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Alumni Profiles

Vera Orsini

Vera Orsini

Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies
Year of Graduation: 2010
Program: Social Service Worker - Gerontology

More than Just a Job

Choosing to go back to college after having a family isn’t the easiest decision to make. But sticking with your studies while dealing with an ill husband and a young daughter is admirable. Vera Orsini’s decision to take on this challenge showed her exactly what she was made of.

“I had a lot of determination and motivation to achieve my full potential while juggling everything,” says Vera. “I didn’t do too badly, I think.”

About a week before Vera started at Sheridan, her husband, Martin, who has diabetes, was hospitalized. Later, while she was in school, he had to have a quintuple bypass. Vera’s husband was put in the ICU three times.

“I have the strength to get through this,” Vera told herself. And she did. Through all of it, she was able to complete her coursework, graduating in 2010. “I’ve always wanted to go into this field,” says Vera, partly because she dislikes desk jobs.

Before attending Sheridan, Vera worked in social services administration. She chose the Social Service Worker – Gerontology program because she wanted the direct contact with clients that her colleagues experienced.

“When you see a client smile or even a worker smile, it makes you feel like you did something worthwhile,” she says. “It’s not just a job anymore. It’s something that makes you want to get up in the morning. I enjoy what I do.”

Vera works with the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) in the Community Support Services Department in Peel. Her official job title is Volunteer Visiting Mental Health Co-ordinator. She’s in charge of co-ordinating three programs, including the Adult Day program for seniors living with mental health issues, the Volunteer Visiting Mental Health program and the Volunteer Visiting program, which she organizes with another coordinator.

Vera, who is completing her second contract with VON, says working with the organization has been amazing.

“No one ever likes the paperwork, but what is memorable for me is interacting with each client,” she says. “I am honoured to hear the individual stories. Some make you smile, some make your heart hurt. It’s different each time.”

Vera urges other new grads not to shy away from casual work. "That's how I started," she says. "It's scary - especially when you have bills to pay and mouths to feed. But I am getting excellent experience because of these contracts that will help me as I continue to apply for jobs." She adds, "Contracts can also help you to realize whether you like a job or company."

In the meantime, Vera enjoys her work and caring for her family. Martin pulled through and is now learning Braille because he is losing his eyesight as a complication of his diabetes. The couple lives in Georgetown with their daughter, Jessica, who is now 10.