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Diana DiClemente

A Helping Hand Can Serve Many

Diana Di Clemente found her true calling when she accepted an offer from Seneca’s Child and Youth Worker program. Although the journey towards graduating and starting her career was not easy, it gave her some of the most gratifying and rewarding experiences she has ever had.

She had options. “As offers came in from other colleges, I kept putting them off,” says Diana. “But then a current student from the Child and Youth Program called me and told me all about the professors, faculty and courses. I was sold. I immediately went to my computer and accepted Seneca’s offer.”

Her most memorable experience occurred during her placement with Blue Hills Child and Family Centre. Her client, an 11-year-old boy, had introverted tendencies. Interaction with others, verbally or physically, was almost nonexistent. That is, until Diana became his mentor.

“At first, he would come in for 15 minutes a day. We would just go to the gym to play, and he wouldn’t say a word,” she says. “But, as time went on, he kept wanting to increase his time with us until he was there for the full day. However, we had a deal with him – he had to do more academic work.”

The boy’s passion for hockey prompted him to write a two-page letter to the National Hockey League outlining his displeasure about the lockout and his love for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The letter was framed and put on a wall. “The other schools that he went to didn’t expect that they’d ever see this kind of work from him,” she says.

Sometimes a “thank you” is all that’s needed. “Helping that boy was the most rewarding and gratifying experience I ever had,” she says. “I was lucky to have this experience so early in my career, because it motivated me to keep working on enriching others’ lives.”

Diana graduated in the spring with more good news. She has landed several part-time positions in her field. Her professionalism during her placement led to one of them, a job offer with Blue Hills where she is a Child and Youth Worker. “I was really excited to be in the field and beginning my career,” she says. “I felt supported by my supervisor and team.”