Meet St. Mary's Ambassador Sanjana
While Cam’s Kids Ambassadors come to the foundation from all walks of life, there are shared motivations to be found.
One of the more common is simple but vital as it speaks directly to Cam’s Kids’ core mission – an overwhelming desire to help people. That’s the tie that binds; a selfless mission shared by young people across the country who, via their ambassadorship, have made it their business to be there for others.
At St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Sanjana Karani came to the Cam’s Kids family in the summer of 2020.
“I’ve always been a person who has wanted to create change and help people,” says Sanjana, a native of India who was brought up in Dubai before coming to Canada to pursue her post-secondary education. Initially studying at the University of Manitoba before heading to Nova Scotia, Sanjana is now pursuing a double degree in Commerce and Art.
“As someone who has suffered from anxiety since I was about eight years old, it didn’t take me a minute to think about it. I immediately wanted to be part of it [Cam’s Kids]. I was into it completely.”
While the Cam’s Kids team at St. Mary’s is fairly new, Sanjana says the experience has already been “amazing.”
“It’s so good how we, as a team, meet to talk, not only about our own issues and how we are dealing with things but also sharing our motivation to increase awareness about anxiety and engage our fellow students. It’s a non-judgmental environment where we can express ourselves beautifully. We really support one another. That’s what makes it successful.”
While the St. Mary’s team hasn’t had the opportunity to interact with students in a non-COVID world, the group is casting an eye on the future, planning for in-person events as they’re permitted. In the works now is a meditation or yoga event that, if it can’t be held live, will be presented virtually.
“All of our team members have been promoting the foundation through social media, so that has brought a response,” says Sanjana.
“The experience has been an eye-opener for me. I’m finding everyone’s experiences with anxiety are so different. You have social anxiety; there are phobias and everything else.”
Pledging to “always be a shoulder for anyone who’d like to talk,” Sanjana calls upon her own experiences with anxiety to guide her interactions with those who reach out to her.
“When you’re going through anxiety, taking it one day at a time feels like a lot. It is easier said than done. What has helped me the most is knowing that this will pass. Even though this is a low time, there are better times ahead. Lows and highs don’t matter. That’s what has changed me as a person.”
“Regardless of what the situation is in your life, whatever you’re feeling in the moment, it should be validated enough to be able to gain help. I always put myself in other people’s shoes to try and understand what they might be feeling. We [Cam’s Kids] have tried to be a shoulder for others to lean on.”
Not unlike Ambassadors across the country, Sanjana says her Cam’s Kids experience has, quite simply, made her a better person.
“I was always empathetic but this experience has definitely made me stronger. When you listen to other people sharing their points of view and being that shoulder for them, you just connect so much more. They know they’re not alone. That makes you feel much lighter and feel there are good days to come. If it’s dark today, tomorrow is going to be a good sunny day.”
At the end of the day, Sanjana has a message for those who are struggling with anxiety but are reluctant to reach out for help: “You’re worth it. Your struggles are valid. We’re here to understand and relate.”