We had the pleasure of interviewing one of the most recommended instructors at Reeve College, Nick Townsend. Nick has worked at Reeves College as an Addictions & Community Services Worker at the Lethbridge campus since March 2018. Nick had previously known someone who was already instructing at Reeves College. He then applied as a part-time instructor and gradually moved into full-time role teaching both morning and evening classes.
Nick possesses rich professional and work experience. In 2000, he studied drug and alcohol counselling then worked in the field of Addiction and Community Services. Nick's desire to work on the frontlines and within his community also encouraged him to get another higher education component at Lethbridge University. In addition, Nick is experienced in running support groups, group counselling, and running programs within a correctional centre. He's also run a life skills group for the community in Lethbridge for several years.
"A few years ago in 2019, we went to hand out stuff with students. We didn't preach anything but instead focused on helping. The cornerstone is finding out what people want, whether it's a warm meal or a safer place to stay, finding out if they want to stop doing what they are doing," says Nick T.
The most rewarding part of Nick's job is that he is doing what he set out to do years ago by working together with the community to find solutions and be a part of the conversation. Not to mention that he loves working with so many passionate students.
Nick shares a story of one student who saw what the community around her needed. Within two months, she organized two pickup trucks to donate warm clothing and other necessities.
The second student was a previous correctional officer whose grandson struggled with addiction. The student now wants to help people, like he wanted his grandson to have gotten help.
A challenging part of being an instructor is making sure that all students are on the same page and acknowledging that everyone learns differently. In addition, understanding stress and anxiety and helping students overcome that to reach their academic goals makes the challenge extremely worth it.
Nick goes on to discuss the controversies of safe consumption sites for vulnerable populations to have safe places without overdosing:
"We can do nothing in harm reduction, but if we do that, we will have more overdoses and more diseases that could have been prevented. Instead, we can collectively come together to help the community. Places to give them the support with no judgement can make a difference."
Plans for the Future
Within Reeves College, Nick wants to help students and give them the skills they need to help the community to be that person that individuals can go to. In addition, preparing students to be as prepared as they can be.
According to Nick, community-minded and empathetic students seem to excel in this field. He also adds that the Addictions and Community Services Worker program at Reeves College gives you all the essential info to get you right into the field.
Click here to learn more about the Addictions and Community Services Worker diploma program here.