My name is Kerri Sperling and I have been a Social Work practicum student at the Crisis Shelter since January. My time at the YWCA Crisis Shelter and Residence was an incredible learning experience. During my time there, I shadowed two different supervisors and had the opportunity to shadow other staff members on occasion as well.
Generally, Mondays and Tuesdays I shadowed the Program Coordinator of the Shelter. During this time I learned all about planning the programming for the shelter, whether it was evening programming, holiday programming, or various day programs. I also gained beneficial interviewing skills as we hired, orientated, and coordinated the volunteers for the shelter. I was also able to do a number of blog articles for the Program Coordinator, and help her with the rest of her various daily tasks. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, I spent my time on the 3rd floor with the Turning Points Facilitator. During this time I was able to develop relationships with the women living there and better my communication skills. I assisted in intakes, interviews, leading programming, facilitating programming, case plans, and goal assessments with the women. I had the opportunity to shadow my supervisor as she took individuals to various appointments, connected them with resources, and helped them find programming to get involved in. During this time I learned a lot about what services are available for individuals facing various issues of domestic violence, mental health, addictions, homelessness, etc. On a few occasions I was able to shadow the Crisis Counsellors, and witnessed that no matter the busyness or unpredictability of their daily tasks, they are always willing sit and provide support for the individuals staying in the shelter. I was also able to collaborate with a few other students and plan a number of events for Social Work Week in the Community Service Village.
During my time at the YWCA, I learned that being a social worker involves having creativity, being able to improvise, and never being above or beyond doing various tasks.
From taking cans to Saran, ordering food for the shelter, writing blogs, facilitating programming, and doing case plans with individuals, there wasn’t much we did not do. My supervisors and entire staff at the Crisis Shelter have been patient teachers during my practicum. I feel that I have had well rounded learning experience in regards to the knowledge I have gained, and in developing numerous skills that will assist me in my future.
By: Kerri Sperling