The social workers of Wood’s Homes

By Kathleen Rhodes, Wood’s Homes Program Manager

Personally, I believe I am a very lucky person, because I am absolutely and positively head-over-heels for both my job and profession.

Indeed, if I were to meet you for the first time at a dinner party and you asked me, “What do you do?”, I would mount my soap box and give you a passionate 20-minute speech about Wood’s Homes, children’s mental health, and what extraordinary people our kids, young adults and families are.

When asked that question, I typically start the conversation by saying, “I work at Wood’s Homes”, “I’m a manager” or “I work in mental health”; however, despite my profession being social work, I rarely open with, “I’m a social worker.” I find this a bit strange, considering the large and important role social work plays in the success of Wood’s Homes, which is why I’d like to share a bit more information with you about social work at Wood’s Homes.

At this very moment, there are 56 social workers employed at Wood’s Homes:

  • Management – 6
  • Research Department – 1
  • Clinicians – 11
  • Crisis Counsellors – 3
  • Youth and Family Counsellors – 19
  • Family Support Counsellors – 10
  • School Support Counsellors – 6

The intertwining legacies of social work and Wood’s Homes date back nearly a century. In 1914, Reverend Wood started what would become Wood’s Homes by saying ‘yes’ to taking in the motherless children of a soldier going off to war. In time, he married Annie Wood, a social worker, who helped him run the orphanage they founded. When Reverend Wood passed away in 1928, ‘Mother Annie Wood’ took leadership and directed the orphanage for another 11 years. For reference, when Annie Wood began leading the organization, it was almost a year before the historic ‘Persons Case’ led by the Famous Five.

You can read the full story of Wood’s Homes history here.

I’m a social worker, which means my practice is interdisciplinary, holistic and outwards-facing. It means I pay attention to people, systems and relationships, and that I’m absolutely and positively head-over-heels for stories. So, with today falling within the last couple of days of National Social Work Month, it makes sense to think, not only about who social workers are, but also how we got here.

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Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family and community – let’s work together!

If you are experiencing a crisis and need to speak to someone, please call our counsellors at our 24/7 Crisis Counselling Line: 403-299-9699 or toll-free line: 1-800-563-6106.


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