Summer Job Program
Summer Job Program 2021
Below, you can find reflections of the Summer Job Program 2021 written by Edith Chan & Neil Yang.
Reflections by Edith Chan
Over the past ten weeks, I worked with Community Transcultural Support Services (CTSS) as a Summer Job Student (SJP). At CTSS, we provided primary health care programs and services to both seniors and immigrants of ethnic minority groups. Throughout my time at CTSS, I have interacted with over 400 individuals through virtual presentations, delivering handouts to seniors, contacting community members via phone calls and emails and other outreach programs. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we could not meet with the individuals personally but have found various ways to have meaningful connections with the community. As the Socio Health Promotion Coordinator, I was responsible for creating material that would help improve and increase community member’s knowledge regarding their health.
Through the Health promotion presentation, I enhance my public speaking, communication skills as well as my coordinating and leading skills. It helped me refine my interpretation skills and learned to problem-solve and use critical thinking when situations arose. I formulated the Health Promotion Presentation, as well as created resources for ethnic minority community members that may have difficulty accessing health information. Communicating and working on this project was very significant to my project and taught me much about community health and what it means to serve others.
In addition to the Health Promotion program, I experienced many other learning opportunities through SJP and CTSS. We participated in workshops, such as Leadership, Mental Health, etc. I was able to gain a deeper understanding of many topics from professionals. We had opportunities to outreach and create promotional materials. It allowed me to develop essential life skills. I learned how to thrive in a professional environment, proper communication, good work ethics, and teamwork. With the SJP team, we developed great teamwork, aiding one another in performing tasks and brainstorming. I was able to help my teammates with Cantonese interpretation and translation when required.
Overall, I have learned so much during this Summer Job Program. I have gained much knowledge, experience and wisdom regarding primary healthcare and working in the community. Our goal as a primary health organization is to help encourage healthy lifestyles. We can help improve community health through educating and helping access services and programs. CTSS and the Summer Job Program have been life-changing, and I have gained many new perspectives, irreplaceable work experiences and many new skills. I’m very excited to put what I have learned this summer to further my education and aid my future career. Hopefully, I can contribute more to the health sector in the future.
Edith Chan (Primary Health Promotion Coordinator of CTSS)
Reflections by Neil Yang
For the last two months, I was allowed to be in the summer job program and work on various projects with my colleagues. When I joined this program, I expected myself to learn different skills and overcome numerous obstacles. However, this program was way beyond those expectations. I was able to utilize my bilingual capability, apply my graphics design knowledge and social connections to this job.
Throughout the summer program, there were many skillsets that I learned. For example, public speaking was a skill set I developed. Throughout the program, we had to give out multiple online presentations to the seniors and mentees. As the mandarin speaker for the senior health presentations, I had to overcome my nerves and stutters to perform my best in front of the elders. In the end, we successfully presented multiple online health presentations regarding active living, health promotion and nutrition, in both Mandarin and Cantonese. Even though the presentations were online, we tried our very best to create as many audience interactions as possible. We held Q&A sessions with the seniors, made phone calls and asked about their well-being, participated in the group stretching and so on. These presentations helped me grow my skills on how to present in public and speak in front of a large group of audiences. Another would be on-the-fly translation, which was something I have never done before. Although there was a huge requirement for it, I was able to practice it during the Q&A sessions and the phone call sessions.
While doing translation works, I was also assigned to create infographics for both social media and physical banners/pamphlets for both the SDG program and health presentations. This gave me a unique opportunity to showcase my graphic design skills and gave me the freedom to express myself. Thanks to this specific role, it allowed me to work on my communication skills with my colleagues. Whenever I would finish my design, the first ones to see it was my colleagues. We would discuss the draft, find both disagreements and flaws together, lastly, create the best possible infographic for the programs that are being presented.
During the time where I was assigned to produce infographics, I also had the chance to connect with high schoolers and mentor them about my position here at the summer job program. Spending a whole day with the high schoolers allowed me to practice my teaching skills, showing them what my workflow looks like and how to manage my time. It was super interactive between the mentors and the mentees, both parties learned a lot from each other.
There were many obstacles that we had to overcome throughout our work, the most notable one was the COVID-19 restrictions. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, I was able to create over 200 interactions within the community through phone calls, emails, social media and personal connections. In the end, we were able to provide primary health services to seniors and youths across the city. Given the unique situation presented to us, our team worked hard to overcome the restrictions of COVID-19. We wanted to make sure that those who we serve will receive the quality of service before the pandemic, so those who we serve will feel safe and at home. Even though we were unable to work in person for the first half of the program, we used ZOOM for daily meetings to keep track of our progress.
We currently live in a world full of touch screens and digital connections, hence, social media plays a big part in our daily lives. As a part of the marketing team, I was able to bring something new to Community Transcultural Support Services (CTSS), which is social media. We were able to try a new method of marketing that the organization has never done before. Creating social media posts and have them posted on various high school accounts, allowed us to spread the word of the SDG 2030 program. It was a huge step into modernizing the marketing strategy for CTSS whereas before, we would rely on posters and banners.
Community Transcultural Support Services shone a light to me on how primary health care services are being provided to the general public across all genders, age groups, and ethnic communities. There was so much information about the well-rounded health care system, amazing opportunities for youth learning that I wished I attended when I had the chance to, lastly having public interaction with my colleagues made me feel like I belong in this society. All these great learning opportunities will be engraved in my head forever. I will have no issues returning to CTSS as a volunteer or an employee as I would love to continue serving our community.
