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Michelle Kostick (CYC)
My Insight and Words of Advice Regarding this Program
The Child and Youth Care program will be a transformative journey for most students as you cannot avoid being impacted in some way by the children and families you will meet. You will have an incredible opportunity to step into their life space whether it is in a classroom, in their home, on the streets, or in custody and walk with them through their daily challenges and successes. You will feel this work is very rewarding but will also be exposed to the challenges created by legislation, policies and gaps in services. Our hope is that you will develop all the skills you need to navigate this successfully and professionally while staying focused on the children in your care.
The program will expose you to the entire field of Child and Youth Care in Thunder Bay and all the programs that can be accessed to support you in your practice. Your field placement opportunities will challenge you to push your limits, to take risks and to be excited for all the possibilities in your work.
Some Words of Advice Regarding Career Opportunities in this Field of Study
The field of Child and Youth Care is ever changing and always allows new opportunities for graduates. My hope is that every student in our program will take advantage of all the learning opportunities provided to them as they walk through this journey. This program is an amazing place to meet new people, to make strong connections in the community and to partner with children, youth and their families to hopefully create meaningful change.
How/Why I Become a Teacher?
Throughout my life I have walked through many unique experiences that have allowed me the opportunity to meet some amazing helpers. Their commitment to others was something I always saw as inspirational and it fueled a desire in me to be able to reach out to others in the same way. I was also a young parent and had many people support me at a critical time in my life. I knew there were many young single parents in our community who could also benefit from having support and guidance and I wanted to give back to them. My daughter was probably my biggest inspiration to teach as she always inspired me to continue with my studies.
What I Like Most About Teaching?
Teaching has been the most amazing way to become part of the system responsible for protecting the children in our community who are most vulnerable. I am able to share my practice experiences with students and discuss best practice models so they are best prepared once they step into the field. I appreciate all that I learn from my students and find it most rewarding to share in their challenges and successes.
My Educational Background & Qualifications:
My first placement experience while in the Child and Youth Worker program was with their residential program and I immediately knew this was where I needed and wanted to start my career. My other placement experiences were with the Children’s Aid Society in their foster care unit and with the Catholic School Board as an Attendance Counselor. The most unique opportunity I had in placement was to work with a play therapist and to then create a group for children who required skill development. The most unique opportunity I had in the program was an opportunity to engage in a simulation at a brand new secure custody facility prior to it opening. The participants in the simulation were all graduating students from the Child and Youth Worker program. We were able to live in the secure custody facility as “youth” for one week to test for flaws prior to the facility opening.
After graduating from the Child and Youth Worker program in 1991, I accepted a full time position with the Children’s’ Aid Society in Thunder Bay. I continued my work in child welfare for 15 years and my practice was focused primarily with youth living in residential care. I also worked within their Emergency Receiving Program for a brief period of time. During this time I also became a foster parent to a young woman I had met through the residential program. Today she is a mother with two beautiful children and has shown incredible resilience in all aspects of her life.
In 1999 I returned to school part time and in 2002 I graduated from Lakehead University with my Honours Bachelor of Social Work Degree. Both credentials supported the work I was engaged in with children and their families but I felt confident that I would always be a Child and Youth Worker with a Social Work degree.
I am also currently a SafeTALK suicide awareness trainer at Confederation College and feel strongly that any dialogue we can create about suicide is beneficial to our students as well as to the clients they will work with in the community.
My Hobbies & Interests
We spend most of the summer months commuting back and forth to our cottage in Shebandowan. I enjoy having this quiet time, swimming and just being outdoors. We also have two English Bulldogs who we cherish and when the academic year comes to an end they become the priority. My daughter is currently living in the Ottawa area and a new adventure each summer will be travelling for a visit.
Courses I Teach
- CY 100 Foundations in Child and Youth Care Practice
- CY 116 Therapeutic Programming
- CY 200 Self In Practice I
- CY 215 Seminar I
- CY 313 Crisis Intervention
- CY 407 Understanding Trauma and Aggression in Children
- CY 415 Seminar II
- NC229 Child Welfare & Indigenous Peoples