I started working as an integration support worker with the PRIYD (Providing Resources and Independence for Youth Development) program at Family Services of Greater Vancouver in March 2015. Since then, I have had the opportunity to support children and youth with developmental disabilities.
My main responsibility has been to support youth in developing life skills such as emotional regulation, money skills, and transit skills. I also help them become more familiar with the lower mainland by going to places like Stanley Park, UBC, Queen Elizabeth Park, and community centres.
Part of my role as an integration support worker is to provide opportunities to children and youth confronting multiple barriers in accessing fun recreational activities. Some of the activities I have done with youth include swimming, hiking, and cycling. We have even gone snowshoeing on Mount Seymour and explored Grouse Mountain. I have also engaged youth in self-esteem and self-confidence wilderness activities such as hiking to Dog Mountain in North Vancouver.
There are so many rewarding aspects to working with the youth in the PRIYD program—like when I discover strengths in youth such as a high level of athletic ability or some kind of specialized knowledge. I also find a lot of joy in watching youth master life skills or develop social skills through bonding in a group setting.
However, the greatest gift I am presented with as an integration support worker is the relationships I have been able to establish with clients, families, and co-workers. I often reflect on how lucky I am to be employed in a position that provides me with a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
Are you looking for a meaningful and rewarding career working with youth? Read our top tips on breaking into the human services field or email your resume and cover letter to Jacqueline Young (Program Assistant for FSGV’s PRIYD program) at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out current job listings here.