Apr 11 2017

April Member Spotlight!

Posted by: Christine Batista

The Caring Force is pleased to announce the April Member Spotlight honoree is Lydia Proulx, a Career Resource Specialist at Work Opportunities Unlimited.

Lydia’s career in human services has been focused on empowering youth and helping them find their voice. Lydia is known for always creating an open and welcoming environment that helps every client feel supported.
Here’s what Lydia had to say about working in human services:

Organization: Work Opportunities Unlimited

Years in human services: 7

Best professional memory: I have been lucky enough to work with some really creative and driven young people. One thing I really love about working with youth, particularly those who have been put down or marginalized in some way, is many of them believe in educating others as a way to reach understanding. I’ve gotten to develop a lot of cool workshops and trainings that cover a range of topics, from standardized testing and education experience, to LGBTQ youth and mental health, to how to grow your own vegetable garden on a budget! But one memory in particular stands out. I remember observing a team of youth facilitators – whom I had trained in the prior year – train new youth facilitators on how to run a particular workshop. Just seeing a ripple effect of all the hard work they had put into the training reach a new and younger youth was really spectacular. It helped affirm that our work goes beyond just the single moment we spend with someone – our work can have a real, long lasting impact.

How do you think, as a collective, we can work to make this field more recognized for the hard work we do and to attract new talent? (Question from Amy McCarthy from The Home for Little Wanderers): It may sound like a broken record, but we need more observation and data as to how youth workers and advocates affect those they work with, and how those impressions last over time. I think with information and data to back up all the great experience and powerful stories we hold collectively, we will see the perception of youth work change. This is not easy work that anyone can or is willing to do – we have specific skills and strengths that make a difference! It would be great if we could showcase that in multiple ways.

I also think it’s important to continue to challenge the systemic issues that deter or push out new talent from youth work and human services, at entry levels and administrative levels: racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism and transphobia for example. If we can advance a truly inclusive and thoughtful human services workforce, we would be a stronger workforce as well as a more effective one!

Question for the next member spotlight honoree: What fun and/or reflective self-care strategies do you use to further your professional growth?


P.S. If you know someone who inspires clients and embodies the spirit of The Caring Force, please nominate them on our website or email Christine Batista at christine@providers.org for more information about our Spotlight program.