As a child, my grandparents played a significant role in my life and shaped who I am today. One memory that stands out is visiting my great grandma at a care home and wanting to make her happy. Another memory is learning to ride a bike with the support and encouragement of my grandparents and the neighbourhood (this is where I became known as the "neighbourhood granddaughter") .
Fast forward to High School when they start asking you to figure out what career you want to do for the rest of your life. From those memories, I knew the population I wanted to work with and sort of an idea of what I wanted to do, but it took a while to figure it out exactly. By grade 12, I was introduced to the Recreation and Leisure program that I could take in College that could lead me into a career in working with the elderly. I attended Fanshawe College for the 2-year Recreation and Leisure Services Diploma Program. Once graduated, I attended Brock University for another 2 years and graduated with a Bachelor of Recreation and Leisure Studies, with a Major in Therapeutic Recreation.
Now for my dreams... I have always dreamed of one day designing, building and running my own long term care home.. A huge dream I know. But, I wanted to create a space that didn't feel like a long term care facility, but that felt like the community I grew up in being a "neighbourhood granddaughter". However, my passion for meaningful connections with the elders is something that truly fills my heart, and thus, we have this dream that came into play. Working in a long term care facility in a group environment for 3.5 years changed when COVID-19 hit. Our group programming was changed to one on one visits and I noticed that although the group programming was stimulating, providing one on one visits allowed some residents leisurely needs to be met further. Along with this knowledge, I also noticed a gap in the system. Within my close family, there are family members on a 3 to 5 year wait list for a bed in long term care. While they are waiting, family is providing care and support, however, there is a lack of recreation and leisure based activities being supported to stimulate them. This is where I come in, to provide that support!!