Future Start

This section of FutureStart.ca is focused on providing skills for individuals to transition to living independently. There are a lot of skills needed to live independently that are not often taught to us. Skills like finding our first apartment, budgeting or taking care of our health. It is often just assumed that people know these things, or they will learn by trial and error.

In this section we provide information on finding housing, money management and health (self care, mental health and addictions and sexual health). The information is presented in short workshops which can be used by social workers, youth workers, counselors etc.

The sessions work best if led to a group of young people so they can have discussions and share experiences and knowledge. However, with some modifications, most of the sessions can be done one-on-one as well.

This second phase of FutureStart was a youth employment program that ran between June and September of 2015 and involved a HeartWood facilitator, Lunenburg District Office staff, and nine youth ages 16-24. The young people selected the topics then researched, developed and tested the workshops and materials with another group of youth and service providers.

There are many more topics and each of these could have much more information provided, so our hope is to continue to build on this website in subsequent years. See below for a short video on the process to create the materials and workshops.

Special thanks to:

  • Danielle McCarthy who graphically designed the documents and workshop materials.
  • Lighthouse Now Media who filmed and edited the two videos
  • The Bridgewater Baptist Church for generously letting us use their new facility
  • Those who provided learning sessions and research information: Lunenburg County Sexual Health Centre, Mental Health and Addictions Services, and the Second Story Woman’s Center.
  • The young people who volunteered to test out the workshops and materials: Daniel, Makayla, Kelsey, Megan and Tiffany.



FutureStart 2015 Team Bios:

Jesse Banks
I’m 17 years old, born and raised in Middleton, and now I live in Bridgewater. I am in grade 12 at Park View Education Centre (PVEC). I love sports like soccer, basketball and hockey. I am the arena DJ for my high school hockey team the Park View Panthers. I also DJ my school dances and I love kids and working with little children. I love watching the NHL,my favorite team is the Montreal Canadians. I’m 5’10” which is not that tall I wish I was at least 6’0”. After high school I plan to go to the NSCC in Dartmouth and take a sound and engineering course so in the future I can become a DJ. I am part of the health group and I joined this group because I wanted to learn more about this topic. I am here to help people and get help from people. I want to learn whatever I can to improve my organizational, speaking, and listening skills. I want to learn more about budgeting so I can learn to save money in the future so I can buy DJ equipment. I am very kind, have a good sense of humor and love to make people laugh.

Anne Marie Drew
I am 18 years of age and I just graduated from New Germany Rural High School. I am attending the Nova Scotia Community College Lunenburg Campus, to take the one-year Continuing Care Assistant Course.I hope to work with the elderly at the Rosedale Home in New Germany. I have worked with the FutureStart HeartWood program to help me with future independence and employment skills. I am a very organized person who likes to read and write and I put all of my effort into everything I do.

Julia Dawn Drew
I live in Simpsons Corner outside New Germany and am currently attending my last year of high school at NGRHS. I met Brian and Gail when we were taking Leadership and Job Skills program with HeartWood a couple years ago. I have found this project very interesting as I will soon be living independently and this information will be useful for my future. I would recommend this summer job to teens because it’s a good way to meet new people, learn employment skills, explore what other businesses have to offer. We also learned about taking risks that will take you outside your comfort zone. I enjoyed working with Brittany in the finances group. It gave me confidence to speak my opinion and helped me put aside the fear of caring what people think of me and just trusting that they will accept me for me. I realized that just communicating with my sister didn’t allow me to be social and I do believe I need to be more independent and take risks. With that said I would like to thank everyone for their support and guidance throughout this project and wish everyone the best in the future.

Emma Hogg
This is my second time with HeartWood. This program has helped me shine. I have overcome many barriers, like communication skills, and learning new ways to cop with my anxiety. I am also planning to go back to the adult high school to finish my credits. This program has helped me to get out of my comfort zone and feel calm. Thank you Brian, Gail, Jen & Shane!

Tyler Kaizer
I was born and raised in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. I was introduced to the FutureStart program by my social worker and decided to give it a shot. I have no regrets, it was a bit scary at first because I didn’t really know what I was getting into. It didn’t take long to step outside of my comfort zone, and soon enough our group felt like a second family. I plan on taking the skills I’ve learned in this program and applying it to my future employment. Once I find a new job I plan on saving up to get my own place. I recommend this program to anybody who has the opportunity to be a part of it.

Chantal Killam
I was born in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. I was introduced to the idea of HeartWood’s FutureStart program by my social worker. I took the opportunity as a chance to help out other youth. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I would enjoy a job in life as long as I was helping out others, especially young people. I really hope the learning tools we’ve created about Transitioning to Independent Living are put in the hands of community members and youth, and they are used for teaching themselves or others. I have recently finished two years of university at Dalhousie University where I was doing a Bachelor of Arts. However, this fall I am altering my path a bit and am enrolled in the Social Services Program and NSCC Kingstec Campus in Kentville. Not only have I learned a lot of skills, such as employment skills, presentation skills, teamwork skills, skills to create workshops, knowledge about the topics and how to create and present workshops through this program that will help me with my future endeavors, but I have also met a lot of really fantastic people. I can only hope for another opportunity to be a part of such a team in the future.

Katelyn Knickle
I live in Bridgewater N.S. I was introduced to this summer job program for 10 weeks with 10 kids. The program was for younger youth, teenagers who are looking to learn about independence and the skills of living out on your own and the responsibilities you should know. For my future goals, I have planned to be a Registered Nurse and this program has motivated me and increased my confidence level to push myself to my goals. There were 3 groups: Housing, Health & Money Management. In those 3 groups we made workshops with tips and teaching skills about living on your own or just to use on a daily basis. This program was an excellent way to learn about the skills and also teaching yourself new skills. I would suggest this program to alot of younger teens because I think it would teach them alot of knowledge about the realities of living on your own. I know that it really taught me tons of stuff that I never even knew before. :)

Dylan Robar
I am 21 from Bridgewater. I have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and I have to use a wheelchair full time. The HeartWood Transition to Independence program was brought to my attention from my Disability Community Service worker Wendy Street. I thought this would be a helpful program to teach me how to live independently. I learned how to speak more in a group. My group worked on housing and we showed people what to do and look for when looking for a place to live. I would recommend this program to everyone and we need more programs like this in the school and the community. I would also like to thank HeartWood for giving me the chance to be part of this program.

Brittany Slauenwhite
I’m 21 years old that has recently moved out on my own. I had gotten a call from my caseworker explaining that there was a program that was gathering young adults together to create ways to teach youth about transitioning to independence. I thought this was a great idea and I was happy that she had brought it to my attention. There are some things that I never knew about when it came to living on my own and by being in the program I learned a lot and became a better person with more confidence and became part of a team.

Gail Moore

Jennifer Chaisson

Shane Chapman

Brian Braganza