Mayita Caiza landed her placement through Redeemer’s connection with Wesley Housing Services, a non-profit organization that serves the homeless population in Brantford. According to Wesley’s website, their services are “based on a collaborative approach with tenants, families, service providers, community supports and the wider community.” Caiza noted that her colleagues at Wesley Housing Services have taught her more about community by bringing genuine perspective to the real-life situations that clients live through.
Redeemer’s Centre for Experiential Learning and Careers (CELC) has made finding co-op placements easier for students looking for real-world experience in their education. CELC’s hope for students in the urban and intercultural ministry program
is that they “gain awareness, as well as necessary tools, to serve effectively in churches and community organizations.”
Caiza experienced these advantages firsthand in her placement. Besides the knowledge gained from her studies in urban and intercultural ministry, Caiza found that she acquired other valuable skills throughout her placement. Along with learning how non-profit organizations operate, she also grew in her communication and interpersonal skills. “I have had to learn to communicate more effectively and relate to people in situations that are not ideal,” Caiza added.
Though she worked with many clients during her time at Wesley Housing Services, Caiza points to one moment that stands out among them all. She recounts the first time she was able to find housing for a woman who had been staying at the shelter for a long time. Through an assisted housing program that also helps with medications and therapy, Caiza was able to find her a place to stay. “It was a surreal moment going with her to her new home, as she hadn’t had her own place for years.”
“I have had to learn to communicate more effectively and relate to people in situations that are not ideal.”
Throughout her placement, faith played a significant role and had a huge impact on her work. During uncertain times, Wesley adapted to the COVID-19 measures that had to be implemented to protect both the service workers and the clients. The organization recognized the importance of mental health during the pandemic and made it a priority. As she reflected on her faith’s role in all this, Caiza stated, “It has given me security and peace in uncertain times. It also gave my placement a purpose.”