In May, I was informed of a potential job with the Neil Squire Society (new window), working as a summer student under Chad Leaman. I am currently attending Simon Fraser University (new window), with the hopes of becoming a teacher in the future, and was looking for something to build my experience working with people. I had been working in the restaurant and hospitality industry since I was 15 and was ready for something new. I didn’t know exactly what to expect though, and I was nervous at the thought of something outside my comfort zone. However, I am so glad I took the chance I did and spent the last 3 months working here. Working with Chad, I was focused mainly on the Distance Computer Comfort pilot program and was shown the ropes, as well as introduced to new clients and technology I had never seen before. I have seen clients come and go, some completing their goals and moving forward into careers, others dropping off due to medical circumstances or other personal factors. It has been an eye-opener and I found myself naturally drawn to the driving motivations behind the Neil Squire Society (new window). It is hard to not find yourself inspired by and proud of such an organization.
There are two clients I worked with pretty much my entire stint here over the summer. Christine and Wayne are two incredible individuals I can honestly say I am better for meeting and having these two in my life. I have spent numerous hours with them, laughing and chatting, dealing with frustrations, learning new things, and genuinely enjoying each other. Christine’s zest for life and learning refreshes me and served as a constant reminder of why I am pursuing the career path that I am. Her appreciation for learning new skills on the computer, while seemingly simple to so many, was so incredibly rewarding.
Similarly, I can not say enough about Wayne and what an outstanding person I feel that he is. Wayne’s main goals were easy ones for me to teach: how to send and receive e-mails, navigate through the Windows (new window) systems, and use Facebook (new window), to name a few. Having a teenage daughter, not only was he curious to learn these things himself, but wanted to be able to help his daughter with her computer usage, as well as give them something to bond over and understand together. Not only did we accomplish these goals, but took from our lessons so much more than what I had anticipated. Wayne has taught me so much about caring, patience, understanding, and acceptance. He has shared with me his knowledge of Aboriginal traditions and beliefs – something I would never have had a chance to learn had it not been for him.
Looking back at this summer, it’s bittersweet to be wrapping up my work with Wayne and Christine, as I feel like there’s been so many ups and downs worked through together. However, I know I am leaving here with a smile on my face, some great experience, and can’t wait to see them succeed in their future endeavors.