With the weather finally warming up, April has indeed arrived and with it so has the crunch time for final exams, final papers, and sadly, my final days at the Family Care Office.
Last year I became familiar with the work of the FCO when I researched and wrote an article about the unique services offered through the office and the great work it does for families all over campus. Immediately I knew I wanted to get involved. Family has always been extremely important to me and my coursework in Women and Gender Studies had shown me the difficulties some families face when it comes to education/work and family support. I knew I wanted to do anything I could to support my university community and their families as I believe a work/family-life balance is essential to well-being and academic success.
I started volunteering shortly after learning about the office and was later offered the position of Workshop Coordinator. Throughout my time in this position I have planned and organized, facilitated and attended more than 25 workshops and events and have met more than 400 students, staff and faculty while doing so. The people I’ve met and the information I learned and shared have opened my eyes to the struggles, successes, hardships and rewards of having a family and has reiterated my passion in working with families as I move into my future.
Coming to the University of Toronto from a smaller town, it was a pleasure to come into the office each week and feel that sense of community and see those familiar, smiling faces of students, staff and faculty, their children, the office staff and other student workers. It was a meaningful break from the stresses of student life and allowed me to remind myself of what all the hard work I am doing as a student is preparing me for. Getting to communicate with guest presenters, students, staff and faculty and networking through the university community allowed me to develop my interpersonal and communication skills and every time I met a mother or father, daughter or son who benefited from our workshops that sense of community continued to grow.
As I leave my position at the Family Care Office, I move forward in my education in Communications and look forward to working in the Not-for-Profit sector where I can continue to make an impact on the lives of those around me, and offer guidance to those who need it. I appreciate all that I have learned in this position as I have gained confidence in my ability to implement and execute workshops/events and I can only hope that those who attend such events in the future are as warm and welcoming as the people I have met through my experiences here.
Thank you all for spending the year with me, and to everyone who attended an event or workshop this year: I want to wish everyone good luck as they move forward whether they are starting a family, toilet training a toddler, dealing with sleep issues, figuring out their relationships after kids, balancing their career with family, or planning for elder care. Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey.