Child and Youth Care (CYC) diploma students at Humber College were struggling to find placements to fulfill the work-integrated learning component of their program during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the Work-Integrated Learning Centre and faculty members worked to find a solution.
They came up with CYC Virtual Hangout, a solution for many community partners facing their own pandemic challenges. CYC Virtual Hangout required students to build workshops for youth service providers like after-school programs and alternative schools working with youth of all ages. Then, they delivered the one-hour virtual workshops to young people over video calls.
"It was a good opportunity to get creative and develop a mechanism that allows students to be able to practice and meet learning outcomes in their CYC courses and help the community see our people as people who can provide solutions," said Corina Ivory, manager of placements and partnerships in the Faculty of Social and Community Services (FSCS).
After a successful first semester with students from the diploma program, FSCS also opened the initiative to include Bachelor of Child and Youth Care students.
Over two semesters, 56 CYC students booked and delivered 51 workshops to rave reviews.
Jorien Stephens was one of the CYC students looking for a way to get practical experience during the pandemic. He previously coached a basketball team and worked for a school board, and he missed it.
Stephens and his group delivered workshops to young adults, teens and younger children.
"We worked with a lot of children on the spectrum in our self-esteem workshop," said Stephens.
The student group had them draw pictures of themselves to show how they felt about themselves.
"Our life skills workshop was an older crowd, more high school students. We helped them figure out how to create resumés, how to plan better, use their time more effectively," said Stephens.
The experience is invaluable to Stephens, who plans to pursue teaching after completing his Humber program.
"I'm doing exactly what I wanted to do. Help kids during the day, so when they wake up the next day, they feel better than before. Be that positive impact in a kid's life. I really felt like that. I wasn't with them for four or five months, but even that hour and a half, I felt like I did something," said Stephens.
One of the workshops his group presented was for older youth at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel (BBBSP).
"The group did a fantastic job in presenting on the topic of resumé building and employment searching," said BBBSP's Joanna Pereira.
"The engaging activities, use of breakout rooms, sharing content, answering questions, sharing personal lived experiences were all done very well and smoothly. The youth truly enjoyed and appreciated it."
The program's community partners gave feedback to FSCS to help students improve and excel, but also to help the college see if students are performing well across the Humber Learning Outcomes (HLOs), core skills and mindsets that contribute to student and graduate success.
Workshops like the one for BBBSP were the most popular of all CYC Virtual Hangouts offerings, including presentations on self-advocacy, sex and sexuality and employment searching.
Learn more about the CYC Virtual Hangout initiative here.
To book a workshop, please email FSCSwork.firstname.lastname@example.org