For Lynn Boyce, MMBSW’17, the last place she wanted to be became the place she feels she belongs.

A member of the Potlotek First Nation of Cape Breton, NS, Boyce hopes to use her Mi’kmaq/Maliseet Bachelor of Social Work (MMBSW) degree in a position with Child Welfare—something she never would have considered if it hadn’t been for her work placement.

“It’s funny, because before doing my placement with the Department of Community Services—Child Welfare, it was the last place I wanted to be,” she said. “Now, it’s the place I feel I belong.”

Before her placement, Boyce thought a career in child welfare meant removing children from their families. After working in intake, long term protection, and temporary care and custody at the Department of Community Services, she realized it’s much more than that.

“Looking in from the outside, child welfare is often misinterpreted as negative, which I must admit is how I saw it before I had this opportunity,” she said. “In reality it’s so much more than that. Child welfare is there to help keep families together.”

“We’ve Grown Into a Wonderful and Powerful Group of Social Workers”

The MMBSW program at St. Thomas was established in 2005 with the purpose of providing a culturally relevant framework and flexible schedule for First Nations individuals wishing to pursue a career in social work or related positions within their communities.

“I decided to enroll in the program because I saw it as a great opportunity to further my education and continue working, which was important to me as I still needed to provide for my family,” Boyce said.

“My experience in the program was the best. I came in not really knowing anyone and came out with a group of wonderful people who became my family.”

After her time in the MMBSW program, Boyce believes a collaborative approach to social work will lead to better outcomes for clients and social workers.

“My biggest takeaway from the program is that we’re all in this together,” she said. “I’ve watched us grow together as a family where we all wanted each other to succeed. Because of that, we’ve grown into a wonderful and powerful group of social workers.”

For more information on the MMBSW program at St. Thomas, click here.