New Slave Lake WJS Canada family support manager came to social support work through science and business degrees.
“I wanted to be a doctor,” says Andrew Achoba, with WJS. “That didn’t happen.” Instead he asked himself, “how can I still help people without being a doctor?”
This led him to the social sector.
“I’ve always believed in support,” he says. “I’ve always thought life will be better with the right supports.”
In Slave Lake, WJS provides services for families, people with disabilities, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) assessments and programs for adults and children.
Achoba says he’s from Kamloops, BC because it is the “longest place I’ve lived in my whole life.”
Achoba and his five siblings were born in Nigeria, but grew up all around the world. Their father worked for the United Nations. They lived in a different country every two years – always in major cities.
Achoba and his sister moved to Kamloops 15 years ago.
“We were looking for a country that would give us that family vibe,” says Achoba. They picked Canada.
In Kamloops, Achoba did a bachelor of science and a one-year business post-graduate program at Thompson River University. He just started a masters of business administration from the same university.
“I have plans to retire when I’m 40, that’s seven years from now,” he says. “I want to have my own business.”
Three years ago, Achoba started working for WJS in High Level – first as a family support worker and then as a manager.
“I wanted a place where I would impact change on a broader scale,” he says.
Three months ago, Achoba transferred to Slave Lake to manage the family support program.
The family support program provides four types of support.
One is called family resiliency. This is open to any family with children aged seven to 18. The goal is to increase the families’ well-being. It can include parenting tips and ways to live a more healthy lifestyle.
The other programs exist to help families who are involved with Child Services.
Achoba is focused on helping his staff provide services with a “trauma informed lens” and in “culturally sensitive” ways, he says.
Achoba hasn’t been in Slave Lake long, but is getting involved in the community. He’s joined the Slave Lake Homeless Coalition.
“I love Slave Lake,” he says. “I did buy a house, so I’m here to stay.”