Written by Rachel O’Dell
Queen’s University B.Ed student, Chris Suppa, is leading a new initiative at Queen’s School of English during the Summer 2017 English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Program called the QSoE Community Volunteer Program. About 30 interested QSoE students attended the first meeting which took place on Friday, June 2.
During the meeting, Chris asked the students to explain what “service” meant from their perspectives, and showed a short video to spark some dialogue on why anyone would want to do work for free. Students suggested that service is about helping others who need help, or helping to solve problems for your community. It was decided that service provides opportunities to be kind, and perceiving ourselves as kind people makes us feel good. Other students noted that it’s fun to collaborate, and that service is a great opportunity to practice English and make connections.
Chris discussed plans for the upcoming 4 weeks of the Community Volunteer Program. Each week has a theme: education, environment, and food service. Week 4 is to be determined by the students’ interests; Chris asked the students’ to begin thinking about what is important to them, and how they could take action in Kingston.
Following the program introduction by Chris, the group headed over to the John Orr Tower Community Garden to meet with two Queen’s University outdoor education students. The QSoE students were not familiar with the concept of community gardens, but soon found out as they helped to plant peas, summer squash and radish seeds in the beds at the John Orr Tower Community Garden.
The QSoE Community Volunteer Program is pursuing orchestrating a cultural exchange program at Lord Strathcona Elementary School in Kingston. They are also planning on serving at Martha’s Table, a non- profit charitable organization that provides low cost nutritious meals to those in need, in safe and accepting environment.