Working with disabled children inspires Indigenous student
Sarah Rinas Larson (Métis)
Queen Alexandra Centre for Children's Health in Victoria, BC
Sarah Rinas Larson, a recreation and health education student at UVic, spent the last two summers bonding with disabled children as a part of her co-operative education experience. The Métis student worked as an administrative assistant at the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health, where she participated in all aspects of summer camp life. Interacting with the children challenged and humbled her.
“My experience was far more rewarding than I could have imagined. Although some days were difficult, the staff were always there to lend a hand or provide moral support. I am so blessed to have been given this opportunity,” says Sarah.
Though she was hesitant about taking part in the UVic Co-operative Education Program at first, the insight she gained through her work terms at the Queen Alexandra Centre has inspired her to pursue a career in occupational therapy. While at the camp, Sarah worked in the camp office and with the children directly.
Sarah has already applied to UBC’s Master of Occupational Therapy program and is excited to move to the “big city” of Vancouver. She feels that her experiences with UVic Co-op have given her the tools she needs to succeed.
“I have grown as a person, I’ve matured and I’ve been given the opportunity to see society from another perspective. I am now aware of those around me that may have a disabling condition or impairment and I am sensitive to their needs,” she says.
But ultimately, Sarah’s goal is to honour her family through her career choice. “I am a very family-oriented person and I want to choose a career and life path that will make myself and them proud. I have always seen a future for myself in the health field, helping people to change their lives for the better,” she says.
Update on Sarah: Sarah is currently completing her Master's degree in Occupational Therapy at UBC and is a recent winner of a Métis Health Career Award from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation.
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