Job Title: Family Support Worker, McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association
Why She’s Top 40: She is helping Edmonton’s at-risk families as both a support worker and a volunteer.
How I Relax: “I typically do more athletic stuff like play soccer and basketball. I typically do a lot of jogging and running.”
Bethany Hoffman helps out around five families daily and deals with circumstances such as domestic violence and drug addiction as a child and youth worker, making for sometimes long and difficult days. But the big payback for Hoffman is the feedback she gets whenever she drops in on those who need her help.
“It definitely isn’t an instant-gratification kind of job,” says Hoffman. “What I get from it is always coming back to a kid or adult for them to say ‘I really appreciated what you have done for me.'”
She’s wanted to make a positive difference in other people’s lives even as a child, volunteering for more causes than she can remember, from the Kids Help Phone to the Mustard Seed Society. She had initially planned to become a teacher while attending the University of Alberta, but, a practicum involving youth work tipped the scales towards a career in the social-work field. After completing her B.Sc. in Human Ecology, Hoffman started working with the not-for-profit human services organization E4C, first as a youth worker with the Kids in the Hall Bistro program, followed by the Housing Works pilot project, in which she managed the case files of 15 families as an outreach worker. She then moved to E4C’s Clareview Head Start program as a family support worker, before making the transition to McMan.
For the past seven years, she’s also run her own Yuletide clothing and toy drive, which received a nod of approval from Mayor Don Iveson on Twitter. This year, she’s expanded the drive’s mission to support the Bissell Centre, which experienced fires at its thrift shop and temporary location. Regardless of the number of projects she has on the go, they all have one common denominator.
“I know I have a drive to want to change things, especially in the field I’m working,” says Hoffman. “I know I work really hard and understand the impact of helping your fellow man.”