Creative Virtual Programming Keeps Clients Connected
WoodGreen offers over 75 innovative social programs for more than 37,0000 clients including youth, children, seniors, and newcomers. At a time where a global pandemic has halted the way many organizations and businesses traditionally provide services, WoodGreen recognized the need to respond to this new reality and come up with innovative solutions to continue offering vital programs and services for our various client groups, who need us now more than ever.
How we help Newcomers to Canada on their settlement journey – virtually
Staff from Newcomer Settlement Services began to incorporate online webinars and platforms in an effort to continue providing important settlement supports to those who recently arrived in Canada.
Programs that were traditionally offered in-person through one-on-one counselling were quickly reformatted to be offered through online webinars. Clients across Toronto are now able to access virtual workshops that address accessing healthcare services, income support, managing stress, parenting support, understanding workers’ rights and responsibilities, and citizen test preparation and tutoring. Group classes like the English Language Training and Enhanced Language Training for Internationally Trained Professionals were transformed to allow students to continue with their studies while safely practicing physical distancing practices.
“The sessions that you offered for us were extremely useful, especially that we got most of the information in our native language. The flexibility of time for those session helped a lot and the steps for access the online sessions were clear .We have discussed different subjects and got a lot of useful information especially during COVID 19 time.” — Yasmin Barshin, Newcomer Services client
Newcomer Settlement Services, in partnership with the Financial Empowerment Team, also organized a series of online webinars in late April to help eligible newcomers access the COVID-19 financial benefits being offered by the Canadian government. Through this collaboration, the Financial Empowerment team provided technical guidance and Newcomer Settlement Services helped by offering the resources in 6 languages including English, Tamil, Urdu, Mandarin, Bengali, and Arabic.
Using technology to reach out to at risk youth
Along with our partners at Michael Garron Hospital and East Metro Youth Services, WoodGreen was able to continue providing supports to youth across Toronto by making the Youth Wellness Centre virtual. By offering mental health supports, group workshops, arts & craft activities, the Youth Wellness Centre can continue their mission of making sure youth feel connected with their community.
Our Youth Wellness Centre hosted a virtual arts & crafts party earlier this month on how to make origami.
Keeping seniors connected
Members from WoodGreen’s Community Care Unit were quick to identify the important need to virtually connect and engage with senior clients that are experiencing isolation. The Seniors Active Living Centre (SALC) team has been working hard to continue supporting seniors with new technology while adapting programs that meet the needs of seniors with different interests, and physical and cognitive ability levels. In addition to wellness activity kits, social-friendly calls, and language-specific chat sessions a calendar was distributed to all senior clients on the programs being offered virtually by the SALC team. Some of the programs on the virtual calendar include weekly home support exercise sessions, meditation, chat sessions in Chinese and English, virtual potlucks, Spanish classes, and various health promotion sessions that focus on memory and aging, stress management, frauds, and scams, and many more.
“I have found the programs offered through the virtual calendar to be stimulating and very refreshing”, said one of the senior residents in the SALC program. “I really appreciate the variety of programs being offered.”
Peter Peng, SALC Recreational Therapist, leading the virtual Stay Home Exercise Class
Our virtual group programming has been very well received by clients who appreciated both the information and resources provided as well as the opportunity for them to connect and interact with others during this time of social isolation.