“A Career for Life” - Tracey Riggillo’s Story
Intervention was something I was introduced to from an advertisement in the Toronto Star. I saw it while attending university in London, Ontario. I applied to the George Brown College, Intervenor for Deafblind Persons Program and was accepted. I was part of history being one of the students from the first graduating class in 1993. After graduating, I worked part-time briefly at Rotary Cheshire Apartments, before accepting a position at CNIB as the Literacy Instructor for six months. My contract was extended and from there I went on to be the Volunteer Coordinator and full time Intervenor at CNIB. I loved this position, as it allowed me to train volunteers and help with the DBAT board; while matching intervenors to consumers for DBAT meetings and Lake Joe Camp. In my free time, I was working as a freelance intervenor attending such things as GOLD Literacy workshops, DBAT conferences, and Deaf Community events.
After my first child was born, I switched to the Toronto Catholic District School Board in 1997 and worked at George Brown College. Things came full circle for me when I worked as a Field Placement Instructor in the Deafblind Intervenor Program. While working at the school board I have been fortunate enough to work as a placement supervisor for many intervenor students from the Intervenor Program. It is exciting to see how the program has grown and changed.
I returned to Rotary Cheshire Apartments as a freelance intervenor in 2001. In the summer of 2002 Joyce Thompson asked me to come on as an instructor with the Canadian Helen Keller Centre. We had discussed helping the community to start their own support systems. With the help of deafblind participants we started and developed three different peer support groups. From here I went on to work and develop a variety of courses at CHKC. Working as an instructor fills me with great happiness. I feel I am one of the lucky ones as I am working in a school setting and at CHKC. I love that I have been blessed to work in a variety of areas in the field of intervention.
My once limited vision of what intervention was or could be has grown and expanded. Working as an intervenor I have developed in a variety of ways; both personally and professionally. Intervention can provide intervenors with an assortment of experiences. I have had the opportunity to attend and present at symposiums, conferences and workshops. I have been on television and radio shows and in a book. I have travelled. I have been an advocate. I have participated in student documentaries and attended government meetings. I have attended weddings, funerals, showers and births. I have spent hours playing cards or chatting at a coffee shop, listening and supporting others. Eating a variety of foods and attending outings and events and all because I am an intervenor. Intervention is an amazing field. You can make it what you want. You just need to be open to the possibilities.