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Meet Vari Stock PhD

Thursday, 27 June, 2019 - 9:30 am

 Meet Vari.png

She's from Thunder Bay, she's a cyclist, and she's directing a stop motion animation film. Meet Vari Stock PhD, Chabad Lifeline's newest member of the team.

We sat down with Vari for a quick conversation in her new office.

Q. Where are you from?

A. I'm originally from Toronto. I came to Montreal by way of Thunder Bay. I lived in Thunder Bay for nine years before moving to Toronto. So it was either move back to Toronto where it's really expensive and everybody's angry all the time or move to Montreal where it's affordable, there's a really good quality of life, and I just have to learn French. 

Q. Et comment ca va?

A. I'm very slowly learning French.

Q. We love hearing praise about our city, especially when comparing it to Toronto. What are the major advantages of Montreal?

A. The cost of living is lower, and you also have tons of free activities like street festivals here that are just available on the streets mostly during the summer, but even in the winter time. It's also more bicycle-friendly here, which I really like. The parks here are fantastic. The art scene, the liveliness of the French and the politics.

Q. What led you to becoming an Addictions Counsellor?

A. Chance. When I was doing my stage for my bachelors in social work, I had applied to work with a parenting program because I thought I wanted to work with parents and young children. That wasn't available, and I ended up working in a youth addictions program, and found that I really love working with youth.

Q. Why?

A. Because they're fun and really open. They're still interested in the world. Their bad habits aren't totally cemented into their life so there's a lot more leeway. They haven't shut down as much as what you can see with adults, which can be much more difficult because there can be many years of addictions or trauma and all sorts of experiences that make it much harder for adults to make changes in their lives, whereas youth have this advantage of being new.

Q. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

A. I enjoy riding my bicycle a lot, and making art. Right now I'm focusing on learning stop motion animation. That's fun.

Q. Awesome! Stop motion animation is difficult! What's the film going to be about?

A. The purpose is to make a short animation to make my dissertation research, which was with youth, accessible to community workers and to teachers. It's on the ways that we can make our programs more accessible and inclusive.

The teachings that I got from my participants were related to building relationships based on love, being authentic, building trust and having trust in people you work with, having humility when you come to the work that you do, and critical reflection, taking the time to look back on your own practice and see the ways that you can do better or where you're not hitting the target of what you intended to be doing.

Q. You've been here a couple of weeks. What's your current role at Chabad Lifeline?

A. So far this summer, I am working with a few youth individually on various issues in terms of kids who are affected by substance use or have their own issues with substance use. I'm also helping facilitate a new youth group that we're trying to get off the ground, and helping facilitate our Open Speaker's Meeting Thursday evenings. Starting in the fall, I'll hopefully be in some English Montreal School Board High Schools working with any kids who get directed my way.

Q. In your limited experience here at Chabad Lifeline, what do you find makes us unique?

A. I really value Rabbi Bresinger's opening teachings at the beginning of our weekly team meetings. I think it sets a really nice tone for the meetings, and it creates a nice welcoming and thoughtful environment where you're encouraged to reflect on yourself and your impact on the world.

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