All praise the chance encounter.
Adam Nash certainly has a whole new appreciation for those moments when opportunity presents itself virtually out of nowhere, serving as a springboard to the life-changing journey that typically follows.
Majoring in criminology at Carleton University, Adam, acknowledging “my own history with mental illness and stuff,” says the “state” he was in before happening upon Cam’s Kids “wasn’t too great.” In fact, the 20 year old had reached out to his mom in Kingston to come to Ottawa, hoping a break would ease his mounting anxiety.
While waiting for her arrival, with some time to kill, Adam “stumbled upon” a campus booth promoting Cam’s Kids. Shortly after passing it by, he found his interest piqued.
“I went back and started a conversation with (Cam’s Kids) Ambassador Holly Todd to learn more,” says Adam, recalling how impressed he was with that interaction and, in particular, Holly’s “speaking as a person to me…she wasn’t there just to be a face.”
After asking how he could learn more about Cam’s Kids and the possibility of becoming more involved, Adam was directed to the foundation’s website. After learning more, he applied to become an Ambassador and was accepted.
“Cam’s Kids was everything I was looking for at that moment,” says Adam.
“It just happened to be there that day. I had never heard of it. Now, when I really needed it, it showed up. I thought that was something special.”
That introduction to Cam’s Kids occurred around the end of Adam’s first semester this past school year. He has since discovered that helping other students deal with anxiety-related issues has helped him get a firm handle on his own challenges.
“Every time someone says ‘thank you’ and it’s genuine, it gives me a sense of fulfillment that I haven’t experienced for awhile,” he says.
“Being an Ambassador has helped me find my own worth. When you’re at a point when nothing feels good, any simple little thing gives you a sliver of hope to keep on working to help yourself and apply yourself to help others.”
“I’ve been an anxious kid ever since I was younger. I was never one to speak up. My mom said she wished there was something like Cam’s Kids when I was going through my difficulties. That was something that struck home with me.”
Adam has found - and continues to find - great personal satisfaction supporting his peers and offering a non-judgemental ear on campus; not unlike a number of our Ambassadors.
“The most gratifying part is when you see a genuine smile or spark in someone as a result of the information you’re giving him or her or as a result of an interaction,” he says.
“Students come up to me in the same way I first approached the Cam’s Kids booth. They’re kind of standoffish. Being able to have conversations with people that I can relate to so well and make them feel comfortable, and be able to observe a change in behaviour and posture…I know they walk away feeling good about themselves and about their future. That makes me happy.”
Elated to be a Team Lead at Carleton this coming school year, Adam, alongside a fellow Ambassador, is looking forward to creating new events and initiatives that will introduce Cam’s Kids to even more students.
“It feels great,” he says of his growing involvement.
“Something that I’ve had to come to terms with is that not everything can be completed by one person. For the machine to run, it requires all the smaller parts working together. Knowing I’m able to contribute to this greater machine that’s helping so many people makes me feel great.”