Neil Yang (Marketing and Communication Assistant of CTSS)
Summer Job Program During COVID-19
In light of health concerns and social distancing measures resulting from COVID-19, CTSS was not able to offer our in-person workshops. Instead, presentations have moved online, but we were able to adapt our annual Summer Job Program and continue serving the community. Below, you can find a reflection of the Summer Job Program written by Senkay Li, the Health Information Program Assistant.
Reflections by Senkay Li
Over the last eight weeks, it has been a privilege to work under the Summer Job Program with Community Transcultural Support Services (CTSS) and be able to help develop resources for community members in order that they may have access to general health information through the use of technology. Through virtual education presentations, program deliveries in communities, phone calls and emails there were a total of 278 interactions and participants including seniors and community members (e.g. ethnic-Canadians, new immigrants, refugees). Through the programs that CTSS was able to offer this summer, primary health care services were able to be promoted and better health access enabled for the seniors and community members. Despite some of the challenges with Covid-19, the programs offered this summer were able to be adapted to be delivered online, and other resources were developed to be distributed online or in person, suiting the delivery methods to an individual’s learning needs. With many of the programs being moved online, CTSS was able to reach a broader group of community members who were then able to benefit from our services.
Many of the community members I was able to interact with had language barriers, were low in technology literacy, and/or had lower health literacy (ability to understand health information and make informed choices for the benefit of one’s own health). The Health Information Access Presentation was developed and had the focus to work around some of these barriers and challenges that community members had. This presentation aimed to enable community members to take charge of their own health. It comprised of basics on using technology to access health information from trusted and reliable health websites, it also included simple information on health and health-related topics that was of interest to the audience members. The presentation was given in hopes that the community members would take care of their health and perhaps through doing so, help to prevent health concerns from arising in their future. (Note: the workshop participants were encouraged to discuss with their family physician over their health concerns often, and not rely on online health information).
In addition to the presentation, two handouts, the “Health Concern Handout” and “Accessing Handout” were created. These handouts were designed to be resources used in conjunction with the presentation to enhance community members and further encourage them to take charge of their own health. The “Health Concern Handout” was designed to capture the attention of the community members by listing various health concerns they may have or be interested in learning more about, then some numbers were listed on the back. This handout was also designed with community members that lack accessible technology in mind, thus, these community members would also be able to access health resources. The “Accessing Handout” was designed to reinforce the presentation in accessing health information from the websites, it was later altered to be able to guide community members in accessing the health information without attending the presentation. In addition to developing these handouts as a resource for the presentation, these handouts were both adapted to be given out to those who were not able to attend the presentations due to the circumstances created by Covid-19.
Besides developing resources for the Health Information Program, the team and I were given the opportunity to meet and have Question and Answer sessions with three licensed physicians. All three sessions were excellent learning opportunities, and as a team we were able to brainstorm some questions regarding the physician’s schooling/career, medical and health related topics as well as the Health Care System as a whole. Having the opportunity helped me to gain a better understanding of the road to becoming a physician and the experiences of being a practicing physician. The knowledge that was shared by the physicians, will be very useful to me as I consider my future career– aimed to be health/medicine-related.
As the Health Information Program Assistant of CTSS, I had the opportunity to look into the topic of health literacy and consider whether or not the resources I was developing aided or hindered me in reaching the community members. In addition to being able to apply the knowledge regarding health literacy, into the project for this summer, this knowledge will continue to be useful for my future and especially my career which is heading towards the health/medical field; thus, helping me to better understand, accommodate and communicate effectively with people from various backgrounds and literacy levels. Furthermore, this program brought about presentation opportunities (as well as planning and coordinating them) which were very useful in developing my verbal and written communication as well as presentation and public speaking skills. Due to the different groups being reached, in order to allow for the greatest relevance and connection with the audience, each presentation was tailored as much as possible. This was challenging in many ways, to attempt to think in the ways of the audience and to consider the backgrounds and cultures that are not familiar to my own. However, while preparing for these presentations, I was able to put this skill into practice. This process of tailoring the presentations also enabled me to continually look over the material for the resources I have developed, allowing me to give the most up to date information and be well practiced in the areas I looked into. This is still a learning process but as opportunities arise for presentations in the future, this skill will continue to be developed and improved upon.
The opportunity to work as a summer student under the Summer Job Program has been an excellent time of learning and of growth. I was able to have a new outlook on community members, how to reach out to them, how to clearly present relevant and applicable information to them. More importantly, I was able to promote health and health care services and had a chance to aid in illness prevention; all which is part of primary health care. Being able to understand the community members enabled me to understand a little more of the barriers they face in accessing help for their health and aided me to develop resources through which we strive to empower community members to take steps in taking charge of their own health. With Covid-19, I was also able to learn to adapt and adjust where things are necessary in order to provide the best services possible in the circumstances. Ultimately, this Summer Job Program has been to my benefit, I have been able to learn so many skills and acquire experience that I hope I can continue to put to good use for my future studies and career. I desire to persist in enabling and equipping the community to take charge of their own health.
Senkay Li (Health Information Program Assistant of CTSS)