My name is Renee Phillips and I am the Child and Youth Counselor at Yorkdale Secondary School (EdVance Program). As a Child and Youth Counselor, I develop meaningful relationships through ongoing, intimate contact. I am here to provide support and counseling when the student needs it. A Child and Youth Counselor is a rare combination of doctor, lawyer and native chief. I am a motivator, mediator, supporter, listener, counselor, advocator, nutrition provider and so on. I try my best to empower individuals by providing them the opportunities to build and use their own support networks, and act on their own choices and sense of responsibility.
Our program also realizes that students have responsibilities and issues, such as having a child(ren) to take care of (daycare issues), having to work to help support their families etc. These issues can sometimes prevent our students from putting all their focus into school and unfortunately lead to students dropping out of school. I refer our students to resources available in the community that can help them solve or manage these issues. I also inform our students about the resources in our community that can help them make the next positive step forward.
This quote best describes what I do on a day to day basis:
Being a Child and Youth Counselor is not something that I “do;” it is what I “am.” I feel compelled to work with children, youth and families in their own life space. I care for them and I care about them. I use the events, relationships, and experiences of everyday life to help them learn about and manage problems, as well as discover the strengths they need to continue to grow and develop. All my previous experiences come together with the experiences of the people I’m working with, and together we focus on changing their approach to life just at the moment that they are struggling. -Carol Stewart