Jenny McGrath has been a child and youth care worker for almost a decade. During the last eight years, she was employed with the St. Francis Foundation in St. John’s, NL.
Jenny McGrath is an illustration of effective youth care work. She is creative, responsive to the needs of the young people and families, and confident in her approach (she
uses more “Angles with Attitudes” cards than anyone!). Jenny is always looking for opportunities to promote insight and learning. She is a strong advocate for young people
and families, and builds positive relationships with them. Many young people that Jenny has worked with still maintain contact with her years after leaving the program. The
attached testimonial illustrate the impact she has had on the lives of the young people and families with whom she has worked.
Recently I ran into a young person that Jenny worked with in open custody three years ago. He smiled, asked about Jenny and said that he had given her a very hard time
when they first met. As they continued to work together the young person said that Jenny helped him begin to get his high school credits during his stay in open custody and
also supported him when he began to make positive changes to his involvement with drugs and crime. He told me how well he was doing now and how he began to turn
his life around when he was working with Jenny as well as that he believes that if he didn’t “end up in open custody, I wouldn't have graduated high school.” Now he is not
involved with drugs and crime, and is looking for work and going to continue with his post-secondary education. He wanted to make sure that I told Jenny how he was doing.
He was so proud of his accomplishments and wanted to hank Jenny for the same.
In addition to her exceptional work with clients, Jenny is also diligent in her commitment to learning and personal growth. Three years ago, Jenny finished her Master’s
Degree in Family Support. She completed her practicum on the St. Francis Foundation’s fledgling Family Support Program, and her work in this area was instrumental in
the development and expansion of the program. Jenny then went on to work in and supervise the Family Support Program for the next three years. The following are
comments from her co-workers and clients about her work in this program.
Fantastic person! Jenny helped us in so many ways I can’t say it in a couple of words. I don’t even know what words to say. Any time we would call her, she’d be right here—”
Johnny-on-the-spot.” I don’t know where we would be without her—I definitely don’t know where my son would be. She’s fantastic! We think of her as a friend.
As both a placement student, whom Jenny supervised, and as a co-worker, at the St. Francis Foundation, only one word comes to mind when I think of her - admiration. I
feel privileged for having been able to meet her, work with her, learn from her, and no call her a close friend. In my opinion and experience, Jenny exemplifies everything a
CYCW should be— knowledgeable, empathic, open, kind, and determined. She demonstrates compassion, commitment, and most of all, a tremendous love of her work.
She is also truly dedicated to the advancement of the field of Child and Youth Care. Not only is she an advocate and role model for those with whom she works, she
exemplifies through teaching, what it truly means to call oneself a CYCW. I can think of no other individual who deserves such an honour and recognition for her efforts. She
is by for, one of the best CYCW’s I know!
Jenny is also committed to professional development, and has been an active member of the Child and Youth Care Association of Newfoundland and Labrador for several
years. From 2002-2006 she served as vice-president. She was active in the planning of the National Child and Youth Care Conference in 2002, and the Provincial Child and
Youth Care Conference in 2006. Jenny was also involved in the development of the first child and youth care diploma program in NL, and was a part-time instructor in that
program from 2003-2006. Here are some comments from her students:
Jenny has brought to our class an insurmountable amount of knowledge. Her outgoing and compassionate nature is an immediate attraction.
She’s a fabulous person who really understands and cares.
Jenny is well educated and helps others understand what she teaches. She is approachable and puts 100% into her work and is considered a mentor to myself and others.
Jenny is very understanding, supportive, and a great role model. She is passionate about her work and makes learning fun and entertaining.
Sadly for NL, Jenny was recently recruited by Grant MacEwan College in Alberta to teach in their Child and Youth Care program. She started her new position in August,
2006. They are very lucky to have her.
For her ongoing commitment to excellent in child and youth care, Jenny McGrath deserves to be the recipient of the 2006 National Child and Youth Care Worker Award.
David Walsh, President
Lori Leonard, Vice-President
|Jenny McGrath, National Child and Youth
Care Award recipient and Heather Modlin,
President of the Council.
Photo Credit: Mark Kelly