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Mariah's Journey from Summer Student to Volunteer

Posted Aug 27, 2013 by Stacy Ashton

CVC summer student Mariah Gaucher has been helping Cheryl Galandie at the Cottonwood, Connelly, and Cypress Lodges on Riverview Grounds, where mental health clients need specialized care on their journey to recovery. She has helped with tasks such as the Krispy Kreme fundraising event, as well as the Carwash which took place recently at Apel Auto. Mariah has also dedicated her time to the residents by assisting Cheryl and the staff with various recreational activities.

Mariah has decided to continue dedicating her time as a volunteer in the fall. There are many reasons to volunteer. Some people volunteer to build on their skills and learn new ones, while some volunteer to help others and feel productive. Mariah’s curiosity for the mental health field prompted her to learn more by becoming actively involved as a summer student and subsequently as a volunteer, which will be a great opportunity for her to expand her knowledge of mental health issues



There are many ways in which summer student positions and volunteering in the community can help develop new skills, interests, and values. During her time at the Lodges, Mariah has dedicated her time to get to know the residents and has been able to build relationships with them, while striving to make a positive impact on their recovery. This experience has encouraged Mariah to become more patient and also more outgoing. One of the biggest challenges Mariah has had to overcome, in working with mental health clients, was “growing a backbone” and learning to speak up for herself. She has also learned not to take anything personally by being mindful that everyone can have a bad day.

This experience has helped Mariah gain a better understanding of specific issues and needs in the community. Some of Mariah’s thoughts and feelings on the issues surrounding mental health in the community and at the Lodges include the need for more programs targeted at promoting good mental health such as more hiking and outdoor activities. Also, she wishes for winter-specific programs such as snowshoeing, sledding, and other exciting winter activities in the snow. And in her own words, “I would like to see the residents participate in more activities that they would feel motivated and interested to persevere in.”

Mariah is currently a student at Douglas College and is planning to transfer to university. She is uncertain about whether or not she would pursue a career in the mental health field, as she originally had her heart set on physical therapy. She also has been interested in recreational therapy, as well as kinesiology. She believes that her experiences as a summer student and as a volunteer at the Lodges will influence her future career by being more understanding and more empathetic towards her patients as she has been with the residents at the Lodges. She also wishes to encourage her patients to become more active to improve their overall health. Mariah will volunteer to make a difference in the recovery process of the residents at the Lodges. Volunteering gives her the opportunity to explore different options, and a chance to set new goals, build confidence, meet new people, all of which contribute to choosing a fulfilling career path.  We are confident Mariah will be successful in her future endeavors.


Written By: Leila Razaghi, Summer Student at CVC




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