Path-breaking agreement leads Niagara College students to real-world experience at Pathstone
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will strengthen the spirit of collaboration between Niagara College and Pathstone Mental Health.
While students from the College’s Community and Health Studies Division have been gaining firsthand experience at Pathstone over the years, the recently signed MOU formalizes the arrangement, and paves the way for new and additional opportunities in the future.
“Our relationship with Niagara College has long been in existence; we currently have 17 NC students with us at Pathstone doing great work with teams and their young clients and families,” said Shaun Baylis, CEO, Pathstone Mental Health. “This formalized MOU shows our extended commitment to one another and our shared goal to further education, and support in the children’s mental health space.”
“Community partnerships like this are the cornerstone of the applied education we offer at Niagara College, creating opportunities for our students to gain hands-on experience in their area of study while supporting an integral community agency,” said Fiona Allan, NC’s vice president, Academic. “We applaud Pathstone for its continued commitment and support for higher education.”
NC students who gain experience at Pathstone benefit from working alongside mental health professionals and assisting community clients. Currently, students from NC’sChild and Youth Care and Social Service Worker programs complete placements in Pathstone’s Day Treatment program, while those from Community and Justice Servicestypically assist with Supervised Visitation programs.
“Working with children and youth experiencing mental health challenges is something that is covered in the classroom, but the true value in learning is in working alongside professionals and from the personal journeys of their clients,” said Carolyn Triemstra, NC’s dean of Community and Health Studies. “This exciting agreement allows us to explore options that fit with Pathstone’s program delivery and NC’s student learning needs.”
For second-year Child and Youth Care students Amy Wilson and Kevin Badgerow, working their placements at Pathstone this Fall term brings them one step closer to their career dreams.
Wilson is gaining experience with Pathstone’s Day Treatment program at a District School Board of Niagara secondary school. With a Child and Youth Care worker and DSBN teacher on-site, she helps adolescent youth with therapeutic interventions, activities, and life skills.
“Helping others is something I have always felt passionate about. I chose the Child and Youth Care program for the chance to work with children, youth, and their families, in the hope that I can bring preventative interventions and help those vulnerable navigate complicated health, education, and social systems,” she said. “Pathstone is helping me gain experience not only in interacting with clients, but also giving me insight into the process.”
Badgerow values the opportunity to work with children who have behaviour difficulties and lagging skills that are holding them back from being placed in a typical classroom setting.
“I believe interacting with these kids will aid my ability to help other children who are also experiencing these difficulties at other areas and other locations,” he said. “Pathstone is a great establishment to be placed at through Niagara College because it is a clean, safe forgiving and caring facility. All the coworkers I have encountered have been a great help and very approachable with any questions I have.”
Thanks to this MOU, even more students can be placed at Pathstone in the future. The College and Pathstone plan to explore additional placement opportunities for students in other programs including Practical Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant/ Physiotherapist Assistant, Recreation Therapy programs, and more.
About Pathstone Mental Health
Pathstone Mental Health is a community-based organization whose mission it is to provide innovative and effective treatment for children and youth in Niagara diagnosed with mental health issues. Thanks to support from our donors and volunteers, Pathstone is able to address and meet the needs of clients from the start of their life up to their 18th birthday. Important to note, Pathstone’s Crisis & Support Line puts callers in touch with a Pathstone therapist 24/7 by calling 1-800-263-4944. Visit pathstonementalhealth.ca
About Niagara College
Niagara College offers more than 150 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information, visit niagaracollege.ca.
Pathstone NC MOU signing: Representatives from Niagara College join representatives from Pathstone at The Branscombe Centre in St. Catharines to sign a Memorandum of Understanding. Pictured: Pathstone CEO Shaun Baylis and NC vice president, Academic Fiona Allan sign the MOU while Bill Helmeczi (Pathstone, director of Strategic Initiatives, Standards, and Practices), and Carolyn Triemstra (NC, dean, Community and Health Studies) look on.