I grew up in a family where I learned that issues of social justice were important, that you need to contribute and that everyone should have equal access to the things that they need to thrive.
Phoenix was a good fit for me. I could see right from the beginning that Phoenix was progressive and over the years we have continually stretched to understand the larger social justice issues that impact our youth, families and communities. Many years and many programs later Phoenix has advanced forward on multiple levels of change making.
Phoenix Youth are resilient, amazing and heroic. They are also like any other youth — they have many of the same hopes and dreams for their futures. Given the opportunity to shine, they show just how talented they are.
They’ve been my greatest teachers. I am inspired on a daily basis by their ability to keep trying despite great challenges in their lives. I am also inspired by many of the parents that, through my work at Phoenix Youth and Family Therapy, I am fortunate to get to know. It feels like an honour to have youth and parents together in my office. It is a privilege for me to bear witness to their struggles and to assist in any way I can.
In our work place, we often deal with heavy subjects. We also experience moments of great joy. As a team, we laugh as much as possible — we really enjoy each other. We have a strong team that really cares about each other.. There is always laughter amidst everything else.
Something that I have always appreciated about Phoenix is that it affords room for continued learning. I love to learn. Working for Phoenix and having access to professional development opportunities has allowed me to broaden my perspectives, strengthen my skills and deepen my, knowledge, and understanding about the kind of work that I do. I’m also forever inspired by the youth and families with whom I work. I’m continually learning from everyone around me.
Another thing I appreciate about Phoenix is their responsiveness to youth voices over time. In this program, for instance, we now work with youth as young as 11, with the hopes to help them earlier on when they’re still at home with their families and in their communities. The program was developed from listening to youth voices from other programs who said “If only I had had earlier intervention or supports, I may not have had to leave home in the first place”. Phoenix listens to youth and works to make changes.
You can’t do this line of work without being changed. I think what has changed me significantly are all the amazing folks who I’ve met along the way. What they bring and what they overcome is so inspiring. It’s impossible not to be changed and profoundly moved.
Alison has worked with us since Phoenix House was the only program offered. She has worked front line at the House, at the Follow-Up program, as a Case Manager at Phoenix Centre for Phoenix Centre for Youth (PCFY) and as Program Manager at PCFY. She has been working in her current role of Clinical Therapist with our Youth and Family Therapy team for 14 years.