Author: Shara Lee
Proud TWU parent and former student helps struggling teens and their families.
Gordon Hay only did one semester at Trinity Western—but a volunteer experience at a local custody centre with fellow classmates set him on the path to his passion.
Attending TWU opened up many opportunities for the visiting student from Manitoba. He made solid friendships and took a New Testament class. But it was that volunteer experience that opened his eyes to the field of social service. When he went home at the end of the semester, he landed his first job as a relief youth counsellor.
After 14 years of working in social services, Hay launched Venture Academy, an organization that provides educational services and treatment for struggling adolescents. “I felt it was unacceptable that so many families didn’t have access to the help they wanted,” he says.
Hay’s program addresses the problems of each teen holistically, starting with a psychological assessment. The results are then used to create a personalized treatment plan. During the day, teens attend classes at the treatment centre; at night they stay with pre-approved Venture Academy host families. “This may be the first time these teens engage with family in a healthy way,” says Hay.
Now the proud parent of a first-year TWU business student, Hay has enjoyed reconnecting with the University through Parent Weekend events. And although he didn’t earn his degree at Trinity Western, Hay believes he was here for a reason. “I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing today if it weren’t for TWU,” he says.