While many post-secondary students are heading to classrooms and sitting in desks, practicum students at The Mustard Seed are learning some of their most important skills firsthand.
Often the most important lessons learned are outside the classroom, and the RBC Foundation agrees. Each year, the Foundation supports our practicum program through their Future Launch program, giving students an opportunity to learn new skills in their desired field.
Last year, 106 students completed various practicum programs in all five cities where TMS operates, contributing 25,198 hours of service to support people experiencing poverty and homelessness. Through the support of the RBC Foundation our practicum students received one-on-one mentorship, peer-support, and a variety of hands-on educational learning opportunities during their placements.
"Having my first placement at the Mustard Seed was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Jilaine Barton, who completed a practicum at The Mustard Seed’s Health and Wellness Centre two years ago. “I have learned not only about the profession of occupational therapy, but also about myself. I will take forward this experience and strive to encounter everyone I meet with compassion, empathy, and understanding."
The Mustard Seed works hard to create a safe space for students to learn practical knowledge for their future careers and, as Jilaine says, learn more about themselves in the process.
“At my previous practicum program, I never really got the chance to interact with people as it was all online. The Mustard Seed gave me the opportunity to be on the frontline and do the nitty gritty work to serve the community,” says Jaret McNabb, a Street Level practicum student. “The community we serve challenged me in ways that have helped me grow in understanding for people at all levels.”
For many students, making the shift from post-secondary schooling into their desired career can be a daunting step. It can be difficult to take the lessons from a textbook and apply them in the real world– that is where The Mustard Seed’s practicum program steps in. We are able to bridge the gap by offering real job experience in a safe space. The practicum program gives students the confidence they need in their chosen career path, while making a difference in their community at the same time.
“Not only did I learn many things from this practicum that I can learn in any sort of field in social work in the future, but it inspired me to continue working in the same area. I currently have a job this spring and summer working with individuals who are homeless or face low income to provide them with resources and shelter,” says Sophie Packman, another Street Level practicum student.
The Mustard Seed is incredibly grateful for the high caliber of students we host and train, in addition to our long history of producing graduates who are hired on to our organization. This year we are pleased to announce the hiring of four students into staff positions!
Thank you, to the RBC Foundation for your continued support!