Wednesday, December 22, 2010

40 after 40: Jerome Bouvier

Then:

At a young age Jerome Bouvier was introduced to the fast life of horseracing by his father. After Grade 11 Jerome left home and raced horses all around North America, a lifestyle that invited opportunity for choices that were “not the best.” In his early 20s he was in a drug-related waterskiing accident that left him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. But even after his injury he continued to race horses and play hard.

Over the next few years, however, he began to reassess things. The pivotal moment for Jerome came when he was talking to two teenagers in Delaware, who had seen him on TV and had come from New York to meet him.

“They willingly shared the struggles in their own lives," Jerome remembers. "And as they were leaving, one turned and said, ‘You need to be doing something else with your life.’ It was in the coming months that I chose to live a different way.”

Jerome became interested in working with at-risk youth, especially those affected with substance misuse. He was told about Douglas College and its Child and Youth Care Program, and his new journey began.

Now:

After receiving his Child and Youth Care Counsellor diploma in 1996, Jerome eventually earned his Masters in Leadership from the University of Royal Roads – the first member of his family to get a degree.

Jerome is now an instructor in the Faculty of Child, Family and Community Studies at Douglas. He is also executive director of PoCoMo Youth Services Society, an award-winning not-for-profit that provides outreach support and services to at-risk youth. At PoCoMo he created Project Reach Out, the first mobile drop-in centre and outreach program in Canada. He is also a motivational speaker and creator of the Hero’s Journey Programs, offering presentations, workshops, keynotes, and consulting.

“How I got here is still a blur,” he says. “It started out with a passion for helping and evolved into where I am today. I followed my passion, pursued my academics, worked and thought out of the box, and accessed the many mentors in my life.

“I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to contribute to the world in the way I have. I have learned so much from those I have met along my journey.”

40 after 40 is a series showcasing our amazing grads and employees in celebration of our 40th anniversary. Check back every Wednesday and Friday for another inspiring story. See more about our 40th on our Anniversary page.