Cianna is a 2020 graduate of Pathways Saint John. She is currently studying towards her Bachelor of Arts with a major in Psychology at the University of New Brunswick. Outside of school, Cianna works in youth programming and mentorship at Pathways Saint John. She plans to pursue graduate studies in Educational Counselling to become a school counsellor.
When Cianna was in the ninth grade, the Pathways Program launched at the nearby Teen Resource Center (TRC), Pathways’ program partner in Saint John. Cianna’s older brother had been spending time at the TRC for years, and she was quick to join the Pathways Program hosted at the same location. “Pathways helped me a lot when I was a youth. I came here all the time, every day after school basically and I loved getting involved,” Cianna shares.
Heather, the Program Director at Pathways Saint John, remembers how engaged Cianna was. What really stood out was not just how often Cianna attended programming, but also the insightful feedback she provided to staff. “Staff and students alike were learning so much in those first few years and Cianna’s openness to providing feedback helped us realize that students’ insights could help shape our growth and development,” Heather recalls. “The most successful programming we run is in partnership with youth, ensuring that we are supporting their ideas and initiatives.”
Over the years, this type of youth-centered programming became a key part of Pathways Saint John—and Cianna continues to be a part of it. She became a Pathways staff member in 2021 and works with the mentorship team to develop and deliver youth-led programming. “Letting students take on more responsibility and design Pathways programming is a chance for them to develop practical skills like organization,” Cianna explains. “But one of the best parts of it is seeing them step out of their comfort zone and learn to work with others. That opens a lot of new possibilities, and it’s what I remember from my time as a student too.”
Cianna’s involvement in youth leadership programming led to her taking a lead role in supporting a student-led business called Far Away Kitchen. In this culinary program, youth create cultural dishes and sell them at the local farmer’s market. Staff and students work together to navigate every stage of running a small-scale food business. For Heather, this kind of project speaks to the value of putting both current and former students at the heart of the Pathways Program. “The students get to see someone from the program who is successfully navigating post-secondary and giving back to our community,” Heather explains. “Cianna is an incredible role model and it’s a real full circle story.”
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