During SEARCH shifts, social programs run at various times for people of all ages. These programs include:
Nutrition Program: SEARCH offers a hot lunch at the beginning of each shift. This is prepared by the volunteers and planned by a Nutrition mentor in accordance with Canada’s Food Guide. Clients are also able to consult with the Nutrition mentor for guidance with type II diabetes management and other diet inquiries.
Fun With Food: Fun with Food is a program that is run for clients of all ages. It is a cooking program where clients can learn to cook quick, easy, and healthy meals. There are many goals of this program that include educating clients on healthy food options, teaching basic cooking skills, increasing health literacy, providing food cost comparison education, and type II diabetes management.
Women’s Group: The women’s group runs once a month for an hour. It is a group that is for women and lead by women. The topics are usually based around the interests of the women who attend and it is facilitated by a social work mentor and a student volunteer. Topics may be planned in advance or women can bring other topics on the day of the group. The goal of this group is for women in the community to feel support by their peers, as well as have access to expert guidance from a trained professional. Activities such as beading, arm knitting, sewing, and adult colouring are integrated into this group to ensure participation and allow participants to gain new skills and be supported by their peers.
Counselling: Adult counselling is SEARCH’s newest program. Counseling was implemented in order to target the needs of the community and provide the service in an already well-known, reputable organization within the neighbourhood. This program is currently provided only for adults, with plans for expansion to children and families. Lastly, this program is offered free of charge.
Cultural Support: Throughout the years that SEARCH has been operating, we have recognized that SEARCH serves a high number of First Nations and Métis people. The mentors and students see many generations of families and learn many things about the First Nations culture from the clients. As an organization, we have always worked tirelessly to create a positive environment that offers holistic healthcare, however, there have been limitations to the amount of cultural support offered. Therefore, a cultural support worker has been hired in order to work with students and mentors to provide cultural guidance and increase cultural sensitivity. This person will also provide support to clients at their request and fulfill the cultural needs of the community.
What’s the Buzz?: What’s the Buzz? is a health awareness group. This program can be directed at children and adults, depending on the topics. Each week this program runs, a speaker, mentor, or the shift supervisor prepares a presentation to educate clients on a particular topic. The topics are usually chosen based on the interest of the clients as well as who is available to come and speak. This program is enjoyed by families together, as there is usually an interactive component to get everyone learning together.
Children’s Programs: The goal of children’s programming is to incorporate a holistic approach to the overall health of children. SEARCH believes that through offering these activities, learning opportunities for children are also provided. The goals in creating this program include exposing children to a variety of activities (cultural, educational, artistic, musical, toddler toys, etc.), provide education opportunities through play, and spark interests in children in a way that will creates an outlet for children to deal with difficult life circumstances and become more resilient individuals.
Literacy Days: Days runs once a month at SEARCH. On the day this occurs, all other regular programming (aside from lunch, the drop in clinic, and counselling) is not run. In creating this program SEARCH wanted to promote literacy at the clinic and do so in a way that reflected the cultures and traditions of the people served. Activities clients participate in include family word games, arts and crafts, medicine wheel presentations, tipi teachings, story-telling, drumming, and many more that promote written and oral language being passed down through generations.
Childcare: Childcare is provided to parents and children who attend SEARCH. This allows parents the option to participate in programming, see the doctor, or just get in some visiting time with friends and family.
These programs are all run by students with the guidance of the mentors available at each shift. It is a great hands on learning experience for students to practice working in their profession as well as with an interdisciplinary team.