Frost Manor working with local school to create more partnership opportunities

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School student Hunter Grozelle (centre) is pictured here with Grant Thurston (left) and Rick Riel (right).

Students are gaining valuable experience; residents are enjoying the interaction from current collaboration

Frost Manor and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School are working together to try to create more partnerships to enhance opportunities for students as well as for residents and staff members at the Lindsay long-term care home.

Students from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School in the co-op and special education programs have been at Frost Manor for the last part of the school year, and both programs have gone well, says maintenance and environmental services manager Rick Riel.

But Rick says there are opportunities to make the partnership even stronger.

“We’re building a strong partnership here, and we’re looking forward to more opportunities for all of us,” he says. “Due to the success of the co-op program that we have here, we’re looking to expand upon that next fall.”

Rick has two students in the school’s special education program and one student from the co-op program working with him. The students are gaining valuable work experience, and the help they provide frees up time Rick can spend with residents, he says.

“I can go spend my time doing other things to improve the quality of life for residents, so it’s a win-win for all of us,” he says.

“The biggest asset is that we’re building a community partnership. Their students are able to come to Frost Manor for high-school credits, and in turn, the students can help enhance the lives of the home’s residents. If, for example, there are students who can come in and sing or a gardening class that can come in and help plant flowers, they can come in and work with residents outside.”

And since Frost Manor and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School are only about one kilometre away from each other, the logistics are simple, Rick says.

“They are right down the road from us, so it’s easy access. We have the ability to draw off of your whole student body, so that’s very exciting.”

Rick adds that having students in the home “creates a new energy” for residents, who enjoy interacting with the younger generation.

“They’re always thrilled about that,” he says.

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