Paul Kitchin Award (2018): Outstanding Community Involvement
Bryan College Student
Nominated by VHA Home HealthCare
Faculty at Bryan College describe the characteristics of an exceptional massage therapist as not only one who is knowledgeable of the compulsory techniques of the profession but also empathetic and caring, and thus possessing skills that cannot be taught but rather experienced.
It is from this perspective that Bryan College organized to collaborate with VHA HealthCare, a not-for-profit charitable organization that offers primarily free-of-charge health care and support services to clients via the Local Health Integration Network. Through the Bryan College Student Outreach program, both organizations sought to provide the most vulnerable, stress-laden members of their community with a respite from the demanding realities of long-term or intensive care.
Notably, Bryan College and VHA HomeCare established ongoing outreach opportunities to provide complimentary massage therapy to sick or terminally ill children and their parents at SickKids Hospital in Toronto. Families of loved ones undergoing treatment at SickKids Hospital are often stressed and the children typically endure a daily regime of recurring medical tests, emotional exhaustion and social isolation from their peers. The Bryan College Student Outreach program provided the children at the hospital and their parents with a welcomed chance to relax and heal.
The outreach treatments were scheduled in advance and were convenient for the parents and children, taking care to impose little or no additional travel time or disruption on the families.
Students performed one-hour massage treatments on clients under the direct supervision and support of a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) and faculty member from Bryan College. Each student performed 4-6 treatments per outreach, and only students who had previously completed their requisite practice at the college were permitted to participate in the program.
Families who took part expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to step away from the stress of hospital life, noting that “It brought a little sunshine and relief” as well as a “nice way to get away from it all.”
The outreach had a transformative impact on the students as well. “Hands down, the most amazing experience in my time at Bryan College. It changed my perspective about my role as an RMT and was a healthy reminder that compassion goes a long way,” said Arthi, a student at Bryan College who participated in the outreach program.
“This program has made a difference in the lives of our clients and has benefitted them with little bit time out from the daily challenges”, VHA Home HealthCare wrote of the outreach effort in their nomination of the college to receive the Paul Kitchin Award.
The outreach conducted at Sick Kids Hospital is an extension of the Bryan College Student Outreach program. The program provides students with additional experience and unique opportunities to work with members of the community who face physical, emotional, mental, and socio-economic challenges to health and wellness in a variety of settings.
VHA Home HealthCare and Bryan College have coordinated two outreach events at Sick Kids Hospital and plan to offer more opportunities in the future.
The next VHA/Bryan College outreach event at SickKids is scheduled for July 3, 2018.
About the Paul Kitchin Award
The Paul Kitchin Award for Outstanding Community Involvement is awarded annually to a CCO member college that has exhibited, through community involvement, exceptional service in the enhancement of the prosperity of Ontarians. This year’s Awards Gala Dinner marks the first year the award is being presented.
2018 Special Judges Panel:
Paul Kitchin, Former Executive Director of Career Colleges Ontario
Anne Burrns, Former Executive Director of the National Association of Career Colleges
Dave McCarroll, CPA, CA.
Terry Miosi, Consultant for Career Colleges Ontario