Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Community Involvement is Key to Addictions Counselling Students’ Future Success

Addictions Counselling

Year-round participation in community and fundraising events is a key component of CTS’ Addictions Intervention Counselling program.

It may sound like a cliché, but when Stefani Hayes-Adams says, “The more that you give, the more you get back,” she really means it.

Hayes-Adams is the program coordinator for CTS Canadian Career College’s Addictions Intervention Counselling (AIC) and Community Service Worker (CSW) programs at the school’s Barrie campus. She’s currently getting her students ready for the Paper Bag Christmas Fundraising Drive, which gets underway on Monday, November 12th. The project encourages all students to fill a paper bag with $5-$10 worth of necessary items for the David Busby Street Centre in Barrie. Toiletries, gift cards, warm winter clothing items such as scarves, toques and mittens are among the most requested items.

The Paper Bag initiative comes on the heels of the program’s participation in the Holiday Hamper Project, in which students held a clothing rummage sale to raise funds for the Samaritan House in Barrie—a project that has raised, to date, over $9,000. Money raised through the Holiday Hamper Project allows the AIC students to buy gifts for children who are affected by mental health and addiction.

For the AIC students at CTS Canadian Career College, the holidays are a great time to rally for a cause, but involvement in community events and fundraisers isn’t just a seasonal thing. Year-round participation in projects that affect the community, says Hayes-Adams, is invaluable to the students in both programs.

“Community involvement is the key to success in both the Addictions Intervention Counselling and the Community Service Worker programs,” she says. “Many students will tell you that there are no jobs in the field but the truth is, there are jobs—especially for students who make an effort and invest time in putting their name out into the community.

“Students who participate in these projects are able to network,” continues Hayes-Adams, “which in the past has led to student placements and even employment.  That’s why I always encourage my students to volunteer from the day that they sign up. The more a student is involved with the community, the better chance they have to secure employment after they complete their program. Success comes to those who put themselves out there.  The more you give, the more you get back.”

Students volunteer throughout the year with such organizations as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Alcoholics Anonymous, Youth Haven, the Elizabeth Fry Society and Barrie’s Needle Exchange program. Hayes-Adams believes that exposure to, and involvement in, these organizations gives students a better understanding of their profession and the people they’ll be helping.

But above all, Hayes-Adams believes in the AIC program at CTS Canadian Career College.

“It’s a colourful, hands-on program that involves the community as a part of its integrated educational process,” she says. “It provides pivotal opportunities for students and openly welcomes people from all levels of life with an intimate, mature learning experience. We’ve had invaluable guest speakers and have creative and challenging projects that simulate the kinds of experiences students will encounter after they graduate.”

Although the AIC program’s Paper Bag Christmas Fundraising Drive is a student-driven, student-focused project, everyone is welcome to participate. If you’re in the Barrie region and would like to contribute, simply fill a decorated paper bag with $5 to $10 worth of items, indicating the age group and gender for which the enclosed items are intended. Items most requested for donation are deodorant, toilet paper, hand moisturizer, soap, shampoo, scarves, mittens and other necessities. Pet food donations are also being accepted this year for the Pet Program. All bags can be dropped off at the CTS Canadian Career College campus at 546 Byrne Drive. The fundraising drive runs until December 23rd.

Colleges mentioned: CTS Canadian Career College

Linda Galeazzi
Author: Linda Galeazzi
Linda Galeazzi has been an online writer and proof reader for several years.
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