Village of Hope Stories – Shana


Shana’s story: “I think the biggest thing for me is to get my students engaged in their academics, in their life, and in wanting to be a lifelong learner. My overall goal is for my students to embrace their self-worth and have hope about their futures.”

As a teacher at the boys’ facility in Carleton Place since 2012. I provide academic support to our clients, primarily for grades nine to 12. I try my best to tailor the curriculum to where they’re at when they arrive. They may be close to graduating and need to finish some credits, or they may be in grade nine and just starting out with compulsory courses. Some guys come in who haven’t been in school for years. In a lot of ways, it’s like a one-room schoolhouse where everyone is working at their own level and towards their own personal goals.

They all come in with different abilities, different interests, and different educational needs. It’s about trying to meet them where they are, understand their goals for when they leave DSYTC, and figure out, sometimes day by day, what will work best for them to be successful. I think the biggest thing for me is to get them engaged in their academics, in their life, and in wanting to be a lifelong learner. My overall goal is for my students to embrace their self-worth, have hope about their futures and to become reconnected with themselves. Finding opportunities to empower my students to expand their knowledge of various post-secondary options and careers that interest them is so important. This helps build their confidence and get them excited for their futures.

When I was in university, I did a placement at a provincial group home school for students with mental health issues. It was a unique placement in a smaller setting, and I walked away from that experience thinking that this was something I’d really like to do one day. The opportunity to work one-on-one with students is so rewarding. While I did start out in a mainstream high school, I also spent 10 years working with students in a day program at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre before I applied to the DSYTC, whose philosophy and approach really appealed to me. Having all these different supports in place and being able to go to school while living in treatment is huge for these kids, so they don’t miss out on their academics.

I think the services DSYTC provides are close to all of us. I think that people should know that the clients here are amazing humans who are working hard to improve their lives. Their effort, courage, and perseverance are admirable. There is so much support here, and the clients are learning strategies – and gaining insights – that they’ll have with them for the rest of their lives. You can’t wave a magic wand and never have any issues arise again as life is unpredictable. But they are learning so many skills that they’re going to take with them that go far beyond the reasons they came here in the first place.

All my students inspire me in different ways. Observing the growth and work they are investing in themselves by taking advantage of the opportunity to catch up academically or work ahead is quite inspiring. Those moments when you see things coming together or when you witness them express excitement about their future endeavors are the best days! It is a privilege I am proud to be a part of.

Shana Kendall is a teacher at the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre.


There’s been a lot of progress made on the new build!


112 Willowlea Road,
Carp, Ontario K0A 1L0
613-594-8333 ext.1201
Charitable Registration # 88992 6242 RR0001