Yanbing Li


Bachelor of Science, Biological Science, 3rd 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

During my time volunteering at Meals on Wheels, I had a chance to talk to individuals in the aging population. The biggest takeaway from this CSL placement is that people who live alone or isolated need social connections and speak to young people to keep their brains active. I learned a lot from them and them from me, such as some life experiences I cannot learn from books, and I was also taught how to speak another language. This experience changed my old stereotypes and altered my way of treating senior people.

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

Volunteering at Meals on Wheels taught me how to appropriately communicate with senior people, such as using a lower voice pitch and avoiding using elder speak. It's allowed me to better understand what I've learned through the course. At the beginning of my CSL placement, I feared speaking to senior people because English is my second language. I was afraid they couldn't understand what I said and also what they wanted to talk about. However, the interactions told me that I worried too much. They taught me new English words and shared ideas about their cultures. I had a grateful time when I talked to them! Have had rich conversations with them and gained many experiences from the stories they shared, allowing me to flourish in volunteering, courses and other future endeavours.