Alumni Update: Dean Koomans

Though I did not work for Act Five in its first year (‘19-’20), I still had the joy of getting to know Dean Koomans (‘20 alumni). I supervised Dean’s placement when I was working at CityKidz and we spent many evenings driving around the McQueston neighbourhood together doing home visits. Dean is thoughtful, brave, and gentle. I was very glad to catch up with him and I’m excited to share with you an update from Dean, more than two years after his time with Act Five. – David Schuurman, Program Manager

What have you been up to since Act Five?

In the fall after my Act Five experience I went to Mohawk College to study civil engineering. I loved being back in Hamilton because Hamilton had come to feel like home, but I ended up finding through that year at school that online learning wasn’t for me. I struggled with having to teach myself the classes I was in. So, I decided to move back home to Chatham and work for my parents business there. I’m still working there now. I spend my days running heavy equipment and working as a mechanic’s hand when needed. I really enjoy being back home and working full time. I’m happy with my job and am really enjoying it. 

Dean and his girlfriend Lerika at a recent wedding.

You are more than two years removed from your Act Five experience. What from Act Five are you still carrying with you?

I think the biggest thing I took from Act Five was making a place be “home” rather than just feel like a home. What I mean is that when you’re in high school you’re probably planning on going to college or university staying temporarily in the place you end up. If you live somewhere and see your time living there as temporary it makes it hard to become a part of that place. Act Five did a great job of helping us feel at home and feel like a part of Hamilton. I found so much comfort in that, and I have really been able to translate that into my life in Chatham. It has helped me settle down and enjoy the process of putting down roots and belonging to my home town. 

Another thing Act Five taught me is the importance of community. I recently switched churches and am attending a young adults group through my new church which has been really important to me. Act Five helped me break out of my comfort zone and has been a big part of why I feel comfortable with this new group. Before Act Five I would have never felt comfortable with going to a young adults group. 

What does your time at Act Five mean to you now?

It’s so hard to put into words what Act Five has done for me. It feels like taking 100 different thoughts and forming them into one. I would say that the time I spent at Act Five means everything to me. Act Five shaped me into the person I am today. I honestly have no idea where I would be without it. Act Five taught me so much. The program helped strengthen my spiritual journey and walk with God. It really did shape me into the person I am today. It is really hard to put into words what it has done for me, but I do know that I wouldn’t trade my Act Five experience for anything. I feel blessed to have been a part of it I would do it all over again. I would also encourage everyone to do it if they have the chance. 

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