"Planting The Seeds and Ideas of Change" Through a Career in the Not-For-Profit Sector
When Derek Newman graduated from Laurentian University with a Masters Degree in Human Development he sent out fifty job applications to prospective employers. He did his due diligence and followed up his letters with appropriate phone calls. Out of all of those applications, he ended up with two interviews, and found himself in a position as the Youth Program Coordinator with the Sudbury Action Centre for Youth.  That was in 2004 and now, almost four years later, Derek considers himself to be in one of the most satisfying jobs he could ever imagine.

Derek was the special guest March 24, 2008 on “Inside Education”, a local talk show on CKLU 96.7 FM that is broadcast live every Monday evening at 6 p.m. from the studios at Laurentian University. Robert Kirwan, an Independent Education & Career Development Specialist who operates a private practice called The Greater Sudbury Learning Clinic, is the producer and host of the program which consists of an engaging conversation with a person from a different career field each week. The purpose of the show is to provide listeners with some valuable down-to-earth insight and information which may prove helpful for those who are looking for tips and strategies that will help them become more successful in their current or future careers.  

Derek explained that while completing his undergraduate degree in Psychology he thought about entering a career in law. In time, as he pursued his Masters degree and took part in a number of volunteer placements, he realized how much he enjoyed working with youth. In his current role he is responsible for developing programs that will help young people turn their lives around. Many of the clients who come through the doors of the Sudbury Action Centre for Youth are homeless, or have been through devastating ordeals involving drugs, sexual abuse or criminal activity. They all have one thing in common. They want to make something of their life and become positive contributors to society. Derek and the staff of the Sudbury Action Centre for Youth are there to help them do just that.

Working for a non-profit corporation is a real challenge. "We are constantly searching for ways to raise money so that we can enhance our programs. We do not operate the same way as a private business would function. We do not make profits. We provide a service, not only to the clients who come to us, but also to the entire community. If we can help the young people who come to us become better persons and help them begin the road to recovery, then we have effectively improved the community. It is a very satisfying career."

With over 10,000 visits per year, and anywhere from 20 to 30 clients using their facilities at any given time, the Sudbury Action Centre for Youth is a very busy place. Derek also has a great deal of freedom to use his initiative and think outside the box when it comes to program development. He has produced two important documentaries while with the Sudbury Action Centre for Youth. The first (released in 2006) was entitled "What We've Learned-A Youth Perspective on Substance Misuse" and he has just recently released his second (in March 2008) , called "What We've Learned-A Youth Perspective on Sexual Assault.”

Derek and the performers, who are all from the Sudbury Action Centre For Youth, take these documentaries on tour to various schools across Ontario, providing young people with insight and perspectives that may help them make wise choices in their own lives.

Derek advises all young people who are trying to decide upon a career to spend a lot of time volunteering and making connections with people who are involved with the careers in which you are interested. Do your research and give consideration to working in the not-for-profit sector. You will find a very worthwhile and satisfying career awaits you which will allow you to feel good about "Planting The Seeds and Ideas of Change".


The Learning Clinic is The Private Practice of
Robert Kirwan, B.A. (Math), M.A. (Education), OCT
4456 Noel Crescent, Val Therese, ON P3P 1S8
Phone: (705) 969-7215    Email:    rkirwan@thelearningclinic.ca

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