My name is Justine and I am 21 years old. I am taking the Community Mental Health and Addictions Worker Diploma Program. I was born in Kelowna, BC but have lived in BC and Ontario. I have previously worked a year as a traffic control person, a year as a cook in a local treatment center where I also was very hands on in the rehabilitation of the woman who entered the facility. I have a dog named Roxy (a Chihuahua) and I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. When I have the time I like to help my friend out at her farm with her horses grooming them and learning all I can about the friendly giants. I love children and animals, and being out in nature. I am for the most part a very positive and outgoing person and a lot of fun to be around, but I take what I am passionate about very seriously. And my biggest passion is helping others.
A little bit about my background with mental health and addictions: I grew up in an alcoholic home. Growing up I was surrounded by people who were drunk, people high on drugs, abuse and people with many forms of mental health issues. I started drinking at the age of thirteen and quickly found myself lost in the world of addiction. As well, I suffered from severe bouts of depression and constant anxiety. I struggled all through high school and I was lucky to graduate just barely making it. When I was 18 I moved back to BC to get away from that lifestyle but you can only run so far before it catches back up with you. I found myself at 18, so hopeless and lost stuck between wanting to live and not wanting to go on one more second the way I was living. I sobered up right after my 19th birthday with the help of some amazing people who reached out and gave me the hope to keep going. I have been sober now since 2012 and it has been the best thing that’s ever happened for me in my life; it saved my life. I never thought I was smart enough to attend college but I’m here at Stenberg with the support of my family and friends and the lovely staff that are here to help make my dreams a reality.
I would really like to work with young people. I want to try and get more education around mental health and addiction issues implemented into schools, and start to break the cycles before they fully get set into motion with the youth of this generation. Society needs to address the problems not sweep them under the rug until it’s too late and lives are taken. People whose outcomes could have possibly been different with better opportunities and education. I know I might have thought twice if I knew the truth when I started out in middle school and it might not have gone as far. Change starts with one person, one idea, and one action. I’m excited to start this new journey and see what kind of difference I will make in the future not only to the lives around me but hopefully the youth in our communities.