Dana's Story

Our grads are making a difference in our community — you can too

Support worker helps client learn to live independently

Dana Sarris with Wayne, a client he's helped live independently.

One of Dana Sarris’ final assignments in the Human Service Work program at Okanagan College was to come up with his own personal mission statement. His was simple: to make a positive difference in someone’s life every day.

“I’ve tried to do that every day for 20 years since I graduated. Some of the differences are quite small and some are life altering, but I aim for something each day.”

Sarris is a Case Manager at Brain Trust Canada, which works with people who acquire a brain injury. The needs of those with acquired brain injury are as varied as the people themselves but often involves oneon-one support to relearn skills and manage day-to-day activities.

“Most people who I work with have no family, few friends, a very small income and can’t work, and it’s a real struggle,” says Sarris.

Sarris is proud of his role in helping Wayne live independently, a milestone his family and doctors never thought he would achieve.

Wayne was in a serious motor vehicle accident that left him with a severe brain injury. He was in a coma for nearly a year. After awaking, Wayne stayed in the hospital another three years to re-learn basic skills like walking, talking and eating.

Wayne still suffers with balance issues, dizziness, problems with speech along with memory loss and executive functioning challenges. Sarris met Wayne when he was living with his mother, who was finding it difficult to care for him and was thinking of putting him in a group home.

Sarris worked with Wayne to help him live independently, including finding affordable housing. Sarris continues to support Wayne, taking him to appointments and helping with other tasks.

“Wayne is doing amazingly well. It makes me feel good to have helped him live independently for 17 years now. He’s made great strides and I’m proud to have played a supporting role.” 

Did you know?

  • Human service workers support a diverse range of clients in the community including seniors,  children, youth and people who have disabilities
  • There will be 11,000 job openings for human support workers in B.C. in the next 10 years
  • People who sustain an acquired brain injury are four times more likely to develop a mental illness