I’m an Administrative Assistant, not a Doctor Jim!

Wood's Homes, staff, non-clincal

By Melonie Bonnell, Wood’s Homes Administrative Assistant

Fans of Star Trek: The Original Series will remember that clever catch phrase Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy used to continuously remind his shipmates and dear Captain that he was a Doctor and not an engineer, bricklayer, mechanic and yes, even an elevator. But one thing was certain, no matter the task he was there to help and get things done, save the day, etc. all so they could continue to explore the final frontier for another day.

While Wood’s Homes doesn’t search the galaxy in the U.S.S. Enterprise with aliens and futuristic technology, we do seek out new life and new civilizations by ways of instilling new life into youths and their families through our numerous programs. Being an administrative assistant in a world doctors, nurses and counsellors, I find myself reflecting upon what it is like working for Wood’s Homes in a non-clinical capacity. I have no medical background or training aside from my CPR and come from working in the oil and gas industry, but yet, here I am; always willing to be there and pull up my britches to help those around me.

I’m still relatively new to Wood’s Homes, but in my short time here I am humbled at the organization I am now a part of and what we as a whole do for those in need around us. Recently other new to Wood’s Homes employees and I took a tour of both the Parkdale and Bowness Centre’s. We were shown the Cottages, the Sensory Room including the Magic Room, the new Whole Family Treatment Centre and the Annie Wood building. We were educated by the staff showing us around what the programs do and how they provide for the clients and their families that come in to our care. It was a fantastic experience and I feel we received a deeper understanding of the clinical side of our programs.

Like me, these co-workers I toured with are also in non-clinical roles with Wood’s Homes, so I asked some of them, “What do you do in your role that you feel adds value to support the organization?” Here is what they had to say:

Justin Wilson, Communications Coordinator – My role at Wood’s is unique in that I actually do have a background that leans more toward the clinical side. Prior to my move into the world of communications, which included the pursuit of my communications degree from Mount Royal University, I worked as a youth and family counsellor for almost six years for another organization. I think this understanding of the more hands-on, clinical side has definitely helped me work with Wood’s Homes managers, directors and team leaders to help develop effective communication plans for a number of our 35+ programs.

A large part of my day-to-day at Wood’s is the development of brochures, pamphlets, invitations and advertisements that convey key messages or program information to the community or those who might require our services. There is a lot of information gathering and collaboration between myself, my team and Wood’s Homes staff, as well as some creative thinking as I try to give each design a bit of its own unique flair. For example, designing a pamphlet targeting youth attending our learning centres is going to need a very different feel than an advertisement targeting potential foster parents.
Wood’s Homes scope of services means that I always have something new to develop to ensure that the details of our various services find individuals who might need them. If one set of eyes glosses over our advertisements for our Eastside Family Centre, and in turn helps them find the help they need, I’d be pretty happy about that.

Lindsay Bear, Online Engagement Coordinator – I take pride in being able to tell the Wood’s Homes ‘story’ through our social media channels, blog and website. By telling stories about past and current clients, our unique and nationally-recognized programs, our dedicated team, and incredible history, we are able to demonstrate the purpose behind our work – and inspire others to become a part of it. Though our online communication channels, I hope to encourage those in need to seek help and encourage others to become a part of our wonderful organization, whether that is as a donor, supporter, volunteer or employee.

Jaclyn Whitelock, Foundation Assistant – One thing that I do that adds value to Wood’s would be processing donations. It’s awesome to see donations come in from so many different people and groups, and it’s especially heartwarming to be able to see donor’s histories- there are people who donate hundreds of dollars a month as individuals alone in some form or another.

Shandra Reynard, Events and Fund Development Coordinator – Every week, the majority of my days consist of coordinating logistics for our major fundraising events including maintaining communication with committee members, sponsors and donors. Although I do not work directly with the children and families I feel that I’m supporting the organization and the cause by using my skill set and what I do best – event logistics. I’ve always loved planning events but it definitely is much more rewarding when I know the funds being raised are helping the children and families of Wood’s Homes.

As for myself I’m the Administrative Assistant to Directors Susan Gardiner and Dean Soenen. I help pull together and format various reports and proposals, take minutes for the Committees each Director is a part of and I’m also one of the first points of contact for the release of information requests. Providing quality information through these networks show how dedicated we are to our clients and help spread our organization’s name, potentially directing future clients to our numerous services through word of mouth.

So as much as we are Assistants, Online Engagement, Communications and even Events and Fund Development Coordinators, we all play pivotal roles. It takes our whole crew, clinical and non-clinical alike, following the “Prime Directive” of Wood’s Homes to boldly go out and make a difference. Let’s all aim to help Wood’s Homes live long and prosper.

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