University of Alberta Chancellor, Linda Hughes, and Dean and Professor of Nursing, Anita Molzahn, joined U of A nursing students to prepare and serve a meal at The Mustard Seed to celebrate the university’s partnership with the non-profit on March 21, 2012.
The Faculty of Nursing has committed to fundraising for and preparing 12 meals from January to April as part of a partnership based on a mutual interest in the overall improvement of care for people living in poverty. The Mustard Seed says the program makes a real difference to those living in poverty.
“Often, people forget that this community needs help outside the holiday season. We certainly appreciate the meals these students provide and their eagerness to learn about issues of poverty and homelessness so they can better serve those affected by these challenges,” says Sarah Nicolai-deKoning, Student Engagement Coordinator with The Mustard Seed.
As part of the partnership, first-year nursing students attend a Social Issues Walk through Edmonton’s inner city. The walk exposes students to issues surrounding social justice, housing, education, health care and the various agencies in Edmonton's downtown core. Students learn about the inner city and landmarks, including The Mustard Seed, Remand Centre and former site of Tent City.
“I think that the social issues walk exposes students to the physical realities of life in the inner-city and the challenges some residents here face,” says Nicolai-deKoning.
The social issues walk is co-lead by a member of The Mustard Seed community who provides a neighbourhood perspective on Edmonton’s inner city. Nicolai-deKoning says that the two-and-a-half hour walk helps get the conversation started to disband myths and tackle stereotypes.
Anita Molzahn adds that, “The Mustard Seed provides students with a first-hand opportunity to learn about the social determinants of health, as well as an opportunity to think about how they can make a difference as individuals and as professionals.”