UFV helped Jacqueline Strating of Abbotsford discover and develop her passion for helping others. And now her education is helping her make a difference in the lives of marginalized women and their families on two continents.
Jacqueline, who recently completed her Master of Social Work at UFV, is the 2018 winner of the Governor General’s Gold Medal, awarded to the student graduating from a master’s degree program with the highest GPA.
It’s hard to beat Jacqueline’s: it was a perfect 4.33, good for an A+ average.“I was always interested in understanding people and social justice issues,” notes Jacqueline. “When I first started my bachelor’s degree I was interested in human trafficking issues.”
Her Bachelor of Social Work studies expanded that interest into women’s health and mental health fields.
“UFV helped me find my place of passion.”
Jacqueline completed her bachelor’s degree in 2014 and began working part time as a youth and family counsellor at Alouette Addictions Services in Maple Ridge. She also started to work part time as sponsorship and programs manager for Hope for Korah, an Abbotsford-based non-profit agency dedicated to helping families in Korah, Ethiopia, an urban slum with an estimated 130 000 people situated near the city garbage dump.Hope for Korah runs family empowerment programs funded by North American sponsors, aimed at lifting families out of extreme poverty through helping its clients, mainly women and families, with job skills and literacy training. They use a holistic approach that addresses families’ economic, social, physical, spiritual, and psychological needs.
“Many of our participants start our programs completely illiterate. We set them up with the skills they need to get a job or start their own small business.”She has visited the Hope for Korah location in Ethiopia several times and formed close ties with the client families and the Ethiopian employees, including social workers.
“It’s such a privilege to develop close personal relationships with the people of Korah,” she says “When I see the progress they make it’s a source of real pride for me.”
Working for Hope for Korah inspired Jacqueline to enroll in UFVs Master of Social Work program because she saw a need for research that evaluates the work the organization is doing, measures results, and makes recommendations for the future.Her research study focused on culturally relevant strategies and resources to promote physical and mental health for women in poverty in Korah.