The GIFT Training was a program designed by Kim Bisset to help young adults find their strengths and resilience from past experiences and challenges. The training also consisted of careers, on how to build a resume and cover letter, and being a peer mentor. I decided to participate in the GIFT training to help me learn more about myself, to figure out what my strengths are, and learn more about finding a job. GIFT stands for Gathering Inspiring Future Talent. It means bringing together unique gifts and talents and contributing it to the world.
My gift is having lived experience of depression and anxiety. Later my struggles became hard working, resilient, and thoughtful of others. Today, with a lot of support and hard work, I use my gift to help maintain my wellness and help others in my community. I really enjoyed having Kim as my teacher. She was always positive and looked forward to giving the best learning experience possible. For example, there would always be snacks and wellness tools available like stressballs and curly ribbons to help distract ourselves. She was accommodating with time and when we needed to take a break. Our class had a lot of help from Tom Castelline, who is a longtime graduate of the GIFT training, and Anna Dunkelman who is also a GIFT graduate. They helped supply lunches and paid attention to certain food allergies. They worked hard to meet and provide extra support if there were any missed work. Without Tom and Anna, the training would not be flexible without their resourcefulness.
Out of all the experiences I had at the GIFT Training, hearing the comeback stories and core gift statements on graduation day brought me joy, happiness, and feeling proud. It was they who helped me to feel not alone in this journey towards recovery. The stories varied but all had the common theme and purpose of overcoming our struggles and becoming better and stronger people.