Our ‘Know Your Community’ series posts every Friday (since tomorrow is Good Friday we are posting a day early this week). These columns were originally published in The Omega, TRU’s Independent Student Newspaper and are geared towards youth and students but are applicable to anyone who wants to know more about our community.
TRU students have utilized their skill sets and applied their education to create several innovative programs with a social impact in the community. Over the past several years, various student groups have partnered with United Way to create positive change in Kamloops.
Six years ago, TRU nursing students realized there were kids between the ages of zero to six that did not celebrate their birthday because their families could not afford to. As part of their practicum they created “Birthday Blessings”, a program where families can ask to receive a special birthday party bag that includes presents and a cake.
The Kamloops Homelessness Action Plan is a popular project for students since it began two years ago. Business students created the marketing campaign that raised awareness for the launch of the plan into the community. Since then nursing, human service, social work, and more business students have contributed research and communications skills to move the plan forward.
Every year, human service diploma students coordinate a conference for young women through the Boys & Girls Club. Last year, more than 80 at-risk females between the ages of 15 to 18 attended and participated in their workshops.
Nursing students collaborated during a practicum to create a Google map of Kamloops showing all the family-friendly local businesses available to parents. This was done in partnership with the Success by 6 initiative focused on the development of children ages zero to six.
More nursing students have already started work on the maintenance and promotion of the Access Kamloops website. This resource directs people in need to the services provided by community organizations across Kamloops.
This semester, a visual arts class will partner up with an early learning site in Kamloops so kids ages three and four can learn to draw what a healthy city looks like to them. This artwork will be displayed at the provincial “Cities Fit for Children” conference hosted here in Kamloops this upcoming May.
I previously wrote about the living wage project and its strong TRU connections. The initial work was completed by an economics student, Jeff Hicks, on his summer co-op work term. “The amount and method of redistribution of wealth are important discussions in economics, and through the Living Wage I learned the detailed mechanics of how the government performs those tasks” said Hicks. His work was then turned into a special topics course and three more economics students continued on with his research last fall.
And every summer, non-profit organizations across Kamloops add a summer student to their staff, usually from TRU. These students help someone with a mental health issue tend to a garden, lift someone in a wheelchair onto a horse for a riding lesson, or hang out with youth slightly younger than ourselves who have already spent time in juvenile detention.
As someone with new, youthful ideas and a post-secondary education, you are exactly the type of person to make a difference. Do not hesitate to reach out and work on your own impactful project. Change starts with YOUth.