Finding extra courage: Aela’s journey

Aela and Peter at Aela’s workplace.

Aela and Peter at Aela’s workplace.

When Aela Smith moved to Victoria from Saskatchewan, she was looking for a change. She moved to be closer to family and to focus on her wellbeing. A few months after arriving, Aela was hospitalized and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It was then that she got connected with a health care team that helped her find the right balance of medication and therapy for her mental health. She also learned about CLBC, and after confirming her eligibility with CLBC, she was connected to services to help her reach her goals, using CLBC support for employment and schooling.

Over the next year, Aela got a job at Bulk Barn and earned a promotion to a supervisor position. She moved to working at a dispensary, where she is also a supervisor. Apart from work, Aela is working towards getting her high school diploma. To support her overall wellbeing, Aela loves to be around horses, to spend time with her boyfriend, and to go to the local farmer’s market in Victoria.

“It has been extremely inspiring to see the growth and resilience in Aela since I started working with her in September 2021,” says Peter Buitendyk, a CLBC facilitator in the Victoria, “She has made efforts to overcome her struggles and mental health to pursue her life goals and make the world a better place. She is just a wonderful person.”

Aela said her outlook on life has changed from being a negative person to seeing the possibility in life. She feels connected to her community in a way she didn’t before.

When asked what contributed to this, Aela speaks to healthy habits like sleep and going for walks, but also emphasized the importance of getting the help you need.

“It was not an overnight process,” Aela says, “but I think being on the right medication, getting the proper resources and actually not just getting resources but utilizing them. Anyone can offer you resources, but it takes extra courage to actually step out and use one of them. To call somebody or to get in touch with support services takes courage.”

Aela hopes to start volunteering at an equestrian therapy session and to study psychology to be able to help people how she herself was helped.

“I’ve also been through a lot of mental health problems myself, through lots of different things in my life that really shaped who I am as a person, so I want to be able to turn around and give back to the community.”

Supporting Aela in her search for employment and education is part of CLBC’s mandate to advance inclusion in B.C. communities.

This entry was posted in CLBC Services, Employment, Homepage News, What's New and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.