The journey to addictions recovery requires the support of trained counsellors with knowledge and skills in the field. NLC student Chris Yellowbird is from Alexander First Nation, Alberta and is not your typical student. When talking to Yellowbird about his background story it is a recollection of trauma, abuse, and misuse that ends with a singular moment that turned his life around 360 degrees.
Yellowbird said, “I have an interesting story, because I used to be a client at the Footprints Healing Centre in Alexander First Nation. I am about 21 months sober now. After I finished there as a client, an opportunity opened up and I asked for a job. I started as night staff. I just knew I had to start somewhere, it was a way for me to get my foot in the door.” While working at the healing centre, Yellowbird started looking into accredited training, which was a requirement, made by his employer. He researched his educational options and landed on NLC’s Addictions Counselling Diploma program.
Today, Yellowbird works as a casual support worker for Footprints while completing the Addictions Counselling Diploma program as a full-time, homebased student. Yellowbird is able to do his courses online through the blended delivery methods of NLC Anytime, Anywhere and NLC Live Online™.
Yellowbird has chosen to use his past as a tool to help others on their journey to recovery. Just a few months ago, Yellowbird had the opportunity to work as a full-time facilitator for four weeks. “That was a great experience for me. I got to use my own instincts because many of my strengths in this field stem from my own personal experiences but I was able to combine it with the knowledge I learned from my educational experiences.”
The program can be taken full-time or part-time, depending on the unique needs of the student. NLC offers a high ratio of student-to-instructor time, affordable tuition, and quality programs. Graduates of the Addictions Counselling diploma program at Northern Lakes College will have the skills to provide counselling to individuals, groups, and families. Yellowbirds advice to other, “If you’re getting into the addictions field, always remind yourself of what sparked that passion to be in this field. Don’t be complacent and make sure you take care of yourself too. The instructors at Northern Lakes College have a way of keeping you engaged and witnessing their passion ignites that in yourself.”
Today Yellowbird is a full-time counsellor and lives on an acreage with his wife and three children. About his future, he says, “To come where I came from, to be a student with NLC today, to feel accepted and to be encouraged in my educational journey is something I am still getting used to. It is a good feeling, and it is a real motivator for me.”