South Dundas seniors are finding they have a bit more leisure time on their hands now that the J.W. MacIntosh Senior Support Centre summer student is out and about helping them in their homes/apartments and gardens.
For close to 20 years, the Centre has employed a summer student to roll up his/her sleeves to help seniors with tasks around their home.
This can mean anything and everything from mowing lawns to pulling weeds, to washing windows and performing housework to a bit of painting.
This year’s student is Sherry-Lynn Harbers, who has just completed her first year at Brock University in St. Catharines where she is studying Recreation and Leisure.
“I heard about this job through my parents, and I thought it would be a good experience because I might work with seniors later on,” said Harbers as she completed some gardening Friday morning at the home of Lillian Noon in Morrisburg. “I also like working outdoors, so it was appealing in that way too.”
A graduate of Seaway District High School, Harbers is hoping to develop her social skills. In addition to dealing one on one with her clients, she works in a group setting at the Adult Day Program which runs on Wednesdays at the Centre in Williamsburg.
“It is nice that what I do is helping them to be on their own in their homes,” says Harbers.
“We’ve had a real variety of students over the years,” says Janet Levere, Executive Director of the Williamsburg Non-Profit Housing Corporation. “Many use the opportunity to gain experience in their selected careers. We’ve had nursing students and some who were studying to be teachers.”
Levere explains the student position is made possible, thanks to a partial government grant and by a donation from the Park Lane Crafters that helps to cover travel costs. “Our student services all of South Dundas, so there is a bit of travel. As well, there is a small charge to the clients of $8 per hour.”
“Gardening tends to be high on the list of seniors’ needs,” says Levere. “But they might want help cleaning out a garage or a basement.”
“We have received some really good feedback from our seniors over the years. In fact, before Sherry-Lynn started in mid-May, we were getting calls asking if we would be having a summer student this year.”
“Sherry-Lynn is a good worker, and she is learning quickly. She is very pleasant, and we always advise our students to leave a little time for a visit or a little chat with the client.”
Now, just a few weeks into the job, Harbers has contacted the seniors who made use of last year’s summer student. She has introduced herself at the Centre’s Day Program and at the Community Meal Program.
Seniors living in South Dundas, who may be interested in getting help with their chores in their homes and/or gardens, are invited to contact Sherry-Lynne at the J.W. MacIntosh Senior Support Centre in Williamsburg at 613-535-2924.