In 2010 I revisited an option for schooling, community and socialization for my children after many wonderful adventures, some challenges and a few location changes around the globe, at Windsor House Community School in North Vancouver http://windsorhouseschool.org/core-principles-2/ . After a year of volunteering, mostly in the primary program, as was required of all families in whatever capacity they were able, I was hired as an Educational Assistant I, Paraprofessional IV, primarily responsible for supporting students with a range of special needs in our unique school environment. I worked with all ages but mostly 7-15, and though I was supporting individuals, the most effective and impactful way to do that was in a small group context that was either friend or interest based. I supported functional connection with each other with emphasis on the FUN part ;D. I worked there through the loss of the building and transition to community sites throughout the GVRD. At this time I got my class 4 driver’s license so that I could drive one of our two 24 seater school buses that transported students to the program that they had signed up for and worked with students two days at Southlands Heritage Farm https://southlandsfarm.pike13.com/pages/farm-school and two days at a range of outdoor learning destinations or at a variety of community locations including a theatre, skating rinks and libraries. What I experienced and learned as a result of my time there was life changing for me and is too much to cover in this brief bio. Other experiences that have had a powerful impact on shaping my values and life purpose and how I work have come from unconventional sources, but if one takes seriously how to do their best work in a caring capacity for human beings, this means undertaking a practice of regular reflection in order to better understand others and oneself in any situation that presents itself. Every single one of us has been a child after all, and it is well understood that the years up to 8 are the ones in which we form most, if not all, of our core beliefs about who we are and can be, and how we perceive the world and others in relation to ourselves. Being exposed to a diverse range of worldviews, values and perspectives from the diverse milieu in which I found myself and my own practice of developing my self reflection and critical thinking helped me to challenge, reframe and refine or release some unconsciously conditioned values that don’t serve my values or purpose in life. These experiences included being a homestay family for international students ranging in age from mid teen to young adult, over a twenty year period, working as a high reach forklift operator during the early morning shift in a very multicultural workplace environment, so that I could homeschool my three children during the day, elder care and companionship for a 90 year old WWII vet until the end of his life at 92, respite care for adults with special needs, and pursuing my own interest and work to learn about and heal trauma through a year long course led by Gabor Mate with a study pod of 18 others including therapists, coaches and social workers. My experiences have resulted in me believing that a sense of belonging and mattering is essential for healthy development and self esteem https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belongingness and my experience at Windsor House made me aware of how important it is to bring a lot of awareness and consciousness to what we want to pass down and what we are unconsciously passing down https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enculturationhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidden_curriculum. My intention when I’m working is that every child that I work with has an experience that they can count on that my face lights up when I see them and that my joy is authentic, like an auntie or grandparent who will love them no matter what they do and will support and guide them and be interested and invested in them because they matter. We are all family after all, no matter how distant. And whether we know it or not, we all do better when each and every person (creature and environment on the planet) has their needs met to survive and thrive.