It was September of 2013 when I first walked through the doors of The Cridge Child Care Centre. I interviewed for a support worker position at the School Age Care program, and I instantly felt like I belonged. I started to work with a child with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), later with a boy with cerebral palsy and seizure disorder. In 2015, I was mentored by Ben, the School Age Care coordinator. This experience helped me gain confidence in talking to parents and to bring a positive attitude to our team. Later, I became a team lead — a stepping stone to become the School-Age Care Coordinator in August of 2015.

Training to become the coordinator was one of the best experiences of my life. Thanks to the mentorship of Ben, I was able not only to learn the admin side of things but also learned to be a leader and the importance of teamwork. Over the years, I realized that we fail or succeed as a team. For example, a successful team increases parents’ confidence to leave their children in our care.

As time went by, I discovered how valuable being a leader at The Cridge Centre was. I got to see a full scope of the people we serve and the lives we change every day through every Cridge program. I was honoured to participate in events like Survive-Strive-Thrive organized by The Cridge Brain Injury program. I worked with the vulnerable families of The Cridge Supportive Housing and Young Parent Outreach program. I was able to go to the Seniors’ Centre and share stories with the wonderful folks up there. Every time, my heart felt full for The Cridge Centre, and I knew this was my home for a long time.

In early 2020 I experienced what many leaders experience — total burnout. The job was no longer joyful for me; it was just about surviving each day. So, in the spring of 2020, I decided to step down as the School Age Care Coordinator, which coincided with the pandemic’s start.

Less than two years later, I began to feel an overwhelming sense that my journey at The Cridge Centre for the Family was far from over. Every time I stepped into the childcare building, I felt a stronger desire to return each day. Soon after, my old position as coordinator opened up. I’m grateful to say that I was rehired on January 1st, 2022. Since being back, I have realized that I didn’t step away because I was incapable of doing my job or failing as a leader. I stepped away because I was afraid to ask for help and let the incredibly supportive staff around me know that I was struggling. I forgot to pray and to listen.

From now on, I am committed to listening, praying, and keeping an open heart for whatever experience will come my way. I am so grateful for The Cridge Centre. There’s no place like home.

Tim Latour, The Cridge School Age Care Coordinator.