Two Students Working on the Frontline of the Pandemic | LaSalle College Montréal

Two Students Working on the Frontline of the Pandemic

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June 4, 2020

In response to the current crisis, essential services are constantly looking for workers and volunteers to meet the needs of the population most at risk.

To provide immediate assistance, two LaSalle College Special Care students, Jenny Després-Abate and Wana Elisma, decided to help out and volunteer at the CHSLD Vigi l'Orchidée blanche in Laval. They shared with us their experience in the field.


1. What motivated you to volunteer during the pandemic?

Jenny: "I was curious to know how it would be like to work on the frontlines during a pandemic. When I was made aware that family members could no longer enter CHLSDs, but interns could, it was very clear that I had to go and help. 

They are so vulnerable, and some don't even understand what's going on outside the building.”

Wana: "After several months of internship at this CHSLD, I had established a relationship of trust with the residents. From one day to the next, all activities were stopped because of Covid-19 and I didn't feel comfortable leaving the residents without giving them any news. 

So, my counsellor-guide, Christian Lemieux, suggested that I go spend a few hours with the residents because all recreational activities had been suspended. It was with great pleasure that my colleague Jenny and I decided to volunteer in our intern environment.”


2. What has struck you most about the field?

Jenny: "I was amazed to see how quickly all the staff responded. From day one, exceptional safety measures were put in place and the nursing staff took great care to protect everyone.

Interdisciplinary team members on site were also amazing, as they were immediately involved in reassuring the residents and their families.

I was able to be part of this wonderful team and give my point of view on certain situations, which warmed my heart.”

Wana: "I was touched to see the smiles on the faces of the residents when we handed out coffee and took the time to talk, laugh and do different activities with them.

I was also touched to see how quickly the staff put in place a communication program between residents and their families to break the isolation and soothe the saddened family members.”


3. What do you take away from this experience?

Jenny: "In the field, we have to be able to act quickly to change our habits. During these exceptional moments, the staff once again demonstrated their dedication to their work!

I also noted that not everything can be learned in a classroom. An internship means much more than learning, it's about getting involved."

Wana: "I learned that one hour of volunteering can make a difference in the lives of seniors, as they will feel valued in this way. Besides doing them a great deal of good by visiting them, we become a moral support for them during this pandemic.”

Social Sciences & Education
Update - COVID-19
Global citizen
Social involvement and volunteerism