"HP, the experience of a lifetime!"
"I have been asked to write a piece articling my time working at Health Promotion at the University of Ottawa’s Health Services, although, I am finding it hard to write an appropriate article as there are no words powerful enough to truly capture my wonderful experience with this department. In my second year at uOttawa in the faculty of science, I knew that I wanted to become more involved and begin volunteering. Although after assessing some options, I didn’t find any organizations that really matched my interests (mainly because I had no idea what my interests were).
This changed when one day in the cafeteria I was approached by two girls in matching red shirts handing out pamphlets reading: “We’re recruiting!”. That was the day I made my first trip to UCU203. I applied to be a volunteer and by the following year I was in the Peer Educator program as a member of the Nutrition team. After an amazing first year, I had found my calling and knew that my following years at uOttawa would be dedicated to my new discovered passion for health promotion.
Following my year as a Peer Educator, I applied and was accepted as the Team Leader of the Leave the Pack Behind team, a position that I held for the following 2 years. Little did I know that my love for natural science was actually a love for health and this volunteer role turned part-time job would soon start my transition into my current career as a Health Promotion Coordinator.
This short story of my transition through the Health Promotion department has great significance as it truly demonstrates not only the personal, but professional development I received while working for Health Services. Like many second year students, I was unsure of who I really was and, thus, I didn’t know what I wanted to accomplish with my degree. It is thanks to those two Peer Educators that were handing out recruitment pamphlets that I was able to find my place in Health Promotion. Right from my first visit to UCU203 I immediately felt like this small Resource Centre, offering anything from pamphlets, to free condoms, to healthy recipes would be my new home away from home. The whole atmosphere of the Resource Centre is so inviting and relaxing all due to the big read chairs, the SAD (seasonal affective disorder) lamp, and the warm, friendly faces at the front desk.
That last part was probably the most important, the amazing team. I have never met a more passionate, enthusiastic, hardworking, dedicated, friendly, outgoing, intelligent and trustworthy group of individuals. I would be hard pressed to say that any other work experience would have more amazing coworkers. From the 60 Peer Educators to the 6 Team Leaders to the 2 Health Promotion Coordinators we truly were, and still are, family. If I forgot a lunch, if I needed school advice, if I needed someone to talk to, or if I needed a good laugh I knew I was always welcomed with open arms by my work family at the Resource Centre. I didn’t need to work hard to develop friendships, discover who I was personally or find appropriate professional role models during my time at uOttawa because I had it all working at Health Promotion.
Most of my respect for my professional development goes out to our two absolutely amazing Health Promotion Coordinators, Jennifer Keays and Sylvie Fournel. No amount of thank you’s can be said by me to truly thank these two women for how much of a difference they made in my life. Jennifer has been working hard at developing Health Promotion into the amazing workplace it is today since I began working there, and Sylvie, joining the team in my second year, helped complete this super-duo team allowing for the vision to truly transpire. Constantly changing, updating and reworking our department these two ladies have built Health Promotion into a wonderful workplace, and student centre. In doing so, they have created a team with high moral, dedication and a love for health promotion, and have personally had a hand in cultivating my own professional and individual growth.
After 3 long years working with this wonderful team, it was extremely hard to remove my red Health Promotion shirt for good, and, yet, I still do, and will always, feel like the red shirt will remain a part of me for life. Thank you to my Health Promotion team for giving me the experience of a lifetime, and lasting memories and skills I will cherish forever."