Cardboard box

   M A R T I N   C A M I R É  

44 Martin Camiré   44 Cardboard box

Over the past years, I’ve worked in the streets, in shelters, in treatment centres and in hospitals. Throughout those experiences, I always felt that I was privileged to work with people.

But after 10 years of practice, I became obsessed by two things: how come some people don’t have access to care and how can I improve my practice in groupwork. So I made the unfamiliar choice to become a manager and to complete a Masters in Social Work at the same time. On one side I thought my skills as a leader will be helpful to move things around for the clients and to act as an agent of change. On the other side, going back to university was a way to improve my knowledge and my skills about groupwork practice.

My journey in social work is far from ending. Now my principal occupation is to lead different projects  about addiction, mental health and homelessness in Québec, Canada. And I also give supervision and training of groupwork practice.


I choose Cardboard box because …

… like social work it’s been around for years. The first commercial cardboard box was produced 200 years ago (1817). Cardboard boxes comes in different shapes and sizes. Easy to find, it can accomplish many different tasks, some are precise and short term, other are over a  long period and for multiple purposes. The production of a cardboard box is quite simple, even if its use can be quite complex.

But, the cardboard box is not always receiving the respect it should deserve. Sometimes people think well, it’s only a box! They focus on the appearance over its use, content or surprising potential. Ask kids, they will show you the potential! And what about outside the box … have you ever thought about that?!

So a cardboard box has a wonderful potential: It can shelter, it can be a game, it can be a useful way to move things. It can be used to bring food, to offer gifts, to keep secrets … and what about the essential miscellany box that accepts things that are diverse and disparate, things that have difficulties finding their own place and space … or the lost and found box that takes care of those that are abandoned, neglected, forgotten? For a homeless person on a cold night a Cardboard box can save a life.

Like social work, I think that our imagination is the only limit of a Cardboard box.

Like social work, Cardboard box can make a difference, even a life saver.

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