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EnactusDC embarks on first international project

EnactusDC is celebrating the launch of its first international project, Project G.R.O.W.(Generating Real Opportunities Worldwide), and a fantastic first trip to South Africa!

EnactusDC is the Durham College (DC) chapter of Enactus, an international organization of student entrepreneurs who develop businesses that make positive social, economic or environmental impacts in their local communities or internationally. The EnactusDC team is a part of the FastStart SHIFT program at the college, a business start-up accelerator designed for social enterprises.

Project G.R.O.W. is one of the team’s six active projects for 2020 and the first to introduce impactful international work into the mix. It is a welcome addition to EnactusDC’s 2020 competitive project roster, which also includes Girls EnPower, True Grit, Money Makes Cents, M03 Solutions and 3eehive.

During the college’s winter break, EnactusDC team leaders traveled to rural community schools in South Africa’s central region, known as Midrand, where they performed a formal needs assessment for a new food literacy and education-based garden project. Project G.R.O.W. is working with Canadian partner Rainbow Plate to design custom curricula around an experiential learning-based garden project for South African students, ages 0 to 5. The team will work with teachers at participating disadvantaged schools to implement curricula, build gardens and provide an entrepreneurial training opportunity to generate income through sales of the surplus garden yield.

The project is led by three students from DC’s Marketing – Business program: Chin-Ting Sherwin, Jonathan Bayne and Christian Lopers. These students forged a fantastic connection with their in-country host, celebrated DC alumna Cailey Hart. Since graduating from DC’s Early Childhood Education program in 2010, Cailey has become the principal of Botshabelo Urban Kids Educentre in South Africa.

The students were joined by EnactusDC faculty advisor Chris Daniel, a professor with DC’s school of Science & Engineering Technology.

“It was amazing to watch the impact that Durham College’s ECE teaching methodologies have had on increasing the skills of the local urban and rural preschool teachers around Midrand, South Africa,” says Chris.  “It’s a true credit to Cailey’s leadership and since she has clearly shown great success at helping her colleague replicate her skill set, I’m confident that her ability to manage the creation and duplication of a garden and the Rainbow Plate nutrition methodology throughout the region will be successful as well.”

Team member Chin-Ting Sherwin adds, “Being able to visit communities in South Africa has been a life-changing experience. The warm welcome from the people within the schools and the overall lifestyle have opened my eyes to how happiness comes in many forms. This opportunity has changed my perspective and was unforgettable.”

Cailey Hart hosted the EnactusDC team onsite at her school and introduced members to several rural schools in disadvantaged areas, which are to become the focus of the project work. In addition to their gratitude to Cailey, EnactusDC is thankful to the college for its ongoing support, the DC Alumni Association, DC Students Inc. and DC’s International Office for helping make this new initiative possible.


DC students test their skills and collaborate in emergency simulation

On February 29, 195 Durham College (DC) students, faculty and industry partners collaborated on an intense, large-scale emergency simulation exercise at the Oshawa campus that let students put their classroom and lab training into action.

Bringing together participants from the schools of Justice & Emergency Services, Health & Community Services and Media, Art & Design, as well as peers from Ontario Tech University’s nursing program, the exercise followed a detailed script that saw volunteers simulate a mass-casualty emergency stemming from a sports-racing situation.

Unfolding in real-time, the exercise provided students with valuable experiential learning as well as a better understanding of how members of emergency services, health and social services, legal services and the media work together during an emergency. A second simulation exercise focused on mock legal proceedings in connection with the emergency will be held Saturday, March 7.

Students from the following DC programs participated:


From classroom to community – DC Social Service Worker student puts learning into action

“My student experience has just completely exploded into opportunity.”

Amanda Cowan, a second-year Social Service Worker (SSWK) student at Durham College (DC), can barely contain her excitement. She’s describing how she took her classroom learning into the community while participating in a recent “Day of Action” focused on developing solutions for local winter homelessness.

On June 21, Cowan joined a group of approximately 60 like-minded individuals from Durham Region service agencies, including the John Howard Society, the HOPE Coalition and other advocacy groups, and the greater unsheltered community for a brainstorming and planning session. The event was co-facilitated by Durham Mental Health Services, under the leadership of regional housing coordinator Doreen Hume McKenna, and hosted by the New Life Neighbourhood Centre in Oshawa.

