“Originally, I took the program for my own personal growth and to move forward in life. I wanted to understand all the things I’d been through… But during my time at Stenberg I grew so much more than I ever thought I would.”
These are the words of Marcus Gagné, a graduate of Stenberg College’s Community Mental Health and Addictions Worker (CMHAW) program. This 60-week program allows students to look deep within themselves and learn how to turn their caring, compassion and empathy into hard skills, which can help some of our most vulnerable populations.
Helping those who need it
It’s hard not to notice the abundance of homelessness in the Lower Mainland. Whether you’ve taken a stroll through the Downtown East Side, enjoyed the music from buskers or visited a soup kitchen, it’s evident that thousands of people live without a roof over their head every day – 2,181 people to be exact (vancouver.ca).
These are the vulnerable people Stenberg CMHAW grads support. These are the vulnerable people Marcus fights for every day with the passion of someone who truly understands their experiences. Marcus has faced more adversity and endured more trauma than most individuals know in a lifetime. He suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse as he navigated growing up and the foster care system. Many didn’t expect him to be where he is today. But instead of thinking “Life’s not fair,” Marcus thought of solutions. He tells the story better than we do, so check out his video below.
Like Marcus, many of our grads work in the Downtown East Side. As Harm Reduction Workers, staff at supervised injection sites, shelters, and on housing projects, CMHAW grads make a real difference in the lives of those who need a hand up.
Though many people in this career come from some form of lived experience, anyone who is understanding and empathetic can also excel as a Mental Health and Addictions Worker. This program gives individuals who care the power and skillset to turn their passion into action.
“I find myself overwhelmed by choice, choices that I didn’t think I had a few years back. I know today that no dream is too big, no step too small. I can be anything and go anywhere if I set my mind to it.”