The University of Windsor was honoured to present Schlegel Villages with a 2018 Co-op & Internship Employer Recognition Award this spring as part of National Co-op and Work-Integrated Learning Week.
“Your commitment to our University of Windsor co-op program has been outstanding and many future careers have been shaped because of your efforts,” said Kristen Morris, the university’s manger of co-operative education and workplace partnerships.
Among other criteria, the award recognizes organizations that are actively engaged in on-campus learning opportunities while creating “exceptional work term experiences throughout the year,” she added.
Not long after The Village of Aspen Lake opened in Windsor in 2012, a partnership began to form with the university and its kinesiology department and when the Village at St. Clair opened a few years later, the partnership continued to expand. Amy Harbin, the coordinator of the program for active living with Schlegel Villages, says the award recognizes the gifts and contributions of the teams in both villages, specifically kinesiologist Janelle Way and exercise therapist Kristin Frye at St. Clair and exercise therapist Jake Corrent at Aspen Lake.
Jake, for example, mentored under Janelle’s guidance as Aspen Lake while he studied at the university, and he now offers the same mentorship opportunities to others. Likewise, Janelle and Kristin offer their expertise as well as their unique understanding of the joys of working with residents in long-term care settings.
Amy says co-operative placement opportunities are important because they introduce students to possibilities working with older adults they might never have considered. It was like that when she studied kinesiology and her time working in different villages quickly changed that.
“I didn’t come from a spot where I though I wanted to work with seniors because of some of those ageist, stereotypical view that society seems to have,” Amy says, “so I think this is an awesome way for us to show the kinesiologists what the potential is in what they can do.
“To watch them see what is possible is absolutely exhilarating,” she adds.
The organization also has a strong partnership with kinesiology students from the University of Waterloo, and countless other students studying everything from nursing to social work in post-secondary institutions across the province benefit from learning opportunities in all villages.
Speaking from the perspective of a kinesiologist, Amy says she believes the efforts of the teams to help students see aging from a different perspective helps break down some of the stereotypes she recalls, and she hopes more students will consider the varied opportunities in supporting long-term care residents.
She was beyond proud to receive word of the recognition offered by the University of Windsor.
“Those kins (kinesiologists) have worked so hard to give those students such amazing opportunities,” she says. “I’ve been able to watch it and it tells us that we’re doing the right things because amazing things are happening.
“To see that acknowledgement in the community is massive.”