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This Is What You Can Expect from Our Intake and Orientation Session
The first thing I noticed when I walked into Stella’s Place was how busy and full of activity it was. I have been involved with Stella’s Place for a long time and it is wonderful to see the space being used to help so many people. To be honest, I was a little nervous, but I was greeted as soon as I got in the door with a lot of positive energy. I was there to attend an Intake and Orientation Session and learn about the different programs being offered at Stella’s Place and their registration process.
A group of us who were there to attend the session came together in the Gathering Room and Robin and her student, Ashley, and a Peer Supporter named Alyceia took us through the ins and outs of Stella’s Place. I appreciated being oriented to the physical space, especially being told where the bathrooms were. When you’re in a place where you need to respect others’ privacy, it can be daunting to open doors wondering if it is, in fact, the washroom. Robin gave an overview and told the group what to expect next, which was very reassuring. Robin and Alyceia explained what a Peer Supporter does at Stella’s Place and how they draw on their lived experience with mental health to provide a unique type of support that can only be offered by someone who has been there.
[Peer supporters] draw on their lived experience with mental health to provide a unique type of support that can only be offered by someone who has been there.
Having been involved with Stella’s Place for so long, I thought I knew everything there was to know but boy, was I wrong! As I listened to a description of the programs offered, I found myself getting excited about quite a few of them and thinking “I didn’t know that’s what that program was all about. I should sign up!” For example, I didn’t know that Stella’s Place offers a free yoga program and that it is for all skill levels. Yoga is something I’ve wanted to start practicing, but I’ve been scared that it might be too hard, especially as someone who experiences trouble staying still as a result of medications that I take for my mental health condition.
I think that this is something unique about Stella’s — they recognize that you can be someone who wants to engage in exercise, and someone who also can experience intense emotions. That is what resonates with me. Stella’s Place also provides several creative spaces for folks that want to express themselves through art.
I also learned more about the Stella’s Place website. I didn’t know that I could go on and look at an up-to-date calendar of all of the drop-in programming being offered, if it’s cancelled that night due to this terrible snowy weather, and what activities are happening this week.
As the session concluded, I heard folks who had come as individuals connect with each other. I heard a lot of “nice to meet you,” and plans to walk over to catch transit together. That’s something that I really like about Stella’s Place- it fosters community and the camaraderie is embedded in every interaction, whether that’s from participants interacting with each other or staff interacting with participants. Stella’s Place is just inviting and engaging like that. I’m glad that I pushed myself to get involved all those years ago because Stella’s Place is still where I feel comfortable being myself, and seeking support when I need it the most.
If you are interested in getting involved as a participant at Stella’s Place, check out their website here: https://stellasplace.ca/programs/ This page has information about when they offer the intake session, like the one I attended, and what other programs are running.
— Sidney is a Stella’s Place Young Adult Council Member. Together with other members, she provides guidance and feedback on various organizational strategies pertaining to young adults, and ensures Stella’s Place is a welcoming and diverse space that supports young people on their mental health journeys.
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