Partner Spotlight: Andy Boodoo

What is your job title?

Family Violence / Community Support Worker

Children's Aid Society of Oxford County

Can you tell me a little bit about what inspired you to pursue a career in this field?

I was born in Trinidad and Tobago, the only child born to my parents. My culture, society, education, and personal experiences has prepared me to be the individual that I am today. My passion was always to be in a field that cares for human life and well being. This is how I ended up in the path of being a Child and Youth Worker. I grew up in a society where youth were faced with lots of different abuse and struggles. While I was in my early teens, my dream was to make a difference in my society.

During my early academic years, I had been involved in numerous community events and program to assist in the education of healthier relationships. I enjoy interacting with people, hearing different point of views, and sharing my thoughts and opinion about what society could look like without gender-based violence. Through emancipation and overcoming poverty, I was able to assist and empower others in navigating systems that they are challenged with.

Can you explain to us what Family Violence Counselling Program is?

The Family Violence Counselling Program is a service funded by a compilation of different Ministries that address the dynamics of intimate partner violence within relationships. The program works in cooperation with the family, the community and other service providers to identify and address issues of violence within the family system. The emphasis upon service is that violence is a choice and that each person is affected by violence in the family differently. Some of the programs we offer works actively with victims of abuse by focusing on safety, recognizing the difference of abuse and healthy relationships to assist in making decisions that will allow people to live violence free in the future. In addition, the F.V.C.P. supports men to stop their abusive behaviour in their relationships and challenges them to take an active role in preventing woman abuse and becoming healthier males in society.

Is there a specific population that is most affected by family violence?

Everyone is affected by family violence in some way, shape or form. In my opinion, women and children are affected the most. In majority of the cases, men are the ones perpetrating the violence. At times, these men are unaware of the privilege they hold in society and the harm they cause because of their triggers, unhealthy actions or thoughts and destructive beliefs. Their intentions are at times harmful and unhealthy and in turn the impact of there actions cause harm to the entire family unit placing their partner and kids at risk. 

What are some myths about the role that CAS plays in supporting families, and what do you most want your community to know about the program that you work in?

The biggest myth that has been shared by clients is that “CAS comes in their lives to take their kids away or destroy their families”. What we would like to share with our community is that CAS is here to assist in difficult situations or challenges. CAS is there to provide resources so that families can challenge unhealthy and destructive beliefs in order to learn healthier strategies. I acknowledge that every person’s experiences with systems are different, and that there are going to be different encounters with systems within our life span.

CAS offers many resources to families. I will encourage all clients and community members to be open to resources that CAS may provide. I understand that an agency like CAS may hold many forms of powers in society, but if we are open to accepting recommendations, there maybe a positive impact to the family unit.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

The best part of my job is facilitation of programs and engaging in conversations about gender-based violence through education, prevention, and advocacy. One of my biggest goals, is working on creating allyship with men to help stop gender-based violence. In addition, hosting events has been one of my passions.

Is there anything else that you'd like to share?

I am open to learn more about the diverse cultures and experiences that individuals are a part of in Oxford County. I understand that individuals may feel overwhelmed by navigating systems such as waitlists and types of services. If you are open to learn more about healthy relationships, and or are struggling with relationships on a whole, I encourage you to reach out to us at Family Violence Counselling Program and we will be happy to chat.

Children’s Aid Society of Oxford County

712 Peel Street, Woodstock, ON N4S 0B4

Tel: 519-539-1276 ext. 322

Cell: 519-200-5079

Fax: 519-421-0123