Assisting Those in Need: Simon Wassef Interns at John Howard Society

As an intern with the John Howard Society of Fredericton, third-year STUdent Simon Wassef worked to develop a new program for families in need that will be implemented across New Brunswick.

“Strengthening Families; Strengthening Communities” is a collaboration between John Howard Society facilitators, local grade schools, and a host location that provides families with a meal. The program aims to assist families in developing healthy problem-solving habits, managing emotions, and creating a plan for financial stability while working toward a happier life.


“I wrote the program proposal for Strengthening Families; Strengthening Communities, which was presented to the Department of Education and administration from the ASD-W school district,” Wassef said. "The presentation of the proposal was excellent, and we are looking at running more programs across the province very soon."


Wassef, who is completing an honours in Criminology and Criminal Justice, began working with the John Howard Society of Fredericton during the summer and has continued his internship into the academic year. The work he’s done with the society has provided a practical application for the theories he’s learned about in class.


“The John Howard Society’s main goals are to assist those who have come into contact with the law, to house homeless individuals, and to run classes on anger management, offender rehabilitation, and partner abuse,” Wassef said.


“I’ve been able to engage in hands-on work by participating in walkabouts—where we converse with Fredericton’s homeless population to gather information for future programming—and work on a documentary aimed at debunking stereotypes associated with chronic homelessness.”


The work has been challenging at times but has offered Wassef a new perspective on course material and has provided valuable lessons that will benefit him personally and professionally.


“The possibility for good exists everywhere, even in very difficult circumstances. I’ve seen people who have dealt with incredible hardships enter the John Howard Society, gain new skills, and change for the better,” he said.


“This experience has increased my passion to learn and desire to help others. It’s definitely prepared me for whatever comes next—whether it’s graduate school or beginning my career after graduation.”


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