Jennifer Anacleto-Areias MSW (Master of Social Work)
Mrs. Jennifer Anacleto-Areias earned her Masters Degree in Social Work at the University of Toronto from the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, specializing in health and mental health. She also completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Children’s Studies from York University.
Jennifer completed her first year masters practicum at Unison Health and Community Services at the Pathways to Education program, where she supported teens working towards successful high school completion. She utilized anti-oppressive practice, strengths-based approaches, and a youth development framework in order to support youth from diverse socio-economic, faith, ethnic, and racial backgrounds in academic, social, and life skill areas.
Jennifer’s final masters practicum was completed at Child Development Institute in the Integra Program, where she worked with children and youth with diagnosed Learning Disabilities (LDs) and their families. Jennifer was part of a multi-disciplinary team that provided mental health services to 8-18 year olds and their families struggling with socialization and friendships, emotion and behaviour regulation, and mental health concerns. Jennifer practiced individual, parent, and family therapy interventions, primarily from the approach of Emotion Focused Family Therapy, as well as incorporating Solutions Focused, Motivational Interviewing, and other modalities. She co-facilitated social groups to promote pro-social behaviours and improve social skills. She also supported in facilitation of a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness based Martial Arts group to teach and encourage self-regulation skills to help children address and cope with behavioral and emotional struggles.
Jennifer has been working with children and families in various capacities since 2012, when she began at Yorktown Family services in their Here to Help, COPE, and Supporting Young Families programs. She supported children and families with experience of domestic violence, parents experiencing behavioural challenges with their children, and youth under 24 years of age who were expecting or parenting. Jennifer also worked at Child Development Institute supporting children with behavioural challenges, especially with ADHD, ODD, and similar diagnoses as an activity group co-ordinator, homework club facilitator, and arts and crafts instructor for summer camp.
In addition to social service involvement with children and families, Jennifer has worked as an Early Childhood Assistant (ECA). She was a daycare preschool teacher, planning and implementing the preschool curriculum to promote healthy child development and early learning. She was also an ECA at an arts-based afterschool program for elementary school-aged children, where she planned creative arts and outdoor activities, and a camp counselor for three summers at an arts-based outdoor day camp for children 8-12 years of age.
Jennifer has experience working with the adult homeless population as a Community Shelter Worker. She supported shelter service users with activities of daily living, life skills practice, advocacy, and crisis de-escalation and response. She has worked with individuals experiencing chronic and temporary homelessness, addictions, mental health issues, substance use and other life challenges.
Jennifer enjoys planning and engaging in arts-based projects and incorporates creativity in her work, especially with children and youth. She is skilled in various art forms and creative outlets and uses these as modes of expression and representation, including drawing, painting, textile work, jewelry making, and sculpting. Jennifer also enjoys spending time with animals of all kinds, and has been referred to as a “squirrel whisperer” by colleagues and friends.