It’s been over a decade since Natalie Karam regularly strolled the halls of the University of the Fraser Valley, working towards her Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care, which she earned in 2001. Since then she’s been busy building a career and starting a family, but she has always remembered her alma mater with fondness.
She’s even more enthusiastic about UFV now, after being the winner of top prize in the inaugural Lost Alumni campaign. By going online and updating her information on the UFV Alumni Association’s database, she was entered into a draw for an iPad 3, and came out the winner.
Her experiences in the BA CYC program, and before that as a student working toward her Early Childhood Education certificate, prepared her well for a career working with children with special needs. Her schooling helped her qualify for a summer job with the Chilliwack Society for Community Living, providing care and activities for children with special needs. She has stuck with the same employer since, and is now Manager of Youth and Transition Services Services for the society.
Karam works with more than 100 families with children and youth with special needs, helping to arrange recreational, life skills, and employment opportunities for them. She keeps up her connection with UFV because many of the youth she works with transition into the TASK (Training for Attitude, Skills, and Knowledge for the Workplace) program at the university.
Like many UFV students, Karam took some time to figure out exactly what direction she wanted to go in.
“I started with some theatre classes and also took criminology. Once I looked into the early childhood education field, I loved it and decided to pursue it.”
As for winning the iPad, she’s thrilled. An email from UFV landed in her inbox, inviting her to reconnect, and when she did, she was the lucky winner.
“I don’t often win things, so it’s very exciting.”
Karam was one of 400 out-of-touch alumni who reconnected with UFV’s Alumni Association as part of the Lost Alumni campaign.
“We have more than 30,000 alumni and are in contact with about 15,000 of them,” says UFV Alumni Engagement manager Nancy Armitage. “Alumni are a very important part of the UFV community and some of our best ambassadors, so we want to connect with as many of them as possible. It’s great to catch up with alumni like Natalie, who are doing such important work in our communities.”
UFV’s Alumni Association is planning another Lost Alumni campaign this year.
PHOTO: Lost Alumni campaign iPad 3 winner Natalie Karam with Alumni Association chair Tony Luck.