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September 16, 2010

Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin with Dr. Barbara Herringer, Dean of Health and Human Services.

Mayor Dean Fortin with Dr. Barbara Herringer, Dean of Health and Human Services.

It's not every day the mayor of a major city makes time in his busy schedule to address a group of post-secondary students. But, in his second such visit to a welcome event hosted by Camosun's Department of Community, Family and Child Studies, mayor Dean Fortin took the opportunity to inspire his audience "to think clearly and with compassion, to research with integrity and to analyze with objectivity."

Students listened intently to the mayor's speech, which included topics of homelessness and affordable housing; public transportation—late night strategy; and public engagement. Whatever their program specialty, from early childhood education to community mental health, each student found something that encouraged or challenged them to succeed in the work that lies ahead. "I am so inspired by the mayor's message that there's important work to be done, and that we can do it," said Tina Adair, "I really want to make a difference, and I believe I can."

Make a difference

Robin Fast, an instructor in the popular Community, Family and Child Studies diploma program says, "One area that I thought was key in Mayor Fortin's message today was that even when something appears to be someone else's responsibility it is important to look for ways that you can have influence and make a difference. I heard this message as he talked about the issue of homelessness and the role the city was playing to engage provincial and federal participation. I think this is a key message for CFCS students and one they hear in our program – regardless of your position there is a role to be found."

In her summary comments, program chair Anita Ferriss noted how the mayor's priorities align closely with the department's mission, which is to create healthy communities by facilitating and enabling strong relationships. "Mayor Fortin has a holistic approach to healthy community that includes continuity of services, accessible transportation, and creating a vibrant downtown. There is an opportunity for each of our students to contribute in their own way."

Fortin concluded his address with a call to action that clearly resonated with an audience preparing for careers in community and social service: "My advice is for each of you to take chances and be bold. Follow your heart. Use your Head. Change the World."

In recognition of one of the city of Victoria's major initiatives, and in honour of Mayor Fortin, the Department of Community, Family and Child Studies made a donation of $100.00 to the Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.

Last updated: September 16, 2010 3:02 pm

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