Community Services Worker graduate, Chiman, poses with her instructor, Bryan Coker at the Herzing College Ottawa campus
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What exactly qualifies as "life skills"? For many of us, these are abilities we start learning as children, and build on as we enter adulthood and become increasingly independent.
Counselling people in need is a big part of the community services worker (CSW) job description. Imagine you're working at a women's shelter, child foster care program, or addiction centre—helping individuals and families work through really difficult issues, and find healthy ways to move forward.
Community services workers (CSWs) help people dealing with serious personal and social problems. But this career is about so much more than that.
CSWs work with some of the most neglected, forgotten, and stigmatized people in our society.
From teens dealing with addiction, to homeless populations, to battered women, to ex-offenders: community services workers are trained to offer compassionate, practical, hands-on support where it's needed most.
There is no doubt that this work is challenging. But it's also incredibly rewarding and inspiring. Right on the front-lines of our neighborhoods, CSWs literally change and save lives on a daily basis.
A group of Community Services Worker students at Herzing College Ottawa
What will your life look like after community services worker (CSW) training? Where will you work, and who will you work with?
This is, obviously, a key question for anyone considering a career in community services.
Our goal in this post is to give you a clearer idea of your options and opportunities as a freshly graduated CSW.
What happens to someone who has served time in prison, and gets released back into the community?
How do they find a job and a place to live? Who can they turn to for support, to get their life back on track, and start building a better future for themselves?
In many cases, ex-offenders find that support at a halfway house. Like the name suggests, a halfway house is a bridge between prison and the outside world—a place that is "halfway" between incarceration and the free community.
Every community in Canada includes at-risk populations. What does it mean to be "at-risk"?
Who exactly are "at-risk" youth? Definitions vary, but this term generally refers to young people whose health, safety, and future prospects have been seriously compromised by situations beyond their control.
These situations may include abusive home environments, mental illness, or addiction—and lead to criminal behavior and/or dropping out of school.
Overall, at-risk youth are less likely to transition successfully into adulthood by finishing school, entering the workforce, maintaining good mental health, and becoming contributing members of their communities. Their lives are often cut short by suicide and violence, or derailed by incarceration.