Glenrose program lets patients practise volunteering
St. Albert Food Bank hosts innovative rehabilitation program
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Saturday, Mar 16, 2013 06:00 am
As the largest facility of its kind in Western Canada, the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital has a wide assortment of ways to help people recover from injuries and illness. Some of its methods even take therapy out of its doors and into the world.
Its therapists work to help patients recover as swiftly as possible so they can once again contribute to society in positive and meaningful ways.
One of its methods to do this is through its 10-week Adult Active Living program. It addresses each person’s emotional, social, physical and spiritual health, and it does so in part by showing them the many fine opportunities to be volunteers in their communities.
Last Monday, a group of the program’s clients went to the St. Albert Food Bank and Community Village. Facility staff members and two recreation therapists led the session that demonstrated how easy and rewarding it is to volunteer at the agency. They even set the attendees – a range of people from stroke survivors to those who had been injured on the job – down to some tasks for real-life experience.
“It worked out really, really well,” remarked organizer Glennis Kennedy. “It was tough at first to figure out what we were going to do with them. Once we got it rolling, I thought it was just a really unique collaboration.”
As the co-ordinator of volunteer centre services at the Community Information and Volunteer Centre, she made this arrangement after circumstances prevented the group from making a return visit to the Edmonton Food Bank.
“They wanted a hands-on experience so that they would get the clients into the community someplace and get a feel for volunteering. I contacted Suzan first,” she said, referring to St. Albert Food Bank director Suzan Krecsy.
“Both her and I were not really sure what the participants would be like, and what their abilities would be.”
The new volunteers did some basic tasks, including organizing and sorting donations. The session ended with a group chat about the volunteer centre and how it links organizations and individuals in the community.
“There were a few of them that were definitely interested in pursuing volunteering. I think they really enjoyed the experience. They had no idea the food bank could be that diverse in terms of the services that they offer, the size of it even,” Kennedy continued.
As much as the experience boosted the self-confidence of the program’s clients, it also contributed to further raising the volunteer centre’s profile as the go-to place for community help, Kennedy said.