Helping those with addiction and gaming in her spare time – A Q&A with Marie Bushie

Marie Bushie is placement student at the AIDS Committee of Durham Region in Toronto. She is also a gamer, and a generally kind person. She takes her work seriously, but always finds time to relax and game when she’s not helping people. I reached out to her to answer some questions about her job, and life.

What goes on in an average work day for you?

It varies from day to day. Some days I staff for our harm reduction office, other days I’m facilitating at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Some days I also create posters for groups. On average, I can expect myself to be facilitating at least one group. On Mondays, I can expect to be facilitating at CAMH for a Safe Spaces LGBTQ group, and every other Tuesday, I’m at Kennedy House, a correctional facility for young men.

Some days we host The Circle, a group for LGBTQ+ for individuals from all walks of life.

Have any cool or funny stories about a time you had at work?

There was one time where my coworker had splashed hand sanitizer all over herself and her desk. She was laughing very hard about it – as moments before we were talking about semen, haha. We all had a good laugh about it.

If you had a song to describe working for the Aids Committee, what would it be?

Honestly? Probably Ke$ha – We R Who We R. We’re all hot and everyone wants to roll with us. Just kidding. Kind of. We’re all pretty great. The work we do is great.

What makes this job different than your other jobs?

The community that I work with – I never had an interest in this sort of work until I got into the AIDS Committee of Durham Region. I was enthralled and captured completely in the work that we were doing: harm reduction, safe sex education, and supporting individuals at risk/affected by AIDS/HIV.

What’s the most rewarding part about working the Aids Committee?

The clients benefiting from what we do – we had a Think Tank back in January for HIV+ Youth that were transitioning into the adult healthcare system. The kids tend to drop out of the system once they hit 18, and last year we lost about 37 kids, with the majority being black males. Ontario has the highest rate of HIV positive kids that stop using the system when they turn 18.

So, we invited 12 HIV+ Youth to spend two days with us in Toronto, creating an accord, which was presented at the Ontario HIV Conference, to show the pediatrics care system and the adult care system how it should be done.

If you were a pizza, what kind would you be?

If I was a pizza, I’d likely be a vegetarian pizza…with the veggies under the cheese. Yum.

What is exciting in your personal life right now?

Ummm. Christ. I’m moving back to my hometown, which is exciting, but not an awesome exciting. I’m excited to be finishing college, and perhaps pursuing more school, was thinking of a Volunteer Managment Certificate. I want to get a bachelors in Social Work at Ryerson. I’m not ready to go for it yet, as I need some time off. Maybe moving to Alberta or Saskatchewan to do some work in my field (AIDS/HIV rates are soaring there).

Coffee or Tea?

Coffee. I think I have about four or five a day, as when I’m done at the AIDS Committee, I head over to my other jobs.

Favourite game?

Honestly hard to pick, but just…Steam platform in general? I’ve met so many awesome people who became real life friends. I met you through Left For Dead 2. My account was like, 3 days old at the time and it was my first time playing L4D2 Multiplayer. I added you and we’ve been friends ever since.

I met my current partner on an image board and we got to know each other better through Defense of the Ancients 2, so maybe that’s my favourite. Holds a place in my heart as I’ve met a lot of different people with different interests. Hell, I even met someone and flew to the Netherlands to meet them when I was 17.

If you had one piece of advice that you could give someone, what would it be?

When you’re at your highest, stay humble. When you’re at your lowest, stay hopeful.