When Lina Meadows began working at Boyle Street Community Services 6 years ago, she never imagined the diversity of experience she would gain through her time here. Although she is currently the Supervisor of the Managed Alcohol Program (MAP), she has held many positions at Boyle Street.
“I’ve had 7 different roles since I started here” notes Lina, “we work in a place where the needs are constantly changing and evolving, so do the roles. Ultimately we just do what needs to be done.”
Her motivation for working at Boyle Street remains the same regardless of the role. “Ultimately I just want to help people, I came to Boyle Street because they had a reputation for helping those that needed it most,” she adds.
She has always wanted to do helping work and is driven by seeing its impact - especially the impact of dignity. “There is great power in someone feeling dignity, like they deserve a home or can ask for help. We are constantly working with those we serve to build up strengths and capacities, to show them new experiences so that they can feel like they truly belong in this city, in our communities. There is great power in that.”
Lina is motivated by one of Boyle Street’s core values - “giving and receiving is a two-way street at Boyle Street – our community members share many gifts with great generosity and open hearts.” She attributes her growth as a social worker to those she serves.
“I wouldn’t be the social worker that I am if I hadn’t learned the things that I have from the community” she notes, “they hold you accountable and remind us that we are here for them. But they also have taught me not to take things so seriously.”
Currently, Lina supervises MAP, which is one of Boyle Street’s most innovative and dynamic new programs. MAP provides co-brewed wine to individuals experiencing severe alcohol addiction - many of whom are consuming non-beverage alcohol products (hand sanitizer, hair spray, mouth wash, etc.). Alongside the brewing of the wine as a group, participants are required to engage in weekly programming offerings and peer support meetings. The outcomes of the program are outstanding and it makes a meaningful difference to those it serves.
“I am provided so much freedom to innovate, especially from my supervisor Jared. He is always giving me the power to try what I think will result in what is best for our community. It’s one of the best things about working at Boyle Street,” she says.
She also appreciates her co-workers. “My colleagues are so passionate about human rights and the dignity of those that we serve. The work can be so challenging, but I feel really lucky to have a supervisor and staff around me that understand the complications and are always there to support you.”
When asked to think about the time she has spent as an employee at Boyle Street, Lina is thankful for the unique experiences. “I have a pretty good job, I feel lucky for the relationships that I have had the privilege to have. They have forever changed who I am and how I see the world. We really are privileged to do the work and to interact with people in the intimate way that we do.”
Learn more about the Managed Alcohol Program with the video below: