Interview with OCYI Placement Student

An interview with Lauren Wood, who is working with OCYI during the winter term 2023


1. Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your educational background? I am currently a third-year student at Algonquin College in the Bachelor of Early Learning and Community Development program. I am also a Registered Early Childhood Educator. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, knitting, true crime documentaries, hanging out with friends and playing with my two hamsters.  


2. Could you please share what led you to a placement with OCYI? I have always wanted to do a field placement within an organization that provides support and resources for children and families struggling with their mental health. As someone who has struggled with my own mental health, I know how important it is to receive the best possible support and resources.  


3. Could you please explain what sort of things you are hoping to accomplish during your time with OCYI? I am looking to put my educational knowledge into practice and help create positive solutions that will support professionals serving families and children. I hope to be successful within my project, Practice Change Champions, by putting together effective sessions that provide these professionals with reminders and refreshers on different topics surrounding the mental health of children and families. I also plan to increase awareness of OCYI, and its important work, through a presentation to my classmates and ECE students at Algonquin College. 


4. What projects have you been involved with since starting your placement with OCYI? The project that I am working on throughout my time at OCYI centers around the IECMH task group and their Practice Change Champions sessions. Since joining OCYI this semester, I have engaged in research and attended meetings to plan and create sessions that support the staff and professionals working directly with children and families.  


5. What are you hoping to bring to OCYI and what are you hoping to learn from OCYI? As a Registered Early Childhood educator and current student, I bring fresh perspective and insight into current practices, issues and the needs of families and children within our community today. I am working to help OCYI to build its network and expand relationships with the Francophone community. Within my placement, I hope to gain valuable tools, knowledge and resources to support my future career and a greater understanding of how community organizations function independently and together.  


6. Why do you think it is valuable to do a placement with OCYI? I think that a placement at OCYI is valuable for students within my program, and other programs, as it provides a unique view of community organizations and the importance of collaboration. It has been a privilege to witness the level of teamwork organizations use to create projects, presentations, and tip sheets, to support those working with families and children.   


7. Why do you think that OCYI is an important initiative in the City of Ottawa? There are many reasons, but I think that OCYI does an amazing job of creating awareness of the need to support the mental health of young children and their families. OCYI accomplishes this by working alongside professionals who work directly with families and children to facilitate, improve practice and provide resources.


8. What are your career plans in the future? After graduating from this program in 2024, my hope is to become a primary school teacher focused on making a difference in the lives of the children.  


9. Why have you chosen to dedicate your career to supporting kids and youth? Ever since I was a young child, I have always had a passion for helping children and families. Now I know that this is what I was meant to do professionally. Children are one of, if not the most vulnerable members of our community. They are our future. It is up to individuals and the community to guide them and to provide resources and programs that support their growth and development. I want every child to have the chance to learn, discover, and grow up to their fullest potential. This takes relationships, collaboration and equitable opportunities to Grow Up Great.  

This story is part of the March 2023 Ovation. This story is also available in French.