Life doesn’t always go to plan. Despite the best laid plans and a good map, life throws detours and unexpected rest stops along its winding roads. While we appreciate the high points and incredible views along the way, we all need a jump start to get around some corners. Community support is the gas in the tank that keeps us moving forward on each of our journeys. These individual journeys make us matter.
“I learned about SSCS in quite a tragic way actually,” shares Nick Pascuzzi. “A few years ago when I was principal at Howe Sound Secondary, a student passed away in a devastating car accident. As the school community was flooded with grief, the SSCS Director of Service Delivery reached out to me. She called the school and simply said, ‘we’re here to help.’ SSCS offered counselors and any support students, staff and families needed. Sea to Sky Community Services saw an area of the community suffering and proactively jumped in to help in the ways they could which felt so comforting during that terrible time. I really appreciated that we didn’t have to reach out for help, SSCS came to us and wrapped us in community.”
Pascuzzi joined Sea to Sky Community Services a few months later in 2021 as the Director of Human Resources after a long career in education. One parallel he’s found between the two roles is that relationships and collaboration matter above all. “I’ve always believed that a school is only as good as its staff and I feel the same way about our community,” shares Pascuzzi. “In a community like Squamish everyone knows everyone, or at least knows of everyone. There is only one high school in the town so we got to know families from every demographic, every walk of life all meeting under the same roof. SSCS is like that too, there’s this feeling of connectedness and celebration of our diversity.”
Despite the change in career path’s Pascuzzi’s focus remains about the people. “As a principal, the most enjoyable part of my day was being in the hallways, connecting with students, chatting and hearing what they’re up to and what’s on their minds,” he shares. “It’s the same now, I really enjoy getting out in the community and visiting programs whether it’s a childcare center, our life skills program, or group living residential care, it’s nice to visit and connect with the clients and spend time in person with the staff.”
It’s ok to hit a speedbump
Men and male identifying folks are well represented across Sea to Sky Community Services programming. The challenges of employment, mental health, affordable housing, and food security, don’t discriminate. No one is immune to falling on hard times.
“Sometimes men and fathers particularly will internalize this expectation to be the perfect person,” explains Pascuzzi. “But we all have our flaws; we’re doing our best. It’s important that people understand that it’s okay to hit a speedbump every once in a while. That makes us human. SSCS is available to offer support when members of the community face those setbacks and need a helping hand. I think sometimes there is more stigma around men asking for help and I’m working to change that. Being a father myself, I recognize that men are an important part of the team. It’s important for fathers to feel that it’s okay to feel vulnerable or make a mistake. It’s ok to seek help.”
Young men are the future
The new Foundry Sea to Sky facility supports young people aged 12-24, offering access to mental health support, primary care, substance use intervention, peer support, and social services. Pascuzzi believes the gender split for the programs is fairly balanced between female and male identifying clients. He’s noticed real progress in the way young men are managing their emotions and showing vulnerability and compassion.
“Young people today, and I notice this particularly in young men, are far more accepting. They really do celebrate individualism,” shares Pascuzzi. “As a community we still have a lot of work to do to be more inclusive, but I’m continually struck at how understanding, open minded and supportive youth are becoming. I’ve seen young men rally around kids going through a difficult time. I see young people building very strong communities of support and acceptance much earlier than before. My hope is we’re lessening the stigma around asking for help when you need it. I want young men, and men of all ages, to understand they don’t need to have it all figured out.”
“I’m hopeful for people to be able to realize their dreams, have access to employment opportunities, affordable housing and food security. And to know if they’re struggling to get there on their own, SSCS is here to help,” continues Pascuzzi. “We’re here to hold community members up if there’s a period of a few months when they need foodbank services, housing support, or counseling. The men, young and old, the fathers and the elders in our community are each so important. I want men to feel they can access community support safely and with dignity, knowing they’ll be welcomed and respected. While a school is only as good as their staff, a community is only as good as our people. We have good people at SSCS and, as they told me all those years back, we’re here to help.”
With compassion, respect, and care, SSCS provides high quality programs throughout our region to enhance the lives of residents of all genders at every age and stage of life. SSCS believes the organization’s programs and services can improve the health and wellness of individuals and families, at the times they need it most.
By making a financial gift to Sea to Sky Community Services, you are helping our community to thrive. With your support, we can provide men and fathers with the valuable support and resources they need to succeed, on whatever road they choose.
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