In December 2019, the ThriveNorth program successfully completed its five-year mandate. Managed by Futurpreneur Canada, the program helped young entrepreneurs in Northern B.C. launch and grow their businesses by connecting them with resources, financing and mentorship.
The youth of today face many unique challenges and, now more than ever, support is needed in many Canadian communities.
While community-supported programs do exist in the Terrace, B.C. region, there is still a ways to go to ensure that area youth are receiving the support they need.
Tara works full-time as an occupational therapist at the Kitimat Community Development Centre (CDC). While she loves it, she wanted to do more. She saw that there was an opportunity for her to use her skills and passion for working with children and youth to help her local community and soon Forever Young Therapy Services was born.
“My goal has always been to find a career that would allow me to work with children in a way that I could really impact meaningful changes in their lives,” she said.
For those who might be unfamiliar with the field of Occupational Therapy, Tara describes it as a type of health care that helps to solve the problems that interfere with a person’s ability to do the things that are important and meaningful to them.”
“This could include everyday things like, self-care (getting dressed, eating, sleep); being productive (going to school or work, participating in the community) and leisure activities (play, sports, social activities),” she said.
Forever Young Therapy currently offers those services with future plans to expand its offering to include a casual Speech-Language Pathologist for its clients. Since Tara is currently operating on her own, she is also working towards hiring new team members to be able to serve more and more clients in need of this therapy.
Before launching Forever Young Therapy Services, Tara was a new graduate of a Master’s in Occupational Therapy at the University of Alberta. After completing her program in 2015, she worked in Prince George, B.C. in three complex care facilities that served seniors.
“Although this was a great career opportunity, my passion and goal has always been to work with children so I very quickly took the opportunity to move back to my hometown of Kitimat to start work at the CDC,” she said.
Tara believes that Northern B.C. was the perfect place to launch her business. “It’s where I grew up and where I would like to give back to my community,” she said. “Aside from being a beautiful place to live with many outdoor activities at your footsteps, it’s a great place to launch a private practice due to the large need for service and unsaturated market.”
Tara was also a finalist in the 2017 ThriveNorth Business Challenge, where she and 11 other contestants competed in a pitch competition in front of a panel of judges. Her last-minute application submission turned out to be all too worth it.
“I was lucky enough to walk away with $1,000 to help with launching my business. ThriveNorth has helped provide exposure to my business and has connected me with a network of peers. I look forward to continuing to be involved with ThriveNorth in the coming years,” she said.
Tara also gives credit to her experience at the Kitimat CDC for her success.
“Working there has allowed me to see first-hand all the hard work and dedication it takes to operate a business successfully,” she said. “Although my business is starting on a much smaller scale than the CDC, it has provided me with the opportunity to learn and experience service philosophies; principles and values that I have incorporated into my business model to enhance the quality of my company’s service delivery.”
Her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? “Go for it! Take things one step at a time and before you know it, everything will come together and fall into place. Also, mental health and self-care are important, so work hard and play just as hard!”
Written by: Sara Pivato, Social Media & Content Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada
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