She’s an aspiring singer-songwriter with a long history of performing and caring for others — and she’s looking for a career that will allow her to share those considerable gifts with future generations.
No surprise, then, that Continuing Education grad Angel Simard has already found her way back to Red River College — to further bolster her Youth Recreation Activity Worker credentials via a diploma from RRC’s Child and Youth Care program.
We caught up with Angel to find out what led her to RRC in the first place, and how her experience here has inspired her to embark on a career path where she can continue helping others.
RRC: Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Pine Falls, Manitoba, but raised in Winnipeg.
What was your favourite thing to do as a kid?
The number one interest of mine was always music. I’ve always had a passion for music, whether it’s singing, songwriting, or learning how to play a musical instrument. As a young child I used to sit down with my grandfather everyday to listen to him sing Hank Williams songs and play guitar, and I would observe him and help him record himself on a tape cassette recorder. He was a talented singer/musician who always wanted to be a country star. The farthest he came to that was singing a tribute to Hank Williams at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville during the 1940s. Music has been passed down from generation to generation in my family and I believe it’s meant to be a part of me and I’m supposed to use that gift and not waste it, and to share that gift when I feel ready to and also to keep passing that gift down to young people. (Which I have done with some of the youth I’ve worked with in my child and youth care practice.)
What prompted you to enroll at RRC? Were you always interested in working with youth?
A relative forwarded me an email about the Youth Recreation Activity Worker Program and I thought it would be perfect due to my previous experience working with children and youth. It was also a great opportunity to further my education, and to become a better trained professional. Because I had been out of school for some time, I felt bored with my life — like I was missing out on opportunities to work because I didn’t have credentials from a post secondary institution. I was ready to go back to school and when I got the call to confirm my acceptance, I felt like the happiest girl in the world and I’m so grateful to have taken that chance.
What do you remember most about your time at the College?
During my time in the Youth Recreation Activity Worker program (Sept. 2011 to June 2012), I built a lot of strong and long-lasting relationships with my fellow classmates. We were somewhat like a family and a great support system for one another. We would make the time and effort to organize outings, visits, and lunches with one another. Our graduation ceremony in June 2012 was the biggest highlight because I had the opportunity to give a public presentation in front of a lot of important people and to thank everybody who helped bring me here.
Were there instructors or assignments that helped prepare you for the work you’d do in the field?
The course that really helped me was the Activities Programming for Youth course. Originally it was meant to be a group assignment but I worked on it individually by creating a Multi-Cultural Scavenger Hunt that promotes cultural awareness. I was able to implement that activity with the youth I was working with at Norquay Boys And Girls Club during my practicum there. And I was able to lead my own activity called “Glam Time” on a monthly basis during my short time at Norquay.
You’re currently in the second year of RRC’s Child and Youth Care program. What brought you back?
My instructors from the Youth Recreation Activity Worker Program were my biggest influences and inspirations. Without their positivity, encouragement, support, and belief in me I may not have not pursued my education. I choose to be in the Child and Youth Care Program because I want to work towards a higher education to have a good life and future for myself. I also want to help children and youth who may have been abused in any shape or form in a therapeutic way to help them deal with any unresolved issues going on in their lives and work towards a happy and healthy development and future. I also want to be a positive role model for young people because I know a lot of youth do not have any role models in their lives and I want to be someone who is there to support, help, and teach them.
So what’s next for you?
I have big dreams and goals I want to accomplish, and my child and youth care skills will play a huge role in helping me get there. For example, I want to have a non-profit organization that provides music, sports and recreation, arts and cultural opportunities for children and youth. From learning how to write proposals, to creating a budget plan and developing a centre as a group, I’m already acquainted with some of the necessary skills I need in order to follow through with my plans!