Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Douglas College Child and Youth Care student gives back

                                                                  David Denofreo Photo
Meredith Graham has faced many difficulties in life. She left home when she was a teenager, couch surfed, and graduated high school while living in a group home. She also has bipolar disorder.

But none of that has stopped her from pursuing her career and educational goals.

Meredith works as a youth and family development worker for a Burnaby non-profit and is studying in the Child and Youth Care program at Douglas College.

“Some days are brighter than others and it is an ongoing learning process for me to appreciate that my history does not determine how I must live my life,” she says.

“And it has all come full-circle. I now work in a group home I used to live in.”

Meredith says she was inspired to take the Child and Youth Care program because of the impact her former youth workers had in her life.

“My youth workers showed me that I was worthy of love and respect simply because I exist. They were huge instruments in my symphony of resiliency."

“When I listened to the voice inside me that told me I have something to offer kids like me, I decided to become a child and youth care counsellor. Douglas College was my first choice.”

Outside of school and her day job, Meredith is passionate about film, theatre, and writing.

She sees art as a therapeutic tool and uses spoken-word as a narrative to tell parts of her story and as a tool that allows her young clients to express themselves.

After Douglas, Meredith intends to pursue a doctorate in counselling psychology and one day combine her love of supporting people with her passion for theatre by opening a theatre therapy studio.

“It’s a relatively new therapeutic tool with incredible potential,” she says.

“I have a deep passion for theatre. It was my saving grace and my place of solace in my darkest times."

“To create a studio that would be a safe space for someone to embrace who they are, discover answers to their questions, find resolutions to their conflicts, and find the fire in their soul—that would be my dream.”

To learn more about the Child and Youth Care program, visit the Douglas College website.