PORTRAIT_COSL_19_Jillian

Studying in Ukraine reminds student of dream to run a summer camp of her own

September 19, 2019 | Society
I hit a wall. I was emotionally burnt out. I had been working in the non-profit sector with homeless youth for several years and was frustrated with the many barriers that keep us from properly supporting people.

I’m a wholehearted believer in prevention, so I came to MacEwan to finish my degree, wanting to find ways to support families and help children grow and thrive – and hopefully help youth from ever becoming homeless in the first place.

Taking a course that led to volunteering at a summer camp in Ukraine for children and youth who live in orphanages changed my life. As soon as I stepped off the bus, I was engulfed in this bubble of positivity – people were hugging me and smiling and giving me high fives and putting their hand on my shoulder.

It sounds weird in a Canadian context, but I immediately felt so loved and so supported. It was therapeutic in a way that I didn’t understand or expect. I felt comfortable being the silly, outgoing woman that I am. I reconnected with that person at camp.

The kids taught me about the importance of stepping outside of your comfort zone, of believing in yourself and of trying something new. And they reminded me of a dream I had years ago to start a summer camp of my own. 

–Jillian, fourth-year Bachelor of Child and Youth Care student

 

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Where in the world … Ukraine

How eight MacEwan students who joined 200 Ukrainian children and youth for an unforgettable summer camp experience.




 
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