Isabell is a 13-year-old member of the Inuvialuit community of the Northwest Territories. Isabell and her ten-year-old brother, Isaac, have received services from the Halton Children’s Aid Society for the
past three years. Their mother was a victim of the ‘sixties scoop’ and has had difficulty addressing her addictions, resulting in an unstable lifestyle for Isabell and her brother. Like many children involved in child welfare, Isabell and her brother were exposed to domestic violence, frequent moves and unhealthy family dynamics, leading them to be placed with their maternal aunt in Burlington. Isabell struggled and it has been a long journey for her to accept her mother’s limitations. However, Isabell has shown incredible strength and resilience by diving into extracurricular activities, including the swim team and the school play, which have become a safety net.
This past summer, Isabell was registered to attend camp with the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton. After only one week in, thanks to the keen eye of the camp manager, Isabell was transitioned from a
participant to a volunteer camp counselor where she assisted with tutoring programs and various camp activities in a mentorship role. The camp manager noted that Isabell took on the role with enthusiasm, grace and a willingness to learn. Isabell made quite the impression and will be invited back next year as a camp counselor.
Despite her early childhood experience, Isabell has shown strong resilience and accomplished so much in her young life. She is self-motivated, persevering and desires to change the path of intergenerational trauma that has impacted her community. Isabell still experiences everyday struggles, but she makes an effort to rise above. To me, Isabell is a reminder of the successes we celebrate in this job. With the right support, nurturing environment and recreational activities to boost their confidence, children and youth are provided with the wings to soar to the heights of their success.