Jaci Harvey


Bachelor of Arts, Psychology & Sociology double major, 4th year

Course: PSYCH 329 (Winter 2023) with Instructor Tiana Rust

Who was your community partner and can you describe the project objectives

We were working with the Edmonton Meals on Wheels, a local non-profit charitable organization that prepares and delivers nutritious meals and programs aimed at fostering health, physical and mental well-being, and independence. Meals on Wheels provides nutritious meals and various programs to promote people’s health, physical and mental well-being.  Our role is to talk to people seeking various things, such as social connections or suggestions for keeping healthy through phone calls and informing our supervisor of individual concerns about their meals or life. For the Lunch N Learn program, the objective was to have volunteers spend one-on-one time with older adults who have little to no experience using a smart device and teaching them how to use them. For the Friendly Caller program, the primary objective was to establish meaningful connections with individuals who may be living independently or experiencing social isolation and loneliness, with the aim of providing emotional support, companionship, and promoting their overall well-being. By offering regular phone calls and building rapport, the goal was to provide emotional support and alleviate feelings of loneliness or isolation among the individuals who participated in the program.

What was your biggest takeaway from your CSL placement? 

As I engaged with the predominantly aging population during my experience at Meals on Wheels, the biggest takeaway from my experience is the realization of the significance of social bonds and companionship in the lives of older adults. Regular phone calls and social engagement have a profound impact on their well-being, mental health, and overall quality of life. This experience has taught me to reach out to the isolated individuals in my life, particularly older adults, given that making regular phone calls not only fostered connections for the older adults I spoke with but also enriched my own sense of connection and purpose.

How can you apply any newly gained knowledge/skills to your future endeavours (courses/employment/volunteering)?

The knowledge and skills I gained through my experience at Meals on Wheels, such as effective communication and engagement techniques, can be applied to various future endeavours. In terms of employment, if I pursue a career that involves working with older adults, I can apply these skills to enhance my interactions with clients or patients and use my knowledge to advocate for the importance of social connections and well-being in aging populations. The main aspect of my life where I definitely apply the knowledge and skills I gained are my personal relationships, especially with older family members or friends who may be experiencing social isolation or other challenges associated with aging. Regular phone calls, engagement in social activities, and being mindful of their well-being can all contribute to fostering meaningful connections and improving their quality of life.