As we continue to navigate the pandemic, racial discrimination, income inequality and other pressing issues, it’s apparent that our world needs more change makers. But to make a meaningful difference in your community, you don’t need to be the next Greta Thunberg or Tarana Burke.
When someone works within the field of social and community services, they can help spark change within a specific group or help individuals on a one-on-one basis.
Humber College’s Faculty for Social & Community Services encompasses a variety of programs for full-time students and those continuing their education on a part-time basis. Programs include Child and Youth Care, Community and Justice Services, Developmental Services Worker, Addictions and Mental Health, Criminal Justice, Police Foundations, Social Services Worker and more.
“Working in social services can be grueling and it takes people who are patient,” says Morris Beckford, a professor at the Faculty of Social & Community Services. “The industry is best suited for people who understand that small wins should be celebrated. People who understand that just because you engage somebody doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to support what you want in their community.”
Students eager to enter into the field can start by enrolling in the Social Service Worker diploma program. Professionals who are already in the industry can work toward a degree in Community Development or Community and Justice Services. Degree holders can give focus to their careers by obtaining an Ontario Graduate Certificate in Addictions and Mental Health.
No matter where you are in your education or career, Humber College has a program or course that will help you gain fulfilling employment.
Why social services?
People working within the social and community services industry can make a positive impact. Whether it’s through fighting for equality, improving the lives of underprivileged youth, or helping someone overcome addition.
“Social services are with you from birth to death. For the most part, everything you touch is connected to someone working in the industry, especially during the pandemic,” says Beckford. “Many people underestimated the importance of the people running the afterschool program until they had to watch their kids after helping them learn remotely. When someone needs to turn to the food bank, social workers are there. For newcomers needing support to fill out stacks of paperwork, social workers can lend a hand. They are in everything that we do.”
Expert faculty and student support
In addition to its impressive selection of Social & Community Services programs, Humber also boasts dedicated and knowledgeable faculty members who offer continuous support to students.
“The instructors at Humber have certainly kept their feet in the non-profit and social services field, which keeps them very connected to the work that’s happening on the ground,” says Beckford. “Instead of teaching by regurgitating from textbooks, they have real stories and experiences that help students understand what to expect when they start working. In my opinion, that makes our faculty leaders in the industry.”
The services and support provided to students as they learn at Humber sets them up for academic success that will extend well into their careers. At the end of each program, students must complete a practicum or work placement, connecting them to industry professionals.
“We understand that many students are juggling two or three jobs so our faculty members try to support students as they complete their program,” he says. “They also help students think differently about how they manage their own work and life. It’s all about balance.”
The Faculty of Social & Community Services has long-standing relationships with several organizations in the field, giving students an advantage when it comes time to find a job. All graduates from the industry-recognized Humber leave with the knowledge, skills and experience that employers are looking for.
Moving toward a more inclusive college
Last year, Beckford and his colleague developed the first-ever anti-Black racism breadth course, which is available to all students at Humber.
“It’s become clear, over the last year at least, that not everyone feels as if they’re safe or even belong in certain public spaces but I think the college is taking the right steps to get there,” he says.
Beckford also leads the African American Employee Resource Group, another first for the college. “They’re really looking at anti-Black racism in a different way, unlike any other college I’ve seen. It’s crucial that we’re taking an active role in breaking down those barriers for students and staff.”
Humber College also has an accessible learning department that’s open to any student in need of personal support or academic assistance. In combination, these services and supports are helping to make Humber a more inclusive place for staff and students.
To browse the collection of community engagement programs, click here.
Programs have intakes in the fall, winter and some in the spring, providing students with options.