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January 7, 2009 at the Wilna Thomas Cultural Centre, Lansdowne Campus

Mayor Dean Fortin speaking to Human Services' students.There was a buzz of excited anticipation in the packed room as nearly 100 Human Services students waited for the arrival of guest speaker, Mayor Dean Fortin. The excitement quickly turned into rapt attention, as these students—future early childhood educators, family support workers, mental health workers, community support workers, education assistants and others—gained inspiration and encouragement from Victoria’s new mayor.

Mayor Fortin, who is just one month into his three-year term, shared his civic vision, hopes and concerns with Camosun’s Human Services students, each of whom has chosen their educational path because they care about people. He explained how social sustainability depends on financial and economic sustainability. He touched on climate change and the implications on our city residents and infrastructure. He talked about affordable housing and he talked about ending homelessness, not just managing it.

Human Services students.Throughout his talk, Mayor Fortin validated the work Camosun students will embark on when they graduate. For example, he acknowledged the presence of ECCE students in the audience, stressing the importance of early childhood development to the future of our society. He implored our students to be active and involved, saying, “You’re in the position to enact positive change, one person at a time; one program at a time. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to try something new.”

Anita Ferriss, chair of Human Services programs, organizes a welcome event twice yearly, in January and September. “This event is a great chance for our students to meet each other and to see where their core values intersect,” she says. “Our students share common values; the connections they build at Camosun will be vital to their future careers.” Ferriss was delighted the mayor chose Camosun as one of his early “official” visits. “It was clear from Mayor Fortin’s presentation that he is passionate about people and communities, and that he is committed to actions that improve the quality of life for all citizens.” He promised to come back and report on how things are going. “We’ll count on it,” says Ferriss.

At the end of the presentation students were asked one thing they would take away from today. One student paused for a moment before answering, “To think like a citizen.” Another said, “I am inspired to know I can make a difference one step at a time—I don’t have to jump in and fix everything at once.”

Good luck to the Human Services students, whose programs include: Early Childhood Care and Education; Community, Family and Child Studies; Community Support and Education Assistant; Indigenous Family Support (formerly First Nations Family Support); Community Mental Health; and Interprofessional Mental Health and Addictions. More information...

Last updated: February 18, 2010 2:25 pm

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