Growing up in Oro-Medonte, on the northwestern shore of Lake Simcoe, Sarah Stevenson (BEd/BASc'14) loved creating arts and crafts, painting, baking with her grandparents, and swimming.
She also had a passion for helping people, which led to her dream of becoming a teacher.
"In school, I had some amazing teachers who were fun and engaging and made you want to go to school," she says. "At some point, I realized that teaching was a profession I wanted to do."
Choosing to study at Lakehead Orillia meant that Sarah could stay home for university. She was one of the first students to attend the new Orillia campus at 500 University Avenue, which opened in 2010. Sarah says her university experience gave her opportunities to learn and meet different people.
"I had a great group of friends that became even closer when we were together as Cohort G for our final year, and met even more wonderful people as we became teachers," she says.
After completing her Bachelor of Arts and Science and Bachelor of Education degrees in 2014, Sarah worked in several Ontario communities, including Petawawa, home to a Canadian Forces base, and as a supply educational assistant and early childhood educator in Simcoe and Upper Grand County.
Though Sarah appreciated the valuable experiences in different areas, after two and a half years of relocating and doing supply work in schools, she decided she wanted to try something else.
"I always knew that I wanted to help. That's why I chose the teaching profession. And I wanted to do something where I could make a difference."
One day a friend suggested she consider becoming a registered massage therapist. Although Sarah had never even had a massage herself, she decided to give it a try and applied to the Sutherland-Chan School of Massage Therapy in Toronto.
Upon graduating in 2019, she worked in a clinic before opening her own business, Healing Touch Therapy, in December 2020. With her "Heal-Mobile" Sarah offers mobile massage therapy to clients in the comfort of their own homes. She offers a variety of massage therapies, including Swedish, myofascial release, trigger point work, prenatal, and lymphatic drainage.
Sarah integrates her education into all that she does and even makes time to volunteer with the board of Lakehead's Simcoe County Alumni Chapter.
"Lakehead University gives so much back to alumni and this community, so I want to keep it at the forefront."
She gives back through planning and participating in activities and events like homecoming. But when asked to be a panelist last summer for a webinar called "So you just graduated...now what?" she wasn't sure she was the right person. Her current mobile massage practice seemed to her like a big departure from her university studies.
"I said, 'I'm not currently working in the profession I studied for at university.' They said, 'That's the point. You're a great example that it's okay if you set out to do something and, on the way, you found something else that makes you even happier."
Visit healingtouchrmt.ca to find out more about Sarah's work.