Wood's Homes Blog

Finding my home at Wood's Homes

February 13, 2019
By Daina Havens, Wood's Homes Program Manager
Finding my home at Wood's Homes

As a Master’s student in the clinical social work stream looking for – yet another – practicum, I had become disenchanted with the practice of experiential learning. In previous years, I had engaged in practicums that left me feeling lackluster, frustrated and exhausted with the system. During this search for the perfect opportunity to develop and expand my clinical ‘palette’, I feel it is also worth mentioning that I was pregnant!

Convinced that I could do it all – the Masters of Social Work program, my clinical hours and raising a baby – I set out on a mission to make this practicum count. Knowing that my daughter would be a mere 12-weeks-old when I began the journey, it became even more important that these hours counted. So, the search began… and it was short.

I took a look at Wood’s Homes overarching values and ethics, and realized they fit with my world view nicely. I had been working in the social work field for many years and learned that a good friend – now an esteemed colleague of mine – was a clinician with the agency. I reached out and expressed my interest in working at Wood’s Homes, and they supported my application.

Not long after, I walked into an interview with my future supervisor, seven months’ pregnant and eager to impress. He was kind, critical in his questions and not at all phased by my request for irregular hours in order to support my child care needs during this experience. It was my first engagement with Wood’s Homes staff and the values I had read about shone through.

Fast forward nine months. I’m a new graduate with a Master’s degree in Social Work, with six weeks of maternity leave left to spend with my daughter prior to returning to the workforce. I’m furiously seeking a job opportunity that will continue to offer me challenge, growth and support. So I thought to myself, why look past Wood's Homes!

I applied for a support role with Family Support Network, but the manager and I agreed it was not the role for me. I was then referred on to one of the other 45+ programs the agency offers and found my place with the Temple Program. Within weeks of beginning my new role as Team Leader, I was offered a role as Program Manager of the Temple Adult Programs. I have been spinning ever since, both literally and figuratively!

The work is challenging on all levels, forcing me to push my edges and grow daily, but I’m supported openly and endlessly by my superiors and peers. I have come to call this my ‘forever career home’ with comfort and exhilaration, and look forward to developing myself for many years to come with Wood’s Homes.

Those values that first drew me to this agency shine through every day in our practice and duty to care for those we serve and employ. The transition into this role for me was swift, but not uncalculated or without collaboration and concern for long-term success of all those involved. I sometimes wonder where I might have ended up if my practicum had landed somewhere else. I like to think that the universe supported the opportunity for me choose Wood’s and for Wood’s to choose me, and I am grateful for this every day.