Placement Reflections: Julia, Hailey, Ellie, Rachel

Recently, our resident leaders had the chance to visit the students at their placements around the city and hear all about what their experiences have been like! Read on to hear more about what the students are learning from their time at placements.


What are some of your basic duties at your organization?

My placement is at 541, which is an eatery and exchange location. Customers can buy buttons along with their food, and those buttons go into a jar at the front so that people who are experiencing food insecurity can use those buttons to pay for their meals.

Sometimes I’m helping the supervisor with various things, like organizing the office, or sometimes I’m in the kitchen. Today I made biscuits and I cut potatoes and carrots to make veggie platters for catering. I also help in the front sometimes to make coffee and interact with people.

What are you enjoying about your placement?

“My favourite part is just being in this context and working with the people that I’m working with. Everyone’s so welcoming and I feel like I learn as much from just being in this environment as I do from the people that I work with.

“I appreciate that my placement really connects me to things that are happening in the city—things that I would usually ignore—in a really humanizing way. 541 is so much more than just the button program. There are so many different aspects to the way that they care about people and work to support the people that use the service they’re providing. They build relationships with the people here. They’re an active member of the community and actively work to make Hamilton better, and I think that’s really valuable. I really like that.”

How do you think your placement is teaching you to serve God better?

“I think 541, especially what I’m doing here, is really a representation of that quote: ‘Everybody wants to start a revolution but no one wants to do the dishes.’ I think what I’m doing here is actively living that out. I’m not trying to dive in and do something huge. I’m recognizing that I can just be in the back cutting potatoes and that’s enough.

“I think I’ll take with me the recognition that community can exist within a multitude of places, and that it’s not just within Act Five that I’ll find true community.”


What are some of your basic duties at your organization?

Hailey: “The Giving Closet is a thrift store where people can come and buy clothing and other items at lower prices so that they have warm clothes for the winter or clothes that are good for different seasons.”

Ellie: “Some of our basic duties are to work on cash, price clothing, and organize the different areas to make sure it’s all clean.”

Hailey: “We also sort things, bring different things upstairs or downstairs, and we put clothing out on the racks.”

What are you learning about yourself at your placement?

H: “I discovered that I like working in clothing and helping people get the clothes that they need. I like doing cash best because it’s just fun. You get to talk to a lot of different people. The people and environment are really nice and kind. I’m also gaining better communication skills with people.”

E: “I also like cash! Just helping customers, talking to them, and making connections with them. I think one of my challenges is not wanting to come in because I’m tired, but when I get here it’s always somewhere that I want to be. Everybody’s really kind and patient. If you’re new to something, they’re willing to help you out.”

How do you think your placement is teaching you to serve God better?

E: “I think I’m serving God by serving with kindness. No matter who comes in here, you just treat everybody with kindness. I think I’m also learning to be open to meeting new people and not being scared to reach out.”

H: “I would agree with Ellie. It’s important to treat everyone with respect because we’re all people at the end of the day and we’re all made in God’s image.”


What are some of your basic duties at your organization?

“I’m volunteering with St. Peter’s Hospital in the palliative care unit. I’m paired with a recreational therapist, so she does crafts and different activities every day for the patients. I sometimes assist her with that but I mostly go room-to-room and just visit with the patients. I paint a lot of ladies’ nails, which is fun! I play games with people and go for walks since a lot of them can’t go outside by themselves. A few times I put on music on my phone and danced with one of the patients!

“It’s cool because I want to be a nurse, so getting the inside scoop on this from an outside perspective is really valuable.”

What are you learning about yourself at your placement?

“I’m learning more about how sensitive I am, because when you build relationships with these patients, especially since they’re in the palliative care unit, one day you could be laughing with them and painting their nails and the next they could have lost a lot of awareness and consciousness of their surroundings. It’s hard to see but it’s also beautiful because it makes you realize the impact that you have in each interaction with them; makes you value those interactions a lot more. It’s a hard thing to learn, but really good.

“I’ve also grown in learning how to face grey issues. There are so many things that we deal with in life that don’t have a black-and-white or yes-or-no answer. Hearing different stories from patients who have a lot of life experience and a wide range of different beliefs and different perspectives is a good reminder to not have a narrow outlook on life. You need to be looking at the whole situation, and that’s easy to forget.”

How do you think your placement is teaching you to serve God better?

“Hearing all of these life stories, seeing the lives that they’ve lived and the different paths that they’ve taken, has taught me to be super grateful for the life that I have. I never knew when I was younger that I’d be given this opportunity, but it’s been super rewarding and is something I’m so grateful for.

“Something I’ve learned is that if I’m going to call myself a Christian, it means serving and working for the Kingdom in every aspect of my life. It’s not just going to church on Sunday and reading your Bible every morning. Being a Christian is really relational, and there are a lot of relational things that I do here. I need to present myself in a loving manner in everything I do. I think if what I’m doing is for ultimately for Jesus, then I’m serving God better.”

We continue to be so thankful for these placement opportunities and all that the students have learned from them. It is so clear to see God’s movement in the city of Hamilton!

Stay tuned for more placement reflections!

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