‘I absolutely love it here,’ says social service student
Cassandra Shepherd is still unsure of where her diploma in social services will lead her when she graduates from Barrie’s Georgian College, but of one thing she is certain — her time so far working on a student placement at Schlegel Village’s Coleman Care Centre has placed a career in elder care on her radar screen.
“I haven’t narrowed it down, what exactly I want to do after school, but this is something that I’m definitely interested in, because I’m completely and thoroughly enjoying it,” Cassandra says.
She began her time at Coleman in early September and says she’s had an immense amount of quality time with residents, which is hands-on education that not all of her fellow students are enjoying at this stage.
“They get me really involved here and I’m learning a lot,” Cassandra says. “It’s really good experience for me.”
The conversations she’s shared with residents have been the most memorable aspect of the placement so far, she says, making special note of her time helping with the Java Music Club, a program recently introduced encouraging groups of residents to openly discuss their inner-most feelings in a safe and supportive environment.
It’s right up a would-be social worker’s alley.
There’s one person in particular she’s grown fond of who she connects with every day she’s at the home.
“She is just completely amazing, the things she can do,” Cassandra says, noting the resident lives in near blindness.
“She is the happiest lady ever, and being around her, it makes me want to be in this area of work more, because it’s kind of like an inspiration.”
Cassandra had no preconceived notions of what to expect when she began her work at Coleman, as she’s never had any personal connection to a long-term care environment.
She did assume, however, that it was a place where mostly nurses or personal support workers would train, and so was a bit surprised to learn that social workers can have an important part to play in the well-being of residents.
The Java Music Club is a great example of the importance of addressing emotional challenges residents can face at times, and there’s an alignment she sees in her experience with that program and the theories she’s currently studying.
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