Camosun grads in the community
Kelsey Webster, Residential Support Worker, Our Place
Kelsey Webster always knew she wanted to go into the helping field. She was passionate about the opportunity to make a difference because healing can be possible, and that she could accompany people through the process.
In order to be the most effective helper she could, she chose to study mental health. According to Kelsey, knowledge-based practice is key to responsible counselling. A resident of Whiterock, Kelsey moved to Victoria to attain Camosun's post-degree diploma in Interprofessional Mental Health and Addiction (IMHA), completing it in 2017.
Although Kelsey chose the IMHA program because it offered a formal way to move forward in her helping career, there was an unanticipated benefit of getting to know herself on a deeper level and having her career path confirmed. While classes were relevant and engaging, and the instructors caring and knowledgeable, it was the practicum that proved especially important. Along with writing weekly reflective journals and connecting course learning to the practicum experience, Kelsey and her classmates also received plenty of honest, helpful feedback from practicum supervisors.
Kelsey made close ties with her classmates. Her cohort was made up of people from many walks of life bringing different perspectives to the group. Though they came from a variety of backgrounds, Kelsey and her peers shared a common passion for mental health, and they were able to continue to support each other in their field after graduation.
One year later, Kelsey's cohort is still very close, and they meet up from time to time. They depend on each other for understanding and empathy. That's a critical role since partners and family often cannot relate to the trials and rewards unique to health care work.
Kelsey applies much of what she learned at Camosun in her current job at Our Place, an inner-city community centre serving Greater Victoria. A particular piece Kelsey appreciates from working at Our Place is the collaboration and team approach with both coworkers and residents.
Kelsey loves her work contributing to the service at Our Place. "I really appreciate the knowledge and practical skills that I got from the IMHA program to help prepare me for working in this field."
Profile on Partnership: Our Place and Camosun College
By Grant McKenzie, Director of Communications, Our Place
Established in 1967 as a soup kitchen, today Our Place is a unique inner-city community centre serving Greater Victoria's most vulnerable: working poor, impoverished elderly, mentally and physically challenged, addicted and the homeless.
Our Place provides over 1,000 meals per day, plus 1,200 snacks, hot showers, education, job skills, free clothing, counseling and outreach services; plus 45 transitional housing units and over 120 temporary shelter mats. Most importantly, it provides a sense of hope and belonging to our neighbours in need. Individuals and businesses provide the majority of financial support for its programs and services.
Our Place has a wonderful working relationship with Camosun College, not just in employing many of its Mental Health and Addiction program graduates, but also with both its Dental Hygiene and Hospitality programs. Students in the Dental Hygiene program have been practicing their skills in the Our Place hygiene/shower area as part of their practicum.
Students in Camosun's Hospitality program are now generously serving two white-linen dinners at Our Place annually. Not only does this provide event practice and the notion of charity for the students, it is a wonderful treat for the people being served at Our Place.