Sean Janes is one of the longest serving member of staff at Fernie Youth Services. interestingly enough, he was never officially hired. He did his university placement at Fernie, while he was pursuing his degree in criminology and fell in love with the work being done and just never left. We spoke with Sean to learn a little more about his story.
How would your friend describe who you are?
My friends say that I’m a smart, loyal, generous and loving person. I’ve also been told that I’m a silo of trivial knowledge about random things. They think I have a good sense of humor.
What are the three things you’re most passionate about?
I’m most passionate about my family, working with youth, and social justice.
How have those passions affected your growth as a person?
My passions, my philosophy, and my work ethic are highly influenced by my single-mother upbringing. From early on in life I was sure that I wanted to work within the justice system; it was that early influence that has led me here to Fernie.
How did you come to join Fernie Youth?
I was 8-months into a career working as a Tool & Die Apprentice when I realized that working for a paycheck wasn’t at all fulfilling. I decided to go back to school and study Criminology, with the goal of working in Probation/ Corrections. Four years into my Bach. Of Criminology at UOIT I started a work placement with Fernie. After getting my first taste of the work that they do, I realized that I would rather serve youth than adults. I really connected with Fernie Youth’s approach and faith-based message. I also found a deep cultural and philosophical connection with the people and culture of the organization.
So I guess that the management at Fernie Youth saw something in you too?
Well there’s a funny story about that. I was never really actually offered a job after my placement ended – I just kept showing up as a volunteer and refused to leave until they finally offered me a paid position.
What is your role here at Fernie?
I have many roles here at Fernie. I’m the Master Trainer – I train all the ministry mandated programs and policies here. I’m also the Fernie Works Program Coordinator and the On-Call Supervisor for Fernie Youth Transition House.
How do youth value the work you do?
I have been able to build relationships with the Fernie Clients based on trust, reliability and caring. Through positive feedback and a general sentiment of reciprocation, I feel that the youth appreciate and value my efforts.
What three words would you use to describe Fernie’s culture?
Well, this is an organization where relationships are highly regarded. So Collaboration is one of the words I would use. Authentic is another word that I would use to describe the culture here, in regards to the purpose of the mission and to the staff’s dedication to that mission. Grassroots, all of the programming and initiatives are developed from genuine and organic needs present in the community.
What are you most proud of as it regards to what Fernie does?
I’m most proud of when we successfully gain personal investment from the youth. This buy-in from the clients is demonstrated when they return to Fernie to show how they have grown and built upon the foundations that they were given here.
Why should others choose to support Fernie Youth Services?
We have staff that truly care about the programs and the youth served by the organization. We are constantly looking for new ways to serve youth, instead of becoming complacent.
Is there a moment or memory of working here that stands out for you?
In my role as Master Trainer with Fernie Works, I occasionally have to upgrade my skills and acquire new certifications. Early on in this role, I had to study for a difficult course to become a provincially recognized Exterminator. I felt a bit overwhelmed and I had no confidence in my ability to pass this course. After a personal pep talk from Pat (Executive Director), I was motivated to not only take the test but ace it! By accomplishing this very intimidating goal, I have been able to find ways to use this experience to help youth to overcome their own internal hurdles.
What was your favorite subject in high school?
I really enjoyed History.
What’s your hidden talent?
I am very talented at playing games. All sorts of games actually, card games, board games, and video games. As for hidden talents, I know how to make vape juice for e-cigarettes.
What does success mean to you?
For me, success simply means being happy. No matter what I’m doing in life as long as I am happy and the people around me are happy, I am successful.
What advice would you give to the teenage version of yourself?
I would tell my younger self to be brave and bold. That he shouldn’t be afraid to talk to the cute girls, they are just as nervous about themselves as you are. Rejection is OK.
Where is your happy place?
I‘m happiest when I am at home. Either my house or my mother’s house.
What type of music do you listen to?
I enjoy various types. In order – Metal, EDM, Old Rap
Who were some of your favorite artists when you were a teenager?
Tool, Limp Bizkit, Method Man, Immortal Technique, Metallica, Linkin Park, Korn, Disturbed, Eminem
Do you have any favorite sports teams? Do you play any sports?
I played baseball for 10 years, soccer for 3. I do not currently play anymore. I am a fan of all the Toronto sports teams. I never understood somebody being born in Toronto and rooting for another city’s team.