Kasarah Swart-Kaushal writes about her internship at the Centre
To venture out on a ‘study abroad semester’ in a new country is an adventure in and of itself. As I prepared to leave my hometown, Albany, New York, I didn’t know what to expect from my placement. But on the first day that I arrived at the Cardinal Hume Centre I was welcomed by countless members of staff – several of whom have taken me under their wing and made me feel welcome. I quickly realised that the atmosphere at the Centre is filled with optimism, hope, hospitality, and love.
Every morning that the children enter the Cardinal Hume Centre for nursery, there is always one who faithfully shouts my name. On an average day when I am working in Family Services, as the children arrive, some are quite reluctant to leave their parents, while others are excited to play with their favourite toys or put on their favourite princess costumes. In the morning, I typically paint, play with play dough, build giant Lego towers, and prepare pretend meals with the children. We always have a bit of a snack before heading out to the playground. Regardless of the chilly air, the children always look forward to playtime outside. From mini races, to swinging with the children on the giant circle swing, the outdoor playtime is always one of my favourites. There is never a question as to whether or not the love and compassion of the children will put a smile on my face when I spend the day in the nursery.
After the nursery has ended, I usually help out with the preparation of a healthy meal for the afternoon ‘healthy living’ session. During the session some parents return and have lunch with their children and not only eat a delicious meal but learn the steps and preparation process to prepare the meal in their own homes. I vividly remember my first day with Family Services. No more than ten minutes after my arrival in the nursery, a child ran over to me with an enormous smile and her arms lifted for a hug. She treated me as though I had known her all her life. At that moment, I felt as though I had just arrived home from a long time away and embraced one of my own younger sisters.
At the Centre, I have had the ability to be more than just an administrative assistant. The opportunity to build one-to-one relationships and work with clients has made me feel both needed and appreciated. Every morning I eagerly wake up in anticipation of the day’s tasks and personal encounters with staff and clients at the Cardinal Hume Centre.