Village of Hope Stories – Erin


Erin’s story: “When I got here, I knew this was where I was meant to be.”

I was at a point where I was looking for help but wasn’t sure where to go. Dave Smith was recommended to me by someone I knew. I didn’t agree to it right away. It was another month or two before Erin Johnston graduated from the University of Victoria with a degree in child and youth care – but she never actually went to British Columbia because of the pandemic. All her classes were online from her home near Ottawa. In some ways, her real classroom was at the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre (DSYTC) where she completed her internship and never looked back.

“When I got here, I knew this was where I was meant to be,” says Erin. “They welcomed me with open arms – and masks!”

Erin says this work has always been in her wheelhouse. Her parents fostered teenage girls when she was growing up, she spent summers at a camp in New Jersey and she studied social work at Algonquin College.

Now, she is an Addiction Counsellor and the Campus Lead in Carleton Place. “Every day, I see someone who comes in with hesitation or perhaps pressure. This might not be their first choice of where to be. But we see them press into the program and transform their lives, right before our eyes.”

Perhaps the best part of the job is meeting a graduate and talking about the impact of the program: “It’s a solid reminder of why we get up every day and come here,” she says. “Big changes can happen in a short amount of time.”

Erin says she is really excited to move to the new building, with everyone under one roof. “We will be able to share resources and bounce ideas of each other,” she says. “We can look at ways to move forward together.”

Erin is the Campus Lead and an Addictions Counsellor in Carleton Place.


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