Boasting the largest number of Ambassadors of any post-secondary institution in Canada, the University of Guelph is a perfect representation of what Cam’s Kids is all about.
When the idea of Cam’s Kids was first conceived, the Hicks family hoped it would create a nationwide movement that would support young people struggling with anxiety. What has transpired at Guelph, and at a number of schools coast to coast, has more than validated their belief that there was a need for a program such as this. With the commitment and enthusiasm of over 300 Ambassadors nationwide, thousands have received the resources and support they need to not simply survive, but thrive.
At the end of the day it comes down to people helping people. Enter Josh Sahian.
A first-year Sociology student at Guelph, the Toronto native stumbled upon Cam’s Kids the way many have and many will – at a university event where various clubs promote themselves and invite membership.
“I was just walking by and I saw the booth for Cam’s Kids...it seemed like a cool club from what I read on the sign,” recalls Josh.
“They all seemed really nice so I put my email down on the sign-up sheet and here I am.”
Becoming an Ambassador soon after, Josh’s initial experience has only been enhanced since.
“You can see that all of them really do care. They’re the nicest people. It’s really great to be part of the team.”
Like many Ambassadors, Josh brings his own experience with anxiety to the table.
“It started around when I was in Grade 4,” he says, noting a close friend suffered from a more severe form of anxiety.
“It was more of a social anxiety thing for me. It made it a lot harder to make friends. In high school, it was always there but it was minimal at that point and it sort of faded over time. Most in my group of friends suffered from anxiety, some more severe than others. It’s a real problem that doesn’t get talked about enough.”
While his tenure as an Ambassador is in its early stages, Josh has dove headfirst into the role, helping with the Candy Cane Campaign during exams as well as taking advantage of available opportunities such as SafeTalk training.
“It (SafeTalk) helps you talk to people who might be struggling with mental health. It wasn’t directly a club thing but it really helped me with a couple of friends of mine who were going through some stuff.”
Looking ahead, Josh is excited to be part of the Cam’s Kids team at Guelph as it comes together to plan future events.
“Every time we do the events, we’re connected to schools across Canada. Being a small part of that is really great.”
With plans to be a high school teacher, Josh is convinced that the experience he’s gaining as a Cam’s Kids Ambassador will serve him well moving forward.
“I’m going to be pretty much surrounded by this (other’s anxiety issues) the rest of my life. The more I can learn about it now, the more I can deal with any issues that might arise with a student needing help.”
And help, adds Josh, is as close as asking for it.
“My friend always thought it was him versus the world; that he was all alone. Reach out and get any help you might need. There are people who will listen…family, friends, whomever.”
Add Josh Sahian to that list.
-Written by Paul Rellinger