A colourful hand-painted mural brightens the walls of the Community Education Partnership Centre (CEPC) at the Orillia Campus of Georgian College. The Youth Art Wall, unveiled in a ceremony on Tuesday, April 9, is just one of many community-based partnerships that have taken place this spring through the centre.
The CEPC was created earlier this year to allow students enrolled in Georgian College Community Studies programs to take on the role of “social entrepreneurs.” Students work closely with not-for-profits and lo
cal agencies to tackle wide-ranging community issues. To create the Youth Art Wall, Child and Youth Worker students collaborated with the Orillia Youth Centre, Zephyr Art Gallery, the Orillia Museum of Arts and Twin Lakes Secondary School.
The art wall is only the most visible result of this year’s outstanding partnerships, says CEPC Community Projects Liaison Laura Morgan. Eight student teams and community partners presented details of success stories to an appreciative audience in the Orillia Campus lecture theatre prior to the mural unveiling. In each case, students worked with local agencies and organizations to help solve real-life issues in the community.
Jessica Jiminez and Abbey Macaulay worked with Carolyn Holmes and Mandy Hillyard of the Key Program to plan, market and organize a “Day of Care” event for Orillia’s marginalized population. During the day, approximately 150 people were able to take advantage of such services as dental care, massage therapy, foot care and a clothing drive.
In another project, Cassandra Brown and Cory Pecor joined forces with Janette McGee, general manager of the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka. They designed and facilitated workshops for the Youth Quest program that helped 20 young people from Orillia and Barrie gain confidence and develop skills that they can use to find employment.
“Involving Georgian College students in the process of planning, designing and facilitating workshops that help our young people reach their full potential has been meaningful for all parties,” said McGee. “As a community we have a responsibility to set up our young people for success. The partnership between the YMCA and Georgian College is helping our community to remain strong.”
Other community partners include the Ontario Social Service Worker Association, Camp Couchiching, Hospice Orillia, the Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness and the Simcoe County Suicide Awareness Council.