For many years, we have been blessed to have summer students join us at Shalem. This has been possible through funding from Canada Summer Jobs grants at Service Canada. These students have always been such a gift to us, and this summer was no exception!
We received funding for three students this summer, and they worked in WrapAround, RE-create, and Intake. These student’s contributions are significant to our work and the people we work with. It also gives post-secondary students the opportunity to work in the field of their study and gain work experience.
Brett was the Youth Outreach worker at RE-create. Brett is not a stranger to RE-create since he has been a volunteer in the studio throughout the previous year. Brett was a key part of our resilience research project Places and Spaces. This is a partnership with the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University and Dr. Linda Liedenberg.
Brett’s skills in videography and editing were invaluable to this research project, where six youth were each video-taped for a day to show the places and spaces in their community where they feel welcome and unwelcome. Brett’s ability to connect with the youth at Recreate was evident in the relationships developed over the summer
In WrapAround, Brooke was tasked with research and evaluation projects, and she worked in the community with our families. Brooke worked closely with our administrative team at WrapAround, researching various granting opportunities and also coordinating our evaluation work to date. This included conducting interviews with key stakeholders. Brooke’s outgoing personality was such a contribution to our community events this summer—her enthusiasm was contagious!
Here is how Brooke described her experience this summer: “Working with WrapAround was an excellent way to build my skill set while giving back to the community. I enjoyed working in such a supportive and open environment that was truly focused on helping those who need it most, and look forward to contributing to WrapAround’s research program in the future.”
A new summer position for Shalem this year was Intake Support. Rhonda jumped into the office support role quickly. Rhonda’s kind face greeted clients arriving at the Hamilton counselling centre, and her friendly voice was heard answering the phones. Through Rhonda’s time in the office, we were able to offer evening reception support for the first time! Rhonda was also able to tackle some office projects for us, including some preparation for our Attachment, Trauma and the Brain conference in November.
Rhonda often shared that this work experience confirmed her choice of Masters Program, which she began in September. She said, “Working at Shalem gave me significant insight into how critical mental health services are in helping people to lead more fulfilled lives. It was much more than a job, but a valuable life experience that I will carry with me as I continue on in my future.”
We already miss these wonderful students and we so grateful to each of them for their contributions to the work at Shalem. We wish each of them well as they resume their studies this fall!
Danielle VandenAkker is Shalem’s Managing Director.