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Students transformed through kidsLINK placement

Safe place to plant seeds of change movements

By:  Kristian Partington

It’s been seven years since Emily Gray stepped from the life of a student to that of a professional helping young people living with mental health issues and their families, but her ongoing work supervising university placement students at kidsLINK keeps her well connected to the ambitions of future field workers.

“It keeps me sharp,” she says.

“Having to explain what I’m doing and why is really good practice for me. I also find I learn a lot from my students through their questions, but also when they bring readings in or ideas that they’ve been hearing in the classroom.”

The students work in intake where they participate in assessments and short-term counselling. They also work as part of the walk-in counselling team at Front Door.

“The thing I think I enjoy the most is watching students go from really tentative, nervous students who really often question how much they have to offer, to people who have seen the value of what they can do and feel really confident going out into the field to practice,” Emily says.

“Students find this to be a really safe place to experiment and try things and sometimes fail.”

“That can be a scary thing to do for anyone, but the culture kidsLINK has developed that has a real focus on safety has really enabled students to feel more comfortable and confident trying things here, knowing they’ll be supported regardless of how things go.”

Placement students grow and learn in a progressive environment that teaches the value of wellness and resilience from a trauma-informed perspective, and Emily says her greatest hope as she and the team nurture the development of tomorrow’s professionals is that they take all they learn and apply it in their careers.

“Ten years from now, we’ll have professionals across the country who are speaking wellness, promoting resilience and who are trauma-informed in their practice,” Emily envisions.

“I see the start of a movement because we are in a position where we are affecting or impacting the future of the field when we’re working with students.”

If you have questions, comments or a story to share, please contact 800-294-0051, ext. 24, or e-mail kristian(at)