Helping Youth Navigate Life, Decision-Making to Reduce Risk of Harm
Child & Youth Studies student coordinating youth injury prevention programs at Sunnybrook Hospital through work placement
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre first intrigued Kenisha Chew during a presentation at Trent University Durham GTA. Now in her third and final year, the Child & Youth Studies student has landed a placement in the hospital’s Centre for Injury Prevention.
Kenisha is a virtual coordinator, host and program leader for two youth programs at Sunnybrook. Within the Party Program, she works alongside guest speakers who have suffered traumatic injury, and medical experts to help high school students make healthy, responsible decisions in their life. The virtual program introduces youth to a variety of scenarios, from safe driving to drug use, so that they are better prepared to create positive outcomes for themselves.
“It’s very moving stuff,” said Kenisha, referring to the personal experiences shared by Sunnybrook’s injury ambassadors. “The stories are hard to listen to sometimes but that’s the point. We want students to feel moved by them.”
Under the guidance of her placement supervisor, Kenisha also leads the Youth Safety Lab. She works with high school students as they conduct research on topics such as intersectionality and social determinants of health, which she also studies at Trent. While incorporating some of her Trent readings into the work with students, Ms. Chew enjoys diving into fields of interest such as mental health.
A mission of career ambition
Kenisha is making a considerable step toward a future focused on youth outreach by obtaining hands-on experience in her field of interest through the Child & Youth Studies field placement.
“I really like the idea of helping youth to make good decisions,” said Kenisha “Through this placement, I get to explore my passions, as well as learn about and apply emerging research and new knowledge. I am really learning a lot and doing things on my own, but I also have the guidance from my supervisor who is a great teacher and mentor.”
Kenisha says she is enhancing her skills in public speaking, technology, and relationship building, which will help her work toward her goal of becoming a youth worker.
“I really want to help girls in particular build self-esteem or at-risk youth to guide them into adulthood with the tools that they need,” she said.
Kenisha worked closely with Kristen Papadakos, coordinator of workplace partnerships at Trent Durham, to create a résumé, cover letter and to secure this placement.
“She helped me find my strengths that I have,” recalls Kenisha who is completing her degree in three years thanks to previous Mental Health Youth at Risk and Social Service Worker college diplomas. “She remembered me when this opportunity presented itself. It worked perfectly for me.”
Learn more about the Child & Youth Studies Program and Experiential Learning at Trent Durham GTA.