By Bryan Sparrow, Intern Student

It’s hard to believe that this summer marks my 7th consecutive year as CAAN’s Intern Student. These office walls in the Musqueam Reserve have seen me grow so much from when I started as a 16-year-old high school student to now – a 22-year-old university graduate. After my June 9th convocation, I wasted no time in getting back into the CAAN swing of things and began tackling the remainder of our Annual General Meeting (AGM) prep for this year’s event in July.

The addition of a second APHA day and presentation from BC’s Deputy Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Evan Adams, helped make this year’s AGM another great success for our team. However, the standout event for me had to be the Feast and Cultural Sharing on the night of July 3rd.

Each year at this banquet we honour a new batch of individuals, communities and organizations for their contributions to the work we do through the lens of HIV, and by the end there’s barely a dry eye in the house. This year was no different. Our Lifetime Legacy recipient, Rodney Little Mustache, struck a chord with me more so than anyone else as he touched on the number of obstacles he had faced up until this point in his life.

As if the first half of his speech wasn’t inspiring enough, Rodney ended by stressing the importance of education in his life and was met with a roaring round of applause upon announcing his acceptance into UBC’s Bachelor of Arts program. I think I speak for everyone present in the room when I say there was a shared feeling of pride after hearing his success story.

It’s teachable moments like this that make the months of planning, hours manning the registration desk and all the trips to Staples as a CAAN employee worth it. After facing so much adversity in his life, Rodney’s true colours shone bright that evening and radiated a message of positivity that it’s never too late to pursue something you’re passionate about. Despite just completing a four-year Bachelor’s of Journalism degree, I’m eager to begin school again at Humber College for Post-Graduate Public Relations program in January. Rodney’s excitement has certainly brushed off on me and I hope in some way he’s inspired you as well.

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