Spending a morning volunteering with some of the city’s charitable organizations was an eye-opening professional development experience for staff of the UWindsor offices of Career Development and Experiential Learning and Cooperative Education and Workplace Partnerships, says Chris Busch, acting executive director of experiential learning.
The staff divided into teams to help out Victoria Manor Supportive Housing, the Windsor Youth Centre, the Unemployment Help Centre, and the Downtown Mission: cleaning, organizing donations, and spending time with residents and visitors.
The exercise was meant to introduce the concept of community service learning, an educational approach that integrates service in the community with intentional learning activities.
“By taking our own professional development off campus, our team was able to see how faculty and staff could embed learning outside the classroom while helping the community,” says Busch.
Afterwards, the teams came together to reflect on how community service learning could be supported within an academic course or intentionally designed as part of a co-curricular experience.
Busch notes that the partnering organizations are constantly in need of donations and volunteers, not only during the holiday season but year-round.
“Please consider making a donation, whether it be monetary, food or clothing, or even your time,” he says. “Every bit helps.”
- Victoria Manor Supportive Housing helps house those with mental health diagnosis, complex physical health care issues, developmental disability, frail seniors, and other people who cannot live independently.
- The Windsor Youth Centre aims to meet the immediate needs of homeless youth or youth at risk of homelessness. It provides food, clothing, personal hygiene, info about shelter, referral to other agencies, a safe place to hang out every evening, homework help, and other creative activities.
- The Unemployed Help Centre is dedicated to meeting the needs of the unemployed and economically challenged. Its programs and services include employment, educational, and career counselling; effective job search techniques; resumes and cover letters; pre-employment training programs; on-the-job training programs; literacy; a resource centre for self-conducted job search; and emergency food assistance.
- The Downtown Mission focuses on serving and advocating for those who struggle with poverty — men, women, and children. It provides emergency shelter, hot meals, and food packs for individuals and families in need.