Second year Community Social Work (CSW) students from Portage College have completed their Community Development projects – and local community agencies are the main beneficiaries. Otherwise known as work integrated learning, the projects allow the students from Cold Lake and Lac La Biche to apply the skills they learned in class to real-world settings while also gaining valuable experience and lending a helping hand in their communities.
“In total our students were able to raise an astounding $5,609.90 dollars for various community initiatives,” said Lyla Allan, Program Coordinator for Community Social Work and Fine Arts. “I am extremely proud of the students’ efforts and the support from the instructors to raise the funds for the community agencies.”
As part of the program, students select the agencies after first conducting some research and then brainstorm ways they can support them.
“The students are placed in small groups and are asked to use the following question as their guide as they brainstorm project ideas: What is something we can do in partnership with an agency to benefit the community?” said Jana McKinley, Social Work Instructor in Lac La Biche. “From there they come up with a project idea and connect with an agency, or sometimes they will connect with an agency who has an existing idea that the students help to put into action.”
Community involvement has been part of the CSW curriculum for many years and is valued by the students, instructors, and communities alike.
“These projects provide our students with the opportunity to develop their skills in the areas of collaboration, communication, needs assessment, evaluation, budgeting, defining objectives, organization and planning, marketing, documentation, and other skills that may be specific to their chosen project while building relationships and contributing positively to their communities,” said Audrey Cochrane, Social Work Instructor in Cold Lake.
CSW students completed the following projects this year:
- Conducted a bottle drive which raised $964.60 for Cases for Kids, enabling the agency to buy 11 suitcases and 2 backpacks for children and youth in the foster care system (WJS) in Lac La Biche.
- Organized a silent auction and polar plunge which raised $1,665 for the Out of the Elements Shelter in Lac La Biche. Students partnered with RCMP and Lac La Biche County Peace Officers and once they reached their initial $1,000 goal, the officers volunteered to be soaked with cold water from a fire truck hose. Watch the FB Live video here.
- Held a walk-a-thon which raised $430 for the Waskaysoo Community Food Bank at the Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre.
- Collected donations for Kits for a Cause and ended up raising enough money to create 102 hygiene kits for the Cold Lake John Howard Society and the Bonnyville Men’s Shelter. The kits help to ensure proper hand hygiene and include hand warmers. The Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre received feminine hygiene products as well.
- In partnership with The Dragonfly Centre, raised $2,550 to create hospital care kits. Of the final tally, $1,800 was used to create 40 bags for the Cold Lake Healthcare Centre and the Bonnyville Health Centre. The Dragonfly Centre used the remaining funds to replenish bags. The kits are for anyone who is leaving a hospital setting after experiencing a sexual assault, domestic violence, accident, or any situation where their clothing has been compromised.
“The Community Social Work faculty and staff would like to acknowledge all of our second-year students’ hard work on these initiatives to raise funds for their community,” said Allan. “They have done themselves, the College, and their communities proud.”
If you would like to learn more about our Community Social Work Program visit portagecollege.ca or call 1-866-623-5551.