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Social Service Worker
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Contact North | Contact Nord is a free, local bilingual service to help residents in 1,500+ rural and remote Ontario communities access online programs and courses from colleges, universities and training providers without having to leave their communities.
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Terri-Lynne Jones doesn’t like to rest on her laurels. She’s passionate about education, eager to explore diverse learning options, and determined to give back by sharing her knowledge with the community she loves.
“Growing up, education was always of importance,” Terri-Lynne says. “My mom used to say, ‘You have to stay busy, you have to have more than work and raising kids. Whatever you love to do, just keep your mind busy.’
“I’ve always been taking little courses here and there, and I’d been wanting to get back to school for years. Life has a way of taking lots of unexpected turns. When I had my son, finding a way to get back to school and raise him and do what I needed to do was a bit of a journey, but I ended up with some pretty good jobs.
“I love Contact North. I can e-mail Tynessa (Education & Training Advisor at the Brantford Online Learning Centre) and her suggestions are always on point. She’s definitely listening and can hear where my passions lie.”
“After my last job, I wondered what I was going to do. But as they say, when one door closes another one opens.”
Terri-Lynne, now 49, grew up in Brantford. After many years in Toronto, she’s now back in the community she calls home.
With support from Contact North | Contact Nord, she has taken courses on everything from equity and diversity to roots and resiliency to reaching youth through sports.
“I love Contact North,” Terri-Lynne says. “I really do. I can e-mail Tynessa (an Education & Training Advisor at the Brantford online learning centre) and her suggestions are always on point. Everything Tynessa sends, it’s like, ‘Tynessa, I want to hug you through this screen!’ She’s definitely listening and can hear where my passions lie.”
Now enrolled in the two-year Social Service Worker diploma program at Mohawk College, Terri-Lynne spent the first year studying 100% online — and now she looks forward to taking second-year classes in person at Mohawk’s Six Nations Polytechnic campus. Being on campus is hugely appealing for her, partly because of the diversity of the community.
“I’m very passionate about representation,” she says. “The face of Brantford is changing. The faces of cities are changing. What happens in a community — I want to dive deep into that.”
As for her choice of social service work, Terri-Lynne says it’s a natural fit.
“I’ve always had a love of people, a love of service. I’ve always volunteered to help others. I saw it growing up. My mom was one of 16 kids. My grandparents also fostered children, so it’s in the blood to give back.
“Really you’re just a choice away. Your decision-making determines a lot in social service work and thankfully I’ve made some good decisions. I really believe I can be inspiring to young people, even adults. Everybody has a story.”
Once her studies at Mohawk end, Terri-Lynne hopes to build a career with an organization that aligns with her own approach to life.
“I’m an optimist,” she says. “I always like to look at, “What do you do well? Let’s work from the positives instead of the negatives.’ I love youth. I root for the underdog all the time. I like to see people win, however they get there, and I’d like to get into a strength-based organization where there’s more healing and you get to the root of things. Once you do that, the sky’s the limit.”