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Starling Community Services.

Planting Seeds of Growth

Josh Close Up
Josh In The Atrium At Lutherwood

Josh Claxton’s positive energy and his passion for his job and the youth that come to Lutherwood’s Children’s Mental Health Centre is palpable. He believes the most rewarding part of his work is working with a multi-disciplinary team to help youth get over life’s hurdles, see that they are going to get better and that they will make it.

“All the youth who come to us are so unique and have so many different strengths and abilities,” Josh said excitedly. “Seeing those breakthrough moments, those ‘aha’ moments when they see the potential of what they can become is an amazing feeling. Sometimes at the end of their stay they don’t even want to leave because they’ve made friends and been so inspired by us. And they inspire us too!”

Beginning in 2016 as a Child and Youth Counsellor (CYC) 1, Josh worked primarily on the floor with the youth. Quickly rising through CYC 2 and 3 he divided his time between bonding with the youth and helping with their treatment, and training the other CYCs. He has now accepted the role of Live-In Program Supervisor at our Parklands residence.

Josh didn’t always want to be a youth worker. His dream was always to help and inspire youth, but his plan was to become a police officer. Josh went to school for police foundations, got a degree in Social Sciences and Humanities, and then spent several years volunteering for a crisis phone line, and three years working in a group home.

Josh And His Son At Steps For Kids

Once he started at Lutherwood, his story took a turn that follows that of many of our employees. “I just found who I am as a person at Lutherwood,” Josh said happily. “I just connected with the organization, because its values and passions align with mine. I’ve started volunteering here too at our annual Steps for Kids event, and I want to continue to help the organization grow. I can’t see myself leaving!”

Josh says one part of his job that is particularly rewarding is seeing the seeds he and the other staff plant for youths’ growth at Lutherwood fully blossom when they return to visit. He reminisced about one youth who was quite quiet when she arrived at Lutherwood and became quite outgoing by the end of her stay. She continued the healthy lifestyle she had learned and proudly lost about 100 pounds in the months that followed.

“I barely recognized her! When we see past students come back like this to show off their successes, it really shows the impact that all of us here have had in helping them grow and overcome their mental health challenges.”

Learn more about Lutherwood's Children's Mental Health programs.

"I taught students with special needs for a third of my career. Back then we didn't have the resources to support them. I wanted to change that. Giving back to my community through Lutherwood has been fulfilling and it has given me purpose."