As a Spring 2020 graduate of the Information and Library Sciences Technician program I had already experienced a change of learning due to COVID-19. Learning from a distance became the new reality for the end of my program. As the summer loomed ahead and Coronavirus continued, I was concerned about my job prospects as many places had closed down and were changing their work formats. I was fortunate enough to become aware of the summer student job posted being offered at the Huntingdon Wellness Centre for the Montérégie West Community Network (MWCN).This summer student position was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the community that our group serves and as a result I was able to take on a new project coordinator position with a focus on intergenerational activities.
During these ongoing troubling times of COVID-19, we have been able to continue to offer multiple programs and activities, to help people cope and to break isolation. Some of these activities have taken place in house, with safety precautions being put into place and a reduced number of participants allowed to attend. We have also been able to introduce many folks to a new technology- Zoom.
The Heritage Treasures Museum Intergenerational Pen pal Project
The Heritage Treasures Museum is located In Howick and is run by volunteers. Its goal is to celebrate local history both with artefacts through outreach to the community. This project is in collaboration with The New Frontiers School Board, the Museum, Franklin Elementary School, MWCN and local seniors. We have matched students with seniors to exchange letters around a series of timely topics including Halloween, Remembrance Day, Christmas, and others. We hope to achieve a better understanding of the similarities and changes that both groups have experienced in their lives. For some of the students this may be the first time they have received a letter, for the seniors this may be a way to revive something that they grew up doing and can share with someone else.
A Trip through Time – History Activity
This activity was started as part of summer student work and I have had the privilege of continuing these talks to date. Each Thursday a predetermined country, has been researched from their earliest history right up to present times. Along with a power point presentation a lecture and a lively discussion takes place and participates can offer comments, ask questions, and give their personal experiences to create a rich atmosphere of learning. This activity was taking place in person at the Wellness Centre until we entered the red zone. Since then we have adjusted and moved to the zoom format for the time being. This allows for more people to attend but takes away a bit of the ambiance. However, we all remain safe.
Each Thursday afternoon we host a bingo game for members of our community. Since COVID-19 we have had to limit the amount of people allowed at the centre, however those that do participate are enthusiastic bingo players! We have prizes and refreshments – this activity is another great way to feel part of a group.
Book Nook and Book reviews
Our book nook and puzzle centre is up and running! We have an excellent selection of books that include many genres. We encourage people to take out books or settle in for a good read at the Wellness Centre. Periodically I post a book review of one of our books and publish in our newsletter.
I feel that the work that I do at MWCN has given me a better appreciation of our community. The heart and soul of our organization is about compassion and helping others, I am pleased to be a part of this organization.