The opportunity to take part and gain valuable real-world experience in her chosen field came to Cowan through an earlier event held as part of an ongoing partnership between the Regional Municipality of Durham, Social Services Department, and DC.

The two-day living lab, Co-production: Climbing the ladder of participation in public service delivery, focused on a new vision of public service, which involves an equal and reciprocal approach between service providers and people using public services. Funded by the DC International Research Fund, the event featured Dr. Stuart Muirhead, an international expert on co-production, from The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services in Scotland.

“When my professor, Randy Uyenaka, put out the call for volunteers for the co-production event, I jumped at the opportunity,” recalls Cowan. “It sounded like a great opportunity to sit in a room with a bunch of people all thinking the same way about important issues.”

Her instincts paid off when being in the room for the co-production event and participating in a breakout session evolved into new opportunities. Along with eight other attendees, Cowan broke off from the co-production event to form a working group that would look at how the co-production model could be used to tackle homelessness in the region.

“The working group put out the invite to other community members and groups and the Day of Action on winter homelessness quickly started to take shape,” says Cowan. Participants were offered an honourarium and fed for the day, and together they generated an incredible amount of information.

“We identified problems first, then looked for solutions with an understanding that everything was on the table and there were no bad ideas.”

Cowan says the group is now moving into the action-potential stage.

“At the end of the day, there was the ability for people to continue to work towards the solutions that will affect them. Sign-up lists were circulated and people put their names down. Next, once they have their action articulated and approved, everyone will come back to unpack the solutions together. I’m helping to actually put co-production into action – while I’m still a student – by not doing to but doing with. We’re not downloading solutions to the unsheltered community, we’re creating solutions together.”

The project is particularly poignant for Cowan, who is bringing the lens of her own lived experience to bear on her studies as a mature student.

“I am so blessed and thankful to be a part of this fantastic project,” she shares. “These learning experiences are embodying all of the things I dreamed I’d be able to be involved in when I decided to go back to school. I see my work with the co-production model in particular to be the perfect pairing for my professional identity and my lived experience.  Through this project I’ve been able to sort out and fuse these two worlds. This was a special interest project for me and it has brought me more learning than I could ever have imagined.”

The success of the co-production event and its impact on students like Cowan are points of pride for Dr. Darren Levine as well. As the manager of Research and Innovation with the Regional Municipality of Durham, Dr. Levine recognizes the value of engaging the students who will form the next generation of social service workers and community leaders.

“The collaborative co-production project is one of many successful partnerships between our Innovation and Research Unit and Durham College’s Office of Research Services, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship [ORSIE],” says Levine. “Students were an integral part of the project, working not only to help coordinate the event, but also working in equal partnership with service providers, faculty, and community service providers throughout to co-create new insights and applications of co-production in social service delivery.”

The co-production event also reinforced the value and impact of participating in applied research for DC students.

“Students thrive when they are given an opportunity to learn through experience and contribute solutions to real-world problems in collaboration with community partners,” says ORSIE dean Debbie McKee Demczyk. “The skills and approaches students learn through applied research are ones that they can continue to draw on throughout their careers.”

For Cowan, participating in both co-production events has had a dramatic impact on her career outlook.

“The energy and focus in those rooms were kind of magical,” she says. “Participating in these events has really opened up my professional world. It’s expanded my view of the kind of work I’m interested in pursuing and helped me develop a huge professional network very quickly.”

It’s this connection between classroom and community that means the most to Cowan as she continues moving towards her career goals.


DC to launch new Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Science

Durham College (DC) has received consent from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to offer a new Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Science (BBS). Based at the college’s Oshawa campus and beginning in September 2020, the Honours BBS will be DC’s second degree program following the successful launch of the Honours Bachelor of Health Care Technology Management in 2018.

“Ontario is seeing an increasing incidence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children and youth, dementia in seniors, as well as individuals with addictions and acquired brain injuries,” said Dr. Judeline Innocent, executive dean of DC’s School of Health & Community Services (HCS). “As agencies and long-term care facilities prepare for the increasing numbers in these client populations, the need for more qualified professionals in the areas of health, community and social services will also increase. With the Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Science, our graduates will be ready to not only meet this need but become leaders in these fields as well.”

