Much changed over the course of 2020, but one constant emerged intact for thousands of post-secondary students across Canada: self-discovery of who they are and just what it is they’re on this earth to do.
For Nathalie Kashur, self-discovery has manifested itself in clear re-affirmation of what she has always known she wanted to do: help others in any way she can. Back in November she did just that, raising $210 for the Movember movement and now, as an Ambassador with Cam’s Kids’ Laurentian team, Nathalie is in her element once again.
“Cam’s Kids has shown me I really do want to help people,” says the fourth-year Psychology student.
“I love that I can do it in little ways, giving others tips and tricks on how they can get through this crazy year of school. They reach out and I try to help as best I can. I really do want to make a difference. Cam’s Kids has helped me realize how important that is to me.”
Nathalie’s introduction to Cam’s Kids came via a Facebook post by one of the foundation’s team leads at Laurentian. She applied and subsequently connected with Cam’s Kids National Coordinator, Vanessa Morgan.
“I didn’t know it (Cam’s Kids) was a thing or else I definitely would have got involved in my third year,” says Nathalie.
“When Vanessa emails and thanks for me for doing even the smallest thing, it brings me so much joy. Cam’s Kids is not just a Laurentian thing. It has a positive effect on so many people’s lives. Just to be a little part of that is huge to me.”
Because of ongoing COVID restrictions, Nathalie’s work with Cam’s Kids has mostly involved chatting with students who direct message her through Instagram. Not unlike her first year of university, many are overwhelmed with the transition from high school to university and, in many cases, the move from the family home to a strange setting.
“You do have to take it one day at a time,” says Nathalie, providing a sampling of her advice.
“You can’t plan every day and hope that it turns out like you planned because it won’t. Some days you’re going to be stressed; some days you’re going to want to give up. If you get to that point you have to keep remembering it does get better. I know that’s so cliché but it actually does. Keep pushing and believe you can do it. It’s all about self-motivation. I still think negative thoughts at times. You have to try to stay positive.”
Post-pandemic, Nathalie hopes the opportunity to meet the Hicks family will present itself at some point.
“I’d love to be able to talk to them and let them know how much of an impact Cam’s Kids is having at Laurentian,” she says.
“They created this wonderful organization out of such a tragedy. Instead of dwelling on it, they said ‘This is what we’re going to do. We’re going to help people so they don’t have to go through something like that.’ How wonderful is that? That is so inspiring.”
On track to graduate in the spring, Nathalie plans to pursue her master’s and has applied at three universities. The good news for Cam’s Kids is it has a team at all three.
“I do hope I can continue,” says Nathalie.
“This community of people is incredible and always ready to help.”