People of Georgian: Social worker embodies inclusion, belonging

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The Georgian community is full of unique, inspiring perspectives —and we’re sharing them as part of an ongoing series.

People of Georgian: Meet Jermaine James

Everyone needs to have a sense of belonging.

It doesn’t matter age, race, ethnicity. It doesn’t matter whether your function is considered normal or abnormal – no one is excluded.

My favourite quote is from the late Dr. Martin Luther King about how our children “should not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

A selfie of a person sitting in a restaurant next to a window.
Jermaine is an alumnus of Georgian’s Social Service Worker program.

When I was introduced to the fields of social work and mental health through programming at Georgian, I saw that they complemented my passion for impacting other people’s lives in a positive way.

My time at Georgian made me observe and reflect a whole lot because it’s a place that promotes change, positivity and innovation. I asked myself: what else can I do to create an atmosphere for someone else where they never feel alone?

Then, I got hired into a group home setting, working with non-verbal children and teenagers on the spectrum who have multiple disorders.

It opened my eyes to a broader dimension; it caused me to look deeper within myself. I felt driven to ensure they were all part of the EDI&B acronym – equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging.

Seeing smiles on the faces of my clients reinforces I’m on the right track more than anything. To see them open the door before their parents, or screaming your name at the window in excitement, jumping up and down… it’s worth more than anything else. It sounds cliché but the paycheque doesn’t matter.

A headshot of a person posing with an arm across their chest and one up toward their face.

‘You must be a friend with yourself first’

The real emphasis of my passion is connecting with all individuals and helping them connect to their purpose, their destiny, their hope.

The one thing that many of us really need to come to terms with is something actually very simple: be yourself. Do your love yourself? Do you love your soul? If you do, how you treat your soul is how you treat someone else.

So, if you don’t take good care of yourself, then you can never take care of a friendship because you must be a friend with yourself first.

That’s how I do it in my everyday life – being my own friend first. If I can trust me, then you can trust me with you.

Jermaine James, alumnus of Georgian’s Social Service Worker program at the Orillia Campus.

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