Social Work students employ 'can-do' attitude during placements
May 8, 2020
As King’s became a largely virtual campus, a remote learning plan model was created for all Social Work Practicums. Students placed at The Salvation Army London Centre of Hope Recovery Community Centre, the Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario and at the London Middlesex Community Housing are examples of how social work students have continued to serve our community.
The students include:
- Meghan Mason, 3rd Year BSW student – with The Salvation Army
- Dakota Grass, 3rd Year BSW student – with The Salvation Army
- Margaret Pajak, 3rd Year BSW student – with The Salvation Army
- Christine Loop, 3rd Year BSW student – with the Parkinson Society
- Sarah McGowan, 3rd Year BSW student – with London Middlesex Community Housing
- Stephanie Kieffer, 1st Foundation BSW student – with London Middlesex Community Housing
- Carrie Bowen, 3rd Year BSW student – with London Middlesex Community Housing
- Jackie Iwanski, Advanced Study BSW student – with London Middlesex Community Housing
- Kendra Melanson, Foundation student– with London Middlesex Community Housing
- Naomi Perez, 3rd Year BSW student – with London Middlesex Community Housing
Students have been creating policy and protocols such as confidentiality and release of information forms, doing wellness checks, crafting counselling programs and working on programming for clients all using virtual delivery.
Christine Loop, 3rd Year BSW student, says there has been a real ‘can-do’ attitude among her student peers as they quickly adapted to the online placements. King’s social work professors are impressed by the impact their students are having on communities in need.
“Our students were able to put aside their own anxieties to focus upon the needs of others. I couldn’t be happier and prouder,” says Dr. Rick Csiernik, Professor in the School of Social Work.
Margaret Pajak, 3rd Year BSW student, says Dr. Csiernik prepared students for these new conditions. “He would move our classroom around constantly and remind us how important flexibility is. I feel I’m really prepared,” she says.
“Our learning foundation was a little bit more innovative, which has helped us progress to remote learning more seamlessly,” says Jackie Iwanski, Advanced Studies MSW student.
“I am so appreciative of the flexibility and adaptability of the students. They’ve had to dive right into the deep end and I really think that’s going to serve them well as they go forward in their careers,” says Kylene Dube, MSW Practicum Coordinator.
“I never thought the students wouldn’t rise to the occasion, even knowing there had to be some difficult conversations and hard choices and change of plans. I want to commend everyone in the program for pivoting, rolling up their sleeves and wanting to get it done,” says Mary Kay Arundel, Coordinator of Field Education at King’s School of Social Work.
The community partners, who have had to change and adapt as well are very appreciative of the students’ assistance during this challenging and unexpected time.
“You really can’t put a dollar value on the creativity and insight the students bring to us. Just having these bright minds work alongside us, they have been instrumental in supporting individuals within The Recovery Community Centre to provide supports along their recovery journey from substance use,” says Sarah Collins, Program Director, The Salvation Army London Centre of Hope Recovery Community Centre.
“We get asked for counselling all the time so it’s nice to have something in place to support our clients. It is coming together very quickly. We’re quite excited about this,” says Lisa Nixon, Information and Referral Specialist, Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario about her new partnership with the School of Social Work.
Tim Smuck '14, Manager of Community Engagement, London Middlesex Community Housing, says the rise in mental health issues due to COVID-19 makes the partnership with King’s crucial. “King’s School of Social Work is bringing their expertise and it’s helping this organization,” he says.
Overall, the King’s School of Social Work has 73 students in placement until June, including Master of Social Work (Foundation year, 2nd year, Advanced Standing) students and 3rd year Bachelor of Social Work students.
To learn more about King’s School of Social Work, please visit https://socialwork.kings.uwo.ca/