

Coming from Montreal after 23 years, trying to research new programs and schools was quite a task. I was determined to find a program that had everything that I was looking for: great courses, dedicated teachers, interesting curriculum, hands on experience—the works. I found it in the Social Service Worker program. I was able to gain the valuable skills and tools needed to succeed and then given the ability to demonstrate and execute them in a practical setting.

Over my 2-year experience, I was placed at Mary Ellis House, which was a residential facility for drug- and alcohol-addicted woman, I found it very enlightening to see and share stories with these powerful and dedicated woman, staff and clients alike. I found myself wanting more and always asking questions and getting feedback from staff who were always eager to help and allow me to learn at my own pace.

During my second year, and where I spent eight months of my practicum was where I found my niche, residential supportive housing for youth aged 16 to 21. The “My Place” program, run by ROCK (Reach Out Center for Kids) o/a Halton Child and Youth Services, was incredible and I gained hands-on experience with so many areas of Social Services. I was able to advocate for residents who were needing help, develop and establish rapport with those residing in the facility, run activities, learn administrative tasks and develop a knowledge of varied social service agencies and organizations that would come into play on a daily basis. At “My Place” I was learning and loving the experience that I was getting. My supervisor Catherine Howson was an incredible motivator, teacher, mentor and future colleague. The entire staff was always supportive of my role as student and helped me in any way that I needed. I could turn to anyone for support and guidance.

A year after I graduated, I received a call from the “My Place” program manager-Linda Veitch (who is also a Sheridan field practicum teacher and supervisor) and she offered me a part-time position. I have been a part of the “My Place” team since 2004 and have been employed there since 2005. I am now a full-time Child and Youth Worker and love my career. I get to do what I love every single day and I thank my lucky stars that I found Sheridan and this fantastic program.

Since becoming a full-time staff member, I have had the opportunity this last semester to become a practicum supervisor for a second year Sheridan student and hopefully pass on to her, the knowledge, skills and attitudes that I have developed in my last few years of experience. I wanted to share with her the heart and soul of what it means to truly be an active member in the helping field and hope that I have inspired her to see how our communities need those who love this field. It is because of this love and passion that I have also joined the PAC (Program Advisory Committee) for the SSW program and sit as an active member. I am hoping to continue to work and give feedback on the progress of the program in order to allow those that will follow in its footsteps, the ability to have the same great experience as I did.

My hope for future graduates is that you take from this program all that you can gain and use it to establish a career in a field that will show you so much love from those that you serve, you will experience nothing like it. When you wake up everyday and love what you do, you will realize what I mean. The world needs dedicated, supportive, caring people who want nothing more than to help another fellow child, youth, adult or elder be safe, happy and free of ignorance, pain and suffering. We cannot cure every ailment but we can help those that are in need feel appreciated and worthy and shed light on how to gain access to services. Be a part of the helping field because you truly care about the human condition and all its glory and heartache.

Thank you to all who inspired me and encouraged me along the way. I would like to thank Carlene Mackenzie who believed in me and nominated me for the Halton Excellence in Field Practicum Award, which was awarded to me at graduation and for Asta Dvorak who made her course just tough enough to test our abilities to their fullest and to Mario Romano, who was always a skilled teacher and program advisor with whom I now get to sit on the Program Advisory Committee. Last but not least, I would like to thank Sheridan, for giving me the opportunity to spread my wings and sending me on an incredible journey that will take me to places beyond my dreams.

Current Occupation: Child and Youth Worker, The “My Place” Program

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