Offering a comprehensive mix of courses which balance theory and practice, the Honours BBS program of study will focus on six themes:

  • Applied Behaviour Analysis
  • Populations
  • Psychology
  • Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy
  • Research Methods and Design
  • Ethics and Professionalism

Students will complete a final thesis project and gain vital work experience in a professional setting through a 420-hour supervised field placement completed between the seventh and eighth semesters. Graduates will be prepared to work with individuals of all ages within a variety of health and community settings, helping people with addictions and mental health challenges, acquired brain injuries, dementia and pervasive developmental disabilities, including ASD.

“The Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Science is another example of Durham College delivering innovative programs in direct response to an identified need,” said DC president Don Lovisa. “It also demonstrates the value of the college maintaining close ties with industry and community partners.”

Under the leadership of the college’s HCS administration and faculty, the Honours BBS program was developed with guidance from psychologists, community and social service agencies, municipal services representatives, mental health workers and psychogeriatric services.

“The Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Science will provide graduates with professional competencies that link the scientific, clinical, communication and ethical aspects of behavioural science,” said program coordinator Mary Helen Leddy. “This will ensure our graduates develop a breadth of knowledge, skills and judgement to increase their opportunities both in terms of employment and future studies.”

As part of the program’s development, DC has articulated diploma-to-degree transfer pathways for graduates in three of the college’s existing programs: Child and Youth Care, Developmental Services Worker and Social Service Worker. These pathways provide eligible graduates from each of the identified diploma programs advanced standing in the Honours BBS program of study, affording an opportunity for them to complete the degree in a reduced amount of time or at a reduced course load.


DC hosts second free dental clinic with Health Mission Outreach

Good oral health is strongly linked to overall systemic health – and without dental care, many Canadians may be at risk for other diseases like respiratory disorders, heart disease and stroke.

To help combat this and assist those without dental insurance, students in Durham College’s (DC) School of Health & Community Services and School of Justice & Emergency Services spent their Saturday providing free dental care to over 100 of Durham Region’s vulnerable community members on November 24.

This free clinic is the second in six months that DC has hosted with Health Mission Outreach (HMO) – a medical charity organization that provides health care services to the disadvantaged – and the largest dental outreach initiative in the region, having helped over 260 people between the two events.

Working interprofessionally with dentists and other health care providers from HMO, approximately 85 Dental Hygiene, Practical Nursing, and Paramedic students provided intake, triage, blood pressure readings and dental assisting during the clinic. A collaborative effort between the two organizations, DC also supplied clinic space and student volunteers, while HMO provided dentists, equipment and sundries.

DC’s Dental Hygiene students receive ongoing experience and skill-building in the college’s Dental Clinic as they perform dental examinations and cleanings under the supervision of faculty and staff, but this free clinic with HMO also gave them, and students from other programs, the opportunity to give back to the community in which they live and study.


Massage therapy now available at Durham College Spa

Students, employees and community members seeking some relief can now get massage therapy treatments at the newly opened Durham College Spa. Located on the second floor of the Centre for Collaborative Education at the Oshawa campus, the spa includes a massage therapy clinic as well as cosmetic techniques and esthetics labs.

Provided by Massage Therapy student practitioners, under the guidance of expert faculty including Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs), massage therapy services are the first to be offered by the new full-service, teaching-and-learning spa.

Spa guests are encouraged to take advantage of the “double-up deal” – two 75-minute therapeutic massage treatments for only $60. Each appointment includes:

  • An orthopedic assessment.
  • Therapeutic massage.
  • Self-care/post-treatment exercises.

Those interested are encouraged to book online or visit the spa in person. Single appointments are also available for $35 each.

With cosmetic technique and esthetic services scheduled to launch in 2019, the Durham College Spa is also inviting input from community members that will help guide the types of services to be offered – an online survey is available at www.durhamcollegespa.ca/survey.

The Durham College Spa is an inclusive space committed to making holistic beauty, health and wellness accessible and more affordable for all, while supporting the intensive training and learning of a new generation of massage therapy practitioners, beauty advisors and estheticians.

Learn more at www.durhamcollegespa.ca.