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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
September 27, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Faculty of Social Work presents 2013 Graduate Honour Award to Heather Froome

At the Social Work Week luncheon on March 4, the Faculty of Social Work presented the 2013 Graduate Honour Award to Heather Froome in recognition of a career that been dedicated to the field of social work – which is not the path set out to take.

While working toward a sociology degree from the University of Western Ontario, Heather became passionate about social policy and was given a scholarship to pursue an MA in sociology at Western. At the same time, Heather learned about Laurier’s MSW program and attended an information session. “I was completely sold,” said Heather. “Laurier’s program is really marketable and I was grateful that it was practice-based, theoretical and would allow a focus in social planning and policy.” After making the decision to turn down the scholarship to Western in favour of Laurier’s MSW program, Heather says she never looked back.

Upon graduation Heather began working as a community development worker for Family and Children Services in Haldimand-Norfolk, where a career highlight was securing a $1.4 million dollar grant to develop prevention and early intervention programs for children 0-6 years of age who are considered at risk. Heather’s next role saw her return to Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work, first at the practicum assistant and then as the coordinator of admissions and recruitment.

In 2007 Heather joined the Region of Waterloo as a Social Planning Associate before moving into her current position as the Administrator of Social Development Programs. “The position is a perfect fit for me,” said Heather. “The Region is a really great place to work and the work is always challenging.” Heather’s mandate is to work with community organizations through a variety of programs and initiatives to address poverty and build capacity in Waterloo Region. In addition, Heather is working within the Regional government on a comprehensive approach to poverty reduction for the corporation. “It’s not about creating new programs,” said Heather. “Instead, we are building on what works, we are developing a common agenda and thinking innovatively about how we can take existing programs and services and put them together in new ways to maximize their impact.”

 Looking back on her career Heather says she feels “very blessed. I’ve worked with some great people who have inspired and mentored me along the way – I am grateful for that. All of my experiences have taught me new things, given me new tools and new ways to approach things. I feel challenged in my work every day and I feel honoured to be doing what I do.”