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Natalie Zabolotsky is the recipient of the 2018-19 Award for Collaboration – one of the highest honours of Circle of Care’s employee recognition program, Champions of Care.

A Passion for Problem Solving

Natalie Zabolotsky found her way into the world of social work unexpectedly. “Even though I’ve always loved working with people, I never thought I would be working in the field of social work,” says Natalie, Circle of Care’s Social Work Practice Lead. “I graduated with a degree in engineering.”

After immigrating to Canada from Israel 18 years ago, Natalie took on a volunteer position at a community centre for seniors, where she was soon hired to run a project for isolated seniors in the community. After realizing her true calling, she went on to pursue a social work degree, followed by a Masters.

Yet, despite the obvious differences between engineering and social work, both professions are anchored in their purpose of problem-solving. At Circle of Care, clients struggling with everyday living or dealing with a difficult situation may be referred to Natalie, or one of the social workers on her team, where they are matched to supports that can help them meet their goals.

Looking at possibilities

“Instead of focusing on the problem, we help our clients look toward possibilities. We are empowering individuals with the knowledge, resources and capacity to self-direct and self-govern their lives and circumstances,” says Natalie.

In addition to connecting clients to services and helping with service coordination, Circle of Care social workers also offer supportive counselling, advocacy, and assistance with accessing government programs and complementary supports within the community.

“It’s a demanding field that provides high levels of reward,” says Natalie. “I work with some of the most vulnerable people in our community, and I’m able to make a real contribution to improve their lives. Listening to clients’ stories, respecting their life experience, making them feel important and valued – this is the theory that guides my Social Work practice.”

Celebrated for Collaboration

In May 2019, Natalie was awarded the Champions of Care Award for Collaboration. This award is presented to an employee who seeks and embraces meaningful partnerships that contribute to the Sinai Health System vision of being an integrated health system and realizing the best health and care for people with specialized and complex needs.