Janie Damien

Janie Damien

Working with vulnerable children

Janie Damien

It takes a sensitive soul to be attuned to the needs of society’s most vulnerable people. Janie Damien, a Neuroscience student at Bishop’s, is such a person.

Through her studies, Janie’s increasing awareness of the plight of vulnerable children around the world has made her think about the kind of impact she wants to make after she graduates. One of her professors, Dr. Heather Lawford of the Psychology Department, noticed the potential in her and suggested the B.E.S.T. Projects Fund.

“She pushed me, actually,” says Janie, laughing. “Other people encouraged me to apply as well.”

Because Janie was interested in working with a younger population, she looked into projects that would fit her interest. With a quarter of its population aged 0 to 14, Jamaica was the perfect place for Janie to lend a helping hand to a local organization while gaining important experience.

“I will be working with the Child Rights Initiative (CRI) in Mandeville, a town in the middle of Jamaica,” says Janie. “CRI works to protect children who have been physically, sexually, emotionally and psychologically abused.”

“I will be doing investigative field work with other volunteers,” continues the St-Eustache, Quebec native. “I will be in close contact with children and their family environments. Children are my preferred population to interact with, to assist, to help and to study.”

Janie’s internship will include tasks and responsibilities that she will have in her future career. She will be collecting and documenting information from new clients (mostly children); receiving reports of possible cases of child abuse, neglect and abandonment; planning and managing cases; and counseling.

“This project will provide me with an experiential learning experience and a better understanding of multicultural issues, which will improve my clinical skills to work with children of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds,” says Janie. “These skills are important to strengthen the therapeutic alliance between the clients and myself and produce better treatment outcomes.”

“Thanks to B.E.S.T., I will gain more knowledge, confidence, and initiative that could be really helpful in starting and completing my Honours thesis on a topic related to the internship. These tasks will be an important addition to my professional and personal skills and to my résumé.”