Career/Life Support Specialist

Career support specialists provide multilayered support and intervention to people navigating their journeys academically, professionally and personally. 

$45,000 - $100,000+

Education Varies

Increasing Demand

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Vanessa Smithers

Founder of Grow Home, Please

Possessing over 15 years in the realm of community support, advocacy, and facilitation, I’m the passionate powerhouse behind Grow Home, Please. The eldest of three children, I was born in Toronto, Ontario- with family roots in the Black Nova Scotian community of Truro, Nova Scotia. At the age of 10, I was apprehended from my mother’s home and was placed into foster care in rural Ontario. I grew exhausted, desiring stability and consistency- a sense of routine and normality. I craved a place that felt like “home,” as this was something that seemed foreign to me. I longed for safety, security and a place where I could rebuild my life on my own terms, peacefully.

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Leaving foster care at the age of 12, with only a garbage bag of belongings- I travelled via Greyhound bus to Toronto. Overjoyed that I escaped the toxic environments that I was accustomed to, I was homeless upon arrival to the big city. I succumbed to residing in shelters, on the street and on the couches of strangers, eventually finding refuge in an apartment of my own.

I was able to emulate resilience throughout my journey, never allowing consistent trials and tribulations to bring my goals and aspirations to a halt. Thankfully, I was blessed with discovering my purpose at a young age- my heart embedded with a strong desire to support individuals in propelling their lives forward, through resilience, grace and vulnerability.

I’m a strong believer that when we share our stories, we unravel parts of ourselves, creating space for new narratives, new learnings and new experiences. I believe that when we share our stories, we gain power exponentially because we are using our voices to share and own what is ours, instead of others taking the reigns and doing so themselves.

Grow Home, Please encourages the act of creating a home for ourselves within ourselves. Home is wherever we are.

The mission of Grow Home, Please is to wrap around individuals to support them in building a strong and healthy foundation- evolving into their best selves. Through passion-focused career navigation, workshops and the harnessing of their stories- of vulnerability, we foster space and services that encourage individuals to nourish the place that has kept them going and growing for their entire lives. Knowing that with dedicated efforts- we can just grow home and make our dwellings exactly what we need them to be.

What is your educational background?
Bachelor of Arts- Child & Youth Care (Ryerson),
Bachelor of Arts- Community Justice Services (Humber),
Bachelor of Arts- Criminal Justice & Corrections (University of Guelph Humber)

What are your daily responsibilities?
The great thing about Grow Home, Please – is that every day is different. I also work a full-time job at the Hospitality Workers Training Centre as a Youth Engagement and Success Specialist, so it’s always a matter of balancing the two. I typically conduct my work for Grow Home, Please super early in the morning and in the evenings. My work varies from day to day, however, it’s always one or many of the following – client calls, sifting through forms for service, researching roles that clients want to apply for, coaching individuals who are unhappy with their current positions, consulting with non-for-profits pertaining to Youth Engagement Strategy, drafting resumes, writing job descriptions for employers, auditing website copy, facilitating workshops – it’s never predictable and always a matter of who is on my client roster at the time. 

What advice would you give to the 15-18 year old version of yourself?
It sounds simple but I always advise people to just DO THE THINGS and don’t let people put you into a box. You don’t ever have to choose a ‘thing.’ You can do it all. Multifacetism is beautiful. People always ask me why I do so many things and it’s very much because I want to. It’s okay to want to tick all of the boxes on your list before you’re out of here.

Also, own your stories, own your being and your existence. You owe it to yourself.

“Our stories are power and our voices are too. Our vulnerability, our love and our joy. The more we tell our stories, the lighter our bags become. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have no interest in dragging luggage around for the next 50+ years.”

Core Responsibilities


Provide 1 on 1 support to clients


Offer workshops aimed to build job readyness skills 


Provide valuable resources to clients and act as a liason between services and the clients

Typical Workplace

  • Most are self employed.
  • The work can be very rewarding. Watching the development of clients improving overtime.

Attributes & Abilities 

Creativity Skills
Analytical and problem-solving skills
Organized & detail-oriented
Communication skills
Collaborative Skills
Computer skills
Grade 11

English (ENG3C/U)
Mathematics (MCR3U)

Leadership (GPP3O) (Recommended)
Designing Your Future (GWL3O) (Recommended)
Cooperative Education (Recommended)

Grade 12

English (ENG4U)

*5 Additional 4U/M Courses For University Candidates*

Related Post-Secondary Programs:


Career Support Specialist

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Contact Us
(647) 968 – 3304


4 Aquila Court
Etobicoke, ON M9W 5J2