Making a Difference

Residential school trauma, parenting challenges, anger – just some of the issues Valerie Joseph helps people deal with on a daily basis. A group facilitator and counsellor with Warriors Against Violence and previously the residential manager at the Atira Women’s Resource Centre, Valerie has worked with Aboriginal Non-Profit organizations for nearly 20 years and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

She worked for the bigger agencies in the past but prefers the personal, family atmosphere that flourishes in the non-profit organizations that have become her home. “With Aboriginal Non-Profit organizations,” she explains, “it’s not a stressful or chaotic environment. It’s respectful. They offer equal opportunities. Co-worker are considerate to each other and we are given a lot of freedom and creativity in a lot of areas. There’s just no constant competition to be top dog.”

Valerie often gets asked why she has stayed for so long in the organizations she’s been with. “They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself,” she replies. “And they continue to allow me to believe in myself and let my capabilities grow. They let me explore my options and try new things.”

So what’s her advice for others? “If you’re going into this work to help others and make a difference, it’s a great place to be. If you’re in it to get rich, it won’t be. You can’t fake it. If your heart isn’t in it, you won’t succeed.”