Tuesdays, À la Social Service Intern

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To continue with a bit of an inside scoop on my work as the Social Service Intern with House of Friendship, here is a post describing a typical Tuesday for me.

At 8:30am, I arrive at Eby Village, another one of House of Friendship’s programs. Built in 1990, this is an affordable, supportive housing program for single men and women. The tenants and staff work together to make Eby an amazing place of community. Here, I get the privilege of hanging out with the staff and tenants of the program, and working to support the tenants in different areas they may need support.

The staff at Eby Village are always joyful and fun to be around. The Eby office is always full of energy and laughs, while remaining a place for tenants to come to receive support. The two support workers, Walter and Ashley, work to support tenants in various areas.

It is an incredible experience for me to be able to work alongside the staff of this program, and to work with and spend time with the tenants. Many of the tenants bring their pets down to the office for a short visit. They are open to spending time with me and sharing their life stories with me, which is something that I really appreciate. Currently, I spend some of my time on Tuesday mornings working closely with a tenant who has diabetes, or going on outings with a group of tenants.

Food is also an integral part of community life at Eby Village. Twice a month, for example, there are “dining” nights for the tenants; these events cost two dollars per person, and the money given goes back to supporting Eby Village. For these dining events, tenants and staff use resources from their own kitchen or from the kitchen of the hostel to create a delicious meal. Other events like volunteer appreciation dinners and Christmas dinners use food resources around House of Friendship to leave the tenants (and staff!) with full bellies.

Eby residents and friends gather to celebrate 20 years of shared history

Around 11:45, I make my way over to the hostel, where I grab keys to one of House of Friendship’s passenger vans. This giant 8-passenger van is what I drive to pick up mothers and their young children (up to the age of six), to take them to one of two churches in Kitchener. It is when I jump into the green passenger van that I begin my work with Live and Learn (where I also work on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons). This is one of our Family Services programs here at House of Friendship, which provides programming/childcare for children, as well as programming for mothers. On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, I work with and spend time with the children. I love getting to see their development as I spend time playing with them from week to week, or month to month. It is so great seeing their language and motor skills develop and progress. And it’s also lots of fun seeing their creativity. It’s rewarding to see how excited the children are to meet and play with other children when they get to the group. On Thursdays, I get a bit of a different perspective of the groups: I get to spend time with the mothers, and get a chance to build relationships with them and participate in the activities that they are doing. (Things such as sewing, cooking, and various types of workshops).

Sometimes, I see mothers that I work with at the Live and Learn program access other House of Friendship resources, such as the Emergency Food Hamper program. I find it amazing that there are resources and programs, all under the same umbrella organization, that help individuals to meet needs in various areas of their lives.

At the end of the two-hour Live and Learn program, the mothers and children that I drove to the church hop back into the van to be dropped off back at home. It’s meaningful  to know that I won’t just get to see these women and children once, but that I get a chance to build relationships with them over the course of the year.

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