Practical lessons

Working with people living with mental health issues was a new experience for me. The residents, the staff members and the volunteers of Our Harbour greatly contributed to my knowledge and insight about mental illness. During the year, I have worked under the supervision of Regine Bouzi, Coordinator at Our Harbour, who guided, supported, and gave me the space to learn and grow professionally.

My recent experience at Emploi Québec was very useful in responding to the needs of the residents to learn how to write a curriculum vitae. I designed and held a two-part workshop on how to develop a CV in November.  During the first session, a PowerPoint of all the components of a CV was presented to the residents. They had the chance to share their personal and professional experience and prepare a draft of their CV.

During the second session, I worked individually with residents who had participated in the workshop on how to create a properly formatted Word document of their CV.  Several residents have indicated to me just how much they appreciated the impact that this workshop has had on their personal goals. Some residents used it too in their applications to return to school and others to help them return to the job market.

Observing and working with Our Harbour’s residents, I realized that developing coping skills and strategies would be helpful. So, the second workshop that I developed and presented was on Coping Skills. All the residents were able to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy coping skills, identify their personal coping skills and support each other with ideas and suggestions. Residents experienced guided meditation and learned about how to keep a gratitude journal. Through the anonymous written comments, I realized what a positive impact this workshop had on the residents who participated.

This spring I am working on my third session for Our Harbour, which combines a spring-cleaning workshop, a hiking trip to Mont-Saint-Bruno, and writing a draft Residents’ Bill of Rights. I am very grateful to have had my last fieldwork placement at Our Harbour. This experience will help me in my next goal to complete a Bachelor of Human Relations at Concordia University.

Elina Pojar, Stagiaire

Dawson College Social Service Program