“I am writing this letter on behalf of the P.A.C.E. Program. I feel that this program has helped me in so many ways because if it wasn’t for this program I wouldn’t be in school at the moment. This program has helped me cope with all my problems that I have in life, and this program helped me express those problems and it also helped me deal with them to the best of my ability. I think that if this program left that there wouldn’t be that much students coming anymore, because this program helps out a lot of kids that have a lot of problems to cope with.”
“My name is Marliece. I am a grade 12 student. I’ve been in the P.A.C.E. program for 3 years. It was a great feeling to have support though my tough times and minor problems over the years. P.A.C.E. has been my #1 support. Sometimes I’d come to school without lunch money. Cherrie noticed how a lot of students were the same, so she thought about the breakfast program and how their bagels would go to waste, so why not use them in the program. Later on, there was a fridge, microwave and more. P.A.C.E. is a quiet place to do your work and to think through your problems the right way. The P.A.C.E. program will help other students. If they are ready to talk to them, it would open doors for themselves. P.A.C.E. is like family; they don’t judge or discourage you.”
“If it wasn’t for Ken and Cherrie being in my life and their support they give and the resources they can refer you to, I am not sure where I would stand at this point in my life. There were times in my life where I felt like giving up saying “Hell with it, what’s the point?” And, to let my dreams go. But no, they brought me back to my feet. We talked about what was going on; we had solutions that can be solved. They helped me from giving up on life.
This all began when I was kicked out of my father’s place. I was considered the bad one of the bunch and he felt I was too much to handle. I have been in and out of homes including "The Haven", which is a shelter for youth that’s located in Sarnia. I was drinking, doing drugs as well as not going to school. I ended up making bad choices that endangered my life. This was a huge wake-up call for me. I was given an alternative to attend a treatment plan for alcohol and drugs or be kicked out of school.
After completing the treatment, I am doing well, having a stable place to stay. I have prioritized my life such as not doing drugs and not partying as much as I used to. I am keeping focused on what my goals are: to graduate, complete Black Bear this summer and to be ready for Lambton College in September.”
In Memory of Ava Chauvin
(February 19th, 2000-April 20th, 2018)
I enjoy coming to P.A.C.E. because P.A.C.E. is like a home away from home—a place where they don’t look at you for what mental health state that you are, they look at you like a person. They care. They show you they care by doing everything they can to help you choose the right path. I’ve only been at P.A.C.E. for a couple of months now, and they have pushed me to be a person that I am proud to be today.
— Ava Chauvin
Former P.A.C.E. student, Ava Chauvin, taken from us too soon in a tragic car accident. After completing our program, Ava had gone on to be an amazing student and near graduate of the PSW program. She wanted to do what P.A.C.E. did. She wanted to help others. Ava is deeply missed by all.
“Dear Mr. O’Neil, I just wanted to write and thank your staff for your help and support with my two daughters. As you know, both girls are FASD. Over the past few years the girls have gotten through some difficult situations and you have been there for them. I really feel if you and the wonderful people that work with you were not there in the school for them and other students, I don’t think my girls would still be in school. I know that the girls have said many times that they would have quit school if not for you. Recently, your help and support getting our daughter back on track with her life, was a godsend for our family. She is now involved with the appropriate organizations for her to gain the necessary skills for her to move forward in hopes that she may be an independent adult. The counselling and encouragement that is supplied by your office is much needed for our children going to school off reserve. I hope that this program continues, possibly made a permanent arrangement within the school, because our kids need it. It might be the only way they make it through to graduation.
— R.L. - Walpole Island First Nation
“I am writing this letter to express the importance of the P.A.C.E. program at W.D.S.S. Our son has made use of this program for the past two years, and it has been a tremendous help to him, not only academically, but socially. This program allows our son to attend school with the security of knowing he has somewhere to go when things get to be too much for him in a regular classroom environment. It also gives us the comfort and security of knowing there are trained professionals who know how to handle these situations.
My husband and I are full-time students at Lambton College and are not readily available throughout the day to aid in dealing with situations as they arise. Therefore, the P.A.C.E. program is essential to the learning process of not only our son, but many others who may need the same support.
We believe that without the P.A.C.E. program our son and others like him would not be successful in a school environment. The P.A.C.E. program has provided the opportunity for success. Without this program we believe our son would not be in school and able to obtain his education.”
— P.J.K. - Wallaceburg
“I am writing in to express my appreciation for the P.A.C.E. program that is currently at W.D.S.S. My daughter is currently in the program. She has been involved in the P.A.C.E. program since grade 9. At the beginning we did not know exactly what she was going through. Cherrie and Ken, along with teachers, have worked with her to learn how to deal with her issues, not only at school, but everyday living. She is now in grade 12, doing well. She has to go back for 2 credits next year. I am glad P.A.C.E. will be there for her final year. I feel that if not for this program my daughter would not have made it this far! Going forward in the future years the P.A.C.E. program is going to benefit a lot of students. Thanks to all the P.A.C.E. program support workers that have been there for my daughter.”
— L.H. - Wallaceburg
"If you are looking for a professional counsellor who can help you and your child make positive changes I highly recommend Ken O'Neil. My family was dramatically impacted by the behaviour of our child. We had tried getting help from doctors and various agencies, but had minimal success in improving our situation. Our child began counselling with Ken when he was in grade four, this was the beginning of a change for all of us involved. Ken quickly developed a strong relationship with him, and our child looked forward to meeting with him. Ken was always respectful and non-judgemental. He supported him at school and worked with staff to come up with strategies to control his outburst of anger. He also provided us with methods to use at home to deal with his emotions in a healthy manner. Over the years our child learned to express himself in a positive way. His grades improved and he developed relationships with his peers and family. He went to high school and graduated with good grades. Today is working and he is a kind, well-adjusted young man. My family feels very fortunate that our child had Ken as his counsellor, as he helped us get through this difficult time in our lives."
-- Grateful Parents - Walpole Island First Nation
"I am writing in to express my appreciation for the P.A.C.E. program that I currently have my son involved with. Prior to meeting Ken and his team, our family was struggling with finding helpful resources and supports for our young son who is just only 10 years old. Ken and his team has literally saved our family. Our child was struggling so much with his mental health and our family just felt like we were stuck at a roadblock. We have feared of our child safety at one point in time, we feared of him being removed from the school he was attending, as he was sent home basically on a daily basis. I was at the point where I was considering terminating my full time employment as a personal support worker to stay home with our child because of his special needs. As a mother I felt so helpless for my child. I felt as if I was failing no matter which direction I tried to turn for help. With that all being said! A year has passed since our sons involvement with the P.AC.E program and Ken. We are beyond thrilled to say we have never seen our son thrive as much! He has built confidence, he’s happier, he’s able to manage and cope with feelings, and to top everything all off, he’s thriving in his new school!
Extended family members, psychiatrist, and counsellors have all commented on the change they’ve seen for the better! Many people who are involved in our childs life cannot believe how happy our little boy is from a year ago. Our family cannot begin to express the joy and happiness Ken and his team has brought back to our child and our entire family.
Thank you so much we are truly blessed to be apart of this program and gain the supports we have!"
V.Shipman & W.Shipman Jr- Wallaceburg Ont.