Like mother, like daughter.
Though still a relative newcomer to the profession, Okanagan College graduate Fawn Herrington is passionate about her work in the social services field, and now, so is her daughter.
Herrington graduated from the Human Service Work diploma in 2016. Witness to her mom’s career, Fawn’s daughter Jaden Lee is set to take the same two-year program this September.
“I felt so ill equipped and uneducated to deal with these challenges,” said Herrington, referring to the mountain of unanswered questions about health and social issues she was navigating with her own family in 2014. “My daughter and I spent many nights in deep discussion about how to best support her health and others her age. But I wanted to do more, learn more, be educated more and be the person and support an individual or youth could count on.”
The two-year program is available at the college’s Salmon Arm campus with an intake in the fall of 2021 in Vernon. The next cohort begins this September and registration is still open.
Herrington now works for the North Okanagan Shuswap Brain Injury Society as a life skills worker as well as a program coordinator for the Salmon Arm Stroke Recovery program. Both roles include facilitating community programs and education in the community.
Practicum hours in the program are set with local organizations and social service businesses, so students are directly connected to the people who could potentially facilitate a career for them.
Patti Thurston, executive director with the Shuswap Family Resource and Referral Society, said she’s seen a shift in the demand for services in the past decade, particularly in the field of mental health.
“The stigma in the younger generations around mental health has mostly been eliminated and anyone who is employed with the human sciences will be part of the most sought-after profession and need. People need skills on how to maneuver through life now more than ever, and the pandemic triples the need for people supporting people.”
“The timing of the September intake for Human Service Worker program is excellent,” said Dawn Dunlop, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Shuswap and Revelstoke. “The CMHA will be looking to graduates from programs like this to fill the positions we will have as a result of the new support living units being built in Salmon Arm.”
For more information on the Human Service Work diploma, visit the college website.