NIC Educational Assistant student wants to pay it forward

NIC HSW student Kristy Salter (left) worked with Port Alberni Transition House manager Cindy Blake as one of her practicum opportunities.

NIC educational assistant student Kristy Salter is giving back by learning to support others through the same challenges she faced herself.

Salter’s son has severe differing abilities, which led to many trips to BC Children’s Hospital and working with a variety of therapists and support workers.

“These people had a major impact on my life with how they helped me and my son,” said Salter. “I always wanted to give back and help other children or people, especially families that are going through the same thing I did.”

With the support of her husband and children, Salter returned to the classroom herself so she could help support others.

“When I looked into the program, I thought it was exactly where I needed to be, and I was right,” she said. “My instructors have been so supportive, and my classmates as well. It’s a great community to be a part of.”

NIC’s Human Services certificate in Port Alberni includes a focus on Indigenous cultural and curriculum content, which had a profound effect on Salter.

“It changed my perspective and how I looked at life in general,” said Salter. “It can be very emotional, especially if you’ve lived some of it, but you need to learn it and understand it. It’s made me a more empathetic person.”

The program has also expanded her thoughts as to the direction she wants her career to go once she’s done her program in June.

“You can go in so many directions,” said Salter. “You can continue on and get your diploma in human services, go into social work, go into child and youth care, mental health and addictions – the options are really endless.”

Before graduating, Salter and her classmates will be taking part in a long practicum, where they will be able to put into practice the skills and knowledge they gained in their program.

“I’m so excited to be able to get out there and make a difference in someone’s life, the way others made such a difference in mine,” she said.

The next intake of the Educational Assistant/Community Support Worker, Indigenous Focus program begins in September. Learn more at

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