Springdale partnership providing valuable work experience to students

Mark Wilkins (second from left), a child and youth counsellor with Kinark Child and Family Services, is seen here with a group of students from Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School during a visit to Springdale Country Manor to prep the home’s gardens for planting.

A partnership between LTC home and a social-service agency is creating opportunities for teens

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – A partnership between Springdale Country Manor and the Kinark Child and Family Services’ S.T.R.I.V.E. (Support Teenagers in Readiness for Independence, Vocation and Education) program is offering a unique way to help local high school students make a difference in their community.

The OMNIway spoke with the students from Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School (TASSS) and their facilitators on a Friday morning when they were visiting the Peterborough County long-term care home to prep its gardens for planting in June.

One of the facilitators, Mark Wilkins, a child and youth counsellor with Kinark Child and Family Services, says the collaboration is providing the students with valuable work experience and a chance to make a difference to others in the community.

Mark recalls when the partnership began with Springdale about five years ago there was a resident who was doing a lot of the gardening. The resident and the students would work together on the prepping and planting.

“Our program hooked up with him, and we used to plant – I would bring a group of kids out here and we would plant with the residents,” Mark says.

As part of the program, students start planting flowers and vegetables in the greenhouse at TASSS around Christmastime. By May, the vegetables and flowers are sprouting, and that’s when the students come to Springdale to get everything ready for the planting.

The partnership began as a horticulture program but over the years has expanded to include other activities. For instance, the residents and students used to make cards together at Christmas, so there are also social benefits everyone receives from the program.

“It’s good for these guys (the students) because they get involved with the residents here, and it’s good for the residents because the residents get to interact with the students,” Mark says.

The goal of the S.T.R.I.V.E. program is to help teenagers accessing its services increase their employment and life skills so they can become fully independent and employable.

This is Part 2 of a two-part story.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at 1-800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 1-800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.com.