When you’ve worked somewhere for 25 years, you certainly have some stories to tell and experienced memorable moments.
For Bryan Hume, Program Director here at Hull Services, who’s celebrating 25 years with the Agency this year, he’s made a wealth of memories and connections over the years – and we had the opportunity to hear his story and highlights.
“I was a bit of a late bloomer in terms of deciding what I wanted to do in life,” says Bryan. Sometimes it’s about experiencing different jobs before we find our true calling. In Bryan’s younger years, with his career path undecided, he tried his hand at many jobs.
“I worked in record stores. I worked for a courier company. I worked on a construction crew. I worked for Alberta Forest Services flying around in helicopters during forest fire seasons in my 20s.”
What he did enjoy, however, was the energy and enthusiasm young kids bring, so he enrolled at Mount Royal College, where he studied Child and Youth Care.
After some practicums, Bryan ended up working for the Salvation Army Children’s Village, first as a Child Care Counsellor before moving to the school programs.
He worked his way up to program supervisor supervising over 40 kids in four different classrooms. Then, feeling like there was not enough on his plate, he decided he needed a second job.
“I wanted to explore other agencies and the possibilities for a more defined career path so while still working full time at the Salvation Army Children’s Village, I started working relief at Hull Services in the Secure Treatment program. After recognizing the opportunities and team-based feel at Hull I switched it up and moved to full time at Hull and relief at the Children’s Village,” he says.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Since Bryan joined Hull, he’s worked in all of the secured programs, and supported the development of other programs within the Safe Directions continuum such as Stepping Stones, Reflections, and more recently the Youth Recovery Program.
At that time, Reflections became a Hull program. “My arc changed when there was an opportunity to increase the bed count of Reflections. I had spent many years in Secure Services at that point in time, and when the Shaw building was completed in 2009, I moved here as the Reflections Coordinator,” Bryan says.
One of Bryan’s biggest highlights during his time with the Agency has been supporting the development and growth of many teams he’s worked with and making connections with countless children. He can remember interviewing practicum students who became relief counsellors before becoming full-time counsellors.
Another highlight of Bryan’s has been helping build the continuum-based focus for service delivery within Safe Directions and their 13 guiding principles, which were made 18 years ago and have incorporated many Neurosequential Model (NM) strategies.
“Helping programs shift focus to an individualized client centered approach with the belief that kids are doing the best they can given the trauma they’ve experienced is another highlight of mine,” says Bryan.
For Bryan, his work and impact comes in many shapes and forms and provides deep meaning to him. “It’s meaningful from the perspective of supporting youth, helping move them away from unsafe situations to a place of safety and comfort while helping youth find ways to manage the challenges they have had to face.
Bryan says to close oneself off to learning from the young people we work with at the Agency results in missing the most important aspect of our work, as the work we do has always been related to the continuity of care.
Seeing projects and initiatives completed on campus during his tenure has brought Bryan pride, such as the garden at Secure Services, which was a three-year project, or the labyrinth by the school that was recently built.
The projects we do on campus are effective ways to enhance the space for youth and children who live here and enjoy their time on campus.
The pond and teepee in the Reflections yard have been effectively utilized by both staff and youth to engage in discussions and get opportunities to relax from the challenges of being in treatment and be surrounded by new sensory rich experiences.
Also, the music rooms in Reflections and Secure gives the children an opportunity to explore their creative side and see the therapeutic values and benefits of music.
Bryan and the Agency have also established a relationship with #NotInMyCity, an organization launched in 2017 which raises awareness to help prevent and put an end to human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
With Paul Brandt and his wife Liz championing the organization after learning about exploitation and trafficking from their travels, they realized these atrocities were happening here in Canada and our backyard.
Hull became connected with #NotInMyCity in 2018.
The goal was to move away from a competitive siloed service delivery system and bring multiple service providers and systems together with a common focus.
“Because of efforts put into relationships, we have what’s called the Community Response Model – the overarching umbrella in conjunction with #NotInMyCity that outlines how services are provided. We also have the Community Collaboration Team (CCT) which meets weekly,” Bryan says.
CCT reviews youth-based needs in the community, offers suggestions and guidance to case teams around strategies to support someone who’s been sexually exploited. There are also increased communication efforts across the province with #NotInMyCity.
“It is a cutting-edge approach in terms of the way we support each other across large systems and service providers,” says Bryan. And with the recent World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, 2023, increased efforts, initiatives, and communications towards trafficking are paramount.
As Bryan reflects on his time with Hull, what he’s loved is the differences and challenges that each day brings, and it’s not a cookie cutter approach. He gets inspiration from the work we do here and the youth we care for and helping them set attainable goals.
“Each young person we have come into our programs requires a different level of sensitivity, a different level of relationship-connection, and a different level of strategy to deescalate situations. There are many opportunities from the connections we make with each other, the learning we gain through training experiences, the ways we find to relate and connect with kids, and the opportunities to influence different systems to be able to do the work better,” says Bryan.
With the future in mind, Bryan is focused on building a level of community awareness that also meets the needs of youth we serve as they transition and settle into community settings.