As an Indigenous woman with strong ties to her community and a passion for working with children and youth, NBCC’s Child and Youth Care program was the perfect fit for Christine Ward.
After growing up in Eel Ground First Nation, a Mi’kmaq community on the Miramichi River, she spent some time exploring other careers and even attended culinary school. But she always felt like something was missing.
“Regardless of the other jobs I tried, I always went back to the idea of working with children and youth,” she said. “I felt like it was both my purpose and my passion.”
When Ward first arrived NBCC, she was working a full-time job while also going to school full-time and raising her son. Overwhelmed with responsibilities, she questioned whether she would be able to succeed in the program. This all changed when she received the NBCC Indigenous Student Bursary.
“The bursary was really impactful for me. When I received the funding, I was able to reduce my work hours to between 15 to 20 hours per week,” said Ward. “I remember feeling terrified that I was going to fail because I was still having to work 40 hours a week to pay my rent and put food on the table, so it was a huge relief when I found out I would be getting the bursary.”
NBCC’s Indigenous Student Bursary program is offered in partnership with Indspire. The bursary supports Indigenous students from New Brunswick who are attending NBCC with demonstrated financial need.
After graduating in June 2021, Ward was offered her dream job working at Mi’gmaq Child and Family Services, where she had previously worked as a casual and completed a program placement. As a Residential Worker, Ward works with the five youth in residence at the facility, a role she absolutely loves.
“One of the reasons I wanted to do a placement at Mi’gmaq Child and Family Services is because I liked their mission statement and their community approach that involves elders and other people,” she said. “This is what I’m meant to do. It doesn’t feel like a job when I have to get up and go every day because my work is so fulfilling.”