by Anja Bischof, ICA Youth and Family Service Intern
Hello everyone! My name is Anja Bischof and I’ve had the privilege of completing a 350-hour practicum with the Intercultural Association’s Youth and Family Services Program as part of acquiring my Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Victoria.
During my practicum I got lots of hands-on experience not only within ICA, but around Greater Victoria. For example, I attended the wellness day at the Victor-Brodeur School, where the ICA’s Youth and Family Services Program hosted a workshop to explore the topics of community and culture and to talk about how we can all contribute to a community and culture that is inclusive and welcoming.
Additionally, I was able to visit ELL (English Language Learners) youth at Victoria High School on a weekly basis to catch-up on what is new in their lives, play games, and have fun. This gives youth an adult they can talk to if they need that.
Other highlights of my internship include participating in the Landing Spot (formerly known as the Homework Club) an after school drop-in program for youth aged 8-13. This happens both at ICA as well as at the North Saanich Middle School. It was a joy to see the youth collaborate in fun activities like building towers out of recycled materials, competing in a paper plane contest, and making soup for people experiencing homelessness.
Another great program I got to take part in is called That Thing on Tuesday (formerly known as The Meetup), which is a bi-weekly drop-in program for youth aged 15-24. With this youth group I went on a tour through the Pacific Opera shop, skated at the Quadra Village Community Centre, and went snowshoeing on Mount Washington.
As a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic, I completed the last few weeks of my practicum from home. It was fascinating to see how quickly ICA’s team adapted to supporting the youths and families through the use of technology instead of in-person meetings.
Besides doing one-on-one check-ins with clients, volunteers, and community partners using phone calls, Facebook messenger, and e-mails, the team also created virtual versions of the Landing Spot and That Thing on Tuesday. It has been wonderful to witness how ICA community reaches out to each other and stays connected during this time of social isolation and uncertainty.
I am leaving this practicum feeling full of gratitude for having been offered so many learning opportunities and for having been welcomed into this organization by staff and clients alike with open hearts and open minds.
I would like to say thank you to everyone who has made this practicum as educational and incredible as it was.