By Justin Wilson, Wood’s Homes Communications Coordinator
Earlier this year, I got the chance to meet with Susan Ward, Supervisor of Wood’s Homes U12 and Crisis Stabilization Programs. Check out the below Q&A to hear what Susan had to say about her experience at Wood’s!
Q: What brought you to Wood’s Homes and how long have you been with us?
2016 marks my 13th year with Wood’s Homes. Truthfully, I came because I needed a job. I quickly realized that I loved the people, both the staff and the kids I was working with. There was such a sense of community and belonging that I decided to hang my hat here for the long-term.
Q: What keeps you here?
The relationships, 100%. I don’t even know if I could prioritize the ones that are most important to me. Some days, you can have moments with these kids that just put everything in perspective, humble you and make you feel grateful. You forget that these kids are creatures of their environment and what they’ve been exposed to; they’re still lovely, adorable, hilarious human beings. Some days, it’s the relationships with the adults and staff who go the extra mile to go above and beyond for these kids. Other days, it’s the people above me who keep me moving towards a greater good when I might feel a bit bogged down.
Q: What do you think we, as an organization, do well?
We don’t limit ourselves. When faced with a difficult kid or complex situation, we ask, “Is there a reason we can’t do this?” We don’t look at barriers; instead, we look past them and break them down to get where we need to be.
Q: Are there any issues around children and youth you’d like to see us paying more attention to?
Yes, Autism and Asperger’s. When you get to certain degrees on the spectrum, there’s often not enough resources available. I would love to see what we could do if Wood’s Homes were to get into that branch of services.
Q: What is your biggest wish for Wood’s Homes?
I find myself constantly worrying about the changing political climate. We’ve stuck to our guns for over 100 years and it’s worked, but the question is around how we adapt our mantra to work year after year. I think my greatest hope is that we don’t lose sight of what’s kept us going for so long, even though things are changing so drastically around us.
Q: Do you have anything you want people to know about Wood’s Homes?
I think it’s a testament when you look at the number of people who’ve been with our organization for a very long time. Almost every upper-level supervisor, manager or director here started with Wood’s Homes on the frontlines, either as a student, entry-level youth & family counsellor or something similar.
A certain kind of person dedicates themselves to the children and youth who come through our doors. It takes a special mixture of compassion and tenacity grounded in a belief for a better future. To learn more about the passionate people who define our organization, check out our 2015-2016 Annual Report.
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family and community – let’s work together!