Fiona Cook

Fiona Cook

In October 2011, I had the pleasure of meeting Fiona.  As Fiona spoke of why she came to Vanier in 2011, I quickly became aware of her refreshing honesty, her warmth and her incredible strength.  Fiona insightfully and thoughtfully shared that her son was having some difficulties in his daycare and she felt her family needed support.  Fiona went on to share that she had many difficult experiences in school and she did not want her son to have the same difficulties.  She was asking Vanier to help her to better understand his strengths and needs so she could be the best mom and best advocate she could be for him.  And Fiona has taken this goal very seriously.  Fiona is well respected on our Early Years Team for her commitment in working as part of our team (and the most important part of our team because she knows her son best!).  Fiona has been asked to try many different strategies at home to support her son and although her honest face always lets me know when she is really not sure about our recommendation - she always tries it and always gives meaningful feedback.

I also learned the first time I met Fiona that as a child she was part of the Day Treatment School program at Vanier.  Fiona described it as being her first positive school experience and when thinking back, she feels the Vanier staff worked with her to better understand her strengths and needs.  Judy Jones, our EIP Supervisor quickly recalled Fiona as a young girl whom she remembers enjoying art therapy.  Judy stated, 'Fiona always stood out to her' and describes her as being memorable.  As an agency, we do not have magical answers, however, our hope is always when we work with families that we have been helpful and have left them with positive experiences so they will come back, if they need us.  We are so pleased that Fiona had a positive experience at Vanier as a child and that she came back when she felt she needed us.

Fiona has many things in her life to be proud of and celebrate, she has a son who she adores and who adores her, a good job and a beautiful home.  These are all worth celebrating as Fiona describes she faced and overcame many challenges to be where she is today.  However, what I also want to highlight in celebrating Fiona is that which has allowed her to face and overcome her many challenges.  It is a little unconventional to let the recipient of a gift know what is in the box prior to them opening it - however, it is significant.  In the box is a figure of a woman with wings called 'Bright Star' - meaning a woman who reflects the light from within.  This figure was chosen because Fiona is that woman who reflects light from within.  It takes a short time once you connect with Fiona to see her light and feel her warmth.  It is that which she has inside of her that has allowed her to be open to moving through her challenges, being with her son in the midst of his challenges and reaching out to those around her when she needs to replenish and recharge.  It is that light which then gets brighter and can be seen by those around her.

It is my pleasure to congratulate Fiona Cook on being Vanier's 2013 Wing Recipient.

Janine Owen - Child & Family Therapist, Early Years Team