March 15, 2021
Social worker week is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of social workers, and acknowledge their hard work and dedication. Join us as we celebrate the Carrier Sekani Family Services social workers!
Marilyn is the Director of Health and Wellness at Carrier Sekani Family Services. She graduated from UNBC with a Bachelor of Social Work, and is currently working towards her Masters of Social Work. Marilyn has been in the social work field since 2002.
"I don’t think that I decided to get into social work; I think being the first-born daughter in a Carrier family trained me to be a natural helper all my life, so in fact, Social work chose me.
The most fulfilling part about being a social worker is seeing the excitement in clients’ eyes when they have made a significant change in their own lives, and that change has taken root within them. I have been off the front line for many years, but I can still see that excitement in people’s eyes when they are talking to you.
A favourite memory that I have has to be from working with the elders in the first Healing the Healers program. That program had a significant impact on my personal life. My grandmother was a participant in that group, and being able to watch her grow with other elders was amazing. I can remember her saying that she didn’t know how to show affection or how to tell her kids and grandkids she loved them because they were not given that in residential school. On my 28th birthday, I was a new ARP manager with CSFS, and my grandmother came to see me, she gave me a big hug, and she said ‘I’m really proud of you, you are 28 and a manager, and I love you.’ It was the best gift I have ever received, and still brings happy tears to my eyes when I think about it."
Cheryl is an Integrated Services Team Lead at Carrier Sekani Family Services. She has been in the field of social work since 1998, and graduated from UNBC in 2006 with a Bachelor of Social Work.
I worked as a teacher’s assistant with school district 57 and found that the majority of the children I worked with were Aboriginal and lived in poverty. I wanted to make a difference in these children’s lives. I volunteered with Carney Hill Neighbourhood Centre for a number of years. I felt the changes and support I provided were minimal. I applied to the social work program at CNC in Prince George and was accepted. At this time, I was working with the Urban Aboriginal Justice Society (UAJS). What I found at this society was that the youth who were referred to this agency came from outlying First Nations communities. The youth and their families usually came to Prince George for education or work. These youth were not use to life in an urban setting because they come from rural communities. The youth were referred to UAJS for minor crimes like shoplifting. I was involved with setting up restorative circles with the youth, family, elders, and victims.
I then applied for my BSW at UNBC, thinking I would continue on in the criminal justice field. I applied for a part time job with CSFS as a Home Support Worker. I held four part-time jobs while attending UNBC full time. I personally felt changes were not happening fast enough.
When I graduated with my BSW in 2006, I was still working with CSFS. I moved to Burns Lake to become a Guardianship Social Worker, where I started to see changes that were happening in the child welfare system; changes that were slow but still happening to better the lives of children in care. I later became the Guardianship Team Leader. We follow policy that the government has set out, but we are the change for the children in care that we work with.
Connecting children and youth back to their bio-families is the most rewarding. All children and youth need to feel connected. This connection to their family and community forms their identity. When children and youth have a strong identity, they have a good self esteem to make awesome choices for a healthy life.
I have so many favourite memories, like when children in care age out of care, but still contact me to tell me stories about their lives. I love CSFS policies in that when child in care age out of CSFS care, they can always reach out to us (social workers) and we will support them. Reuniting children back with their bio-families and communities are also atop of the list for favourite memories.
Charity is an Integrated Services Support Worker at Carrier Sekani Family Services. She has been in the field of social work since 2017, and is currently enrolled in the Indigenous Human Services Diploma program at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT).
I got into social work because I myself grew up in the child welfare system and hope to bring my experience from that to contribute in making the system better for all children/youth and to show others a different aspect of social work from a former child/youth in-care’s view.
I enjoy working with children and youth to help them be the best they can be, but also finding and being their true selves. As a child/youth in care, it's SO important to know your identity & place in life so that you’re not always in survival mode; but rather in THRIVING mode!!
Roxanne is an Integrated Services Team Lead at Carrier Sekani Family Services. She graduated from UNBC with a Bachelor of Social Work in 2008, and has been with CSFS since 2009.
I am a member of Cheslatta Carrier Nation, Bear Clan, and I come from a family of natural helpers, like my mother Hazel Burt, I felt like social work was a good fit for me and I take pride in working for an agency like CSFS who empowers our Nation members and families.
As a Carrier Woman, I am passionate about working with First Nations children and youth, which includes community members from my own Nation. I am fortunate to have made life-long connections with children who are now young adults. I still love connecting with them and they continue to reach out to me for support and to let me know how they are doing. Some are now raising their own children and I feel privileged to still be involved in their lives and watch their little ones grow.
Amy is the Director of Youth Services at Carrier Sekani Family Services. She has been in the field of social work since 2004. She graduated with her Bachelor of Social Work in 2005, and earned her Masters of Social Work in 2013.
I got into social work because I wanted to work with people and be involved in positive change in some capacity. My Aunt was a social worker and she was always someone I looked up to.
It is truly fulfilling to see the positive growth and change, and having a direct impact and involvement from the micro to macro levels. When I started at CSFS, in PG there was just the one office on 4th Ave. We have grown and evolved so much and I am proud to have been a part of some of the evolution of the services. I have learned from my leaders, co-workers, matriarchs, and the friends I have made since being here.
One of my favourite days in social work was the opening of Sk’ai Zeh Yah. It has been a long journey to establish this resource, and Mary Teegee has advocated so hard for youth and young adults. I was proud to be apart of the journey and the opening was meaningful despite the restrictions of the Pandemic.
Sandra Wilson is an Integrated Services Team Lead at Carrier Sekani Family Services. She has been with CSFS since 2008, and also graduated from UNBC in 2008. She is from Kispiox, Gitxsan territory, and belongs to the wolf clan.
My journey into social work began because of my mother, Delores Wilson, she was the reason we moved from Kispiox to Prince George so she could pursue post secondary education in Social Work, while completing her studies she would say “Sandra, you would be so great in this field”, at that time I had just completed hairdressing school, got married and had two boys. Unfortunately, my mother passed away from cancer in 2002, I remembered my mothers’ words, “Sandra, you would be great in this field” and began my studies in Social Work. My mother was my role model and my inspiration to pursue my degree in Social Work, and I have been so fulfilled in this role. My goal is to work towards my Masters in Social Work.
I knew an Indigenous agency was where I wanted to work after obtaining my Social Work Degree. My passion was to support our children in care, with permanency planning, cultural and family connections. CSFS was a perfect fit for me and I have been with CSFS going into my 13th year now. In my role, I have both been a part of returning children to their parents, and supported my staff in returning children/youth to their families, communities, and culture. This is both a challenging and rewarding career, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges. To see our children and youth develop a connection to family and culture, has provided them with a strong sense of identity, and self-esteem. These are our future leaders and to see them become strong first nations individuals has been the most rewarding part of my job.
I am currently in my second term (4th year) of sitting on the BC College of Social Worker’s (BCCSW), and sit on numerous committees for the BCCSW, one of which is the Indigenous Committee, providing a northern Indigenous representation on the BCCSW Board, to ensure our voice is in the great work the BCCSW does, to provide a higher standard and credibility to Social Workers’, as well as provide public protection.
I come from a strong family of Gitxsan matriarchs and they have been my inspiration and role models to continue down the path I am in. If it were not for the best role model I have ever had, my mother, I would not be where I am at right now. CSFS has been a great organization to work for, and I am so grateful for CSFS, they support and provide professional growth to advance in my career, and I also would not be where I am right now, if it were not for CSFS.
Last modified: Friday 12-Jun-20 15:43:45 PDT