Community Social Work Students Raise Thousands of Dollars for Local Agencies
April 19, 2021

Second year Community Social Work (CSW) students from Portage College have completed their Community Development projects – and local community agencies are the main beneficiaries. Otherwise known as work integrated learning, the projects allow the students from Cold Lake and Lac La Biche to apply the skills they learned in class to real-world settings while also gaining valuable experience and lending a helping hand in their communities.

“In total our students were able to raise an astounding $5,609.90 dollars for various community initiatives,” said Lyla Allan, Program Coordinator for Community Social Work and Fine Arts. “I am extremely proud of the students’ efforts and the support from the instructors to raise the funds for the community agencies.”

As part of the program, students select the agencies after first conducting some research and then brainstorm ways they can support them.

"The students are placed in small groups and are asked to use the following question as their guide as they brainstorm project ideas: What is something we can do in partnership with an agency to benefit the community?” said Jana McKinley, Social Work Instructor in Lac La Biche. “From there they come up with a project idea and connect with an agency, or sometimes they will connect with an agency who has an existing idea that the students help to put into action.”

Community involvement has been part of the CSW curriculum for many years and is valued by the students, instructors, and communities alike.

“These projects provide our students with the opportunity to develop their skills in the areas of collaboration, communication, needs assessment, evaluation, budgeting, defining objectives, organization and planning, marketing, documentation, and other skills that may be specific to their chosen project while building relationships and contributing positively to their communities,” said Audrey Cochrane, Social Work Instructor in Cold Lake.

CSW students completed the following projects this year:

  • Conducted a bottle drive which raised $964.60 for Cases for Kids, enabling the agency to buy 11 suitcases and 2 backpacks for children and youth in the foster care system (WJS) in Lac La Biche.

 Students with suitcases for kids from bottle drive

 Group from Polar Plunge in front of fire truck

 Students during walk-a-thon raising money for food bank

 Students with hygiene kit donations

  • In partnership with The Dragonfly Centre, raised $2,550 to create hospital care kits. Of the final tally, $1,800 was used to create 40 bags for the Cold Lake Healthcare Centre and the Bonnyville Health Centre. The Dragonfly Centre used the remaining funds to replenish bags. The kits are for anyone who is leaving a hospital setting after experiencing a sexual assault, domestic violence, accident, or any situation where their clothing has been compromised. Read the moving story covered by Lakeland Today here.

Students with the hospital care kits for Dragonfly Centre
Photo taken by Angel Gamache from The Dragonfly Centre.

“The Community Social Work faculty and staff would like to acknowledge all of our second-year students’ hard work on these initiatives to raise funds for their community,” said Allan. “They have done themselves, the College, and their communities proud.”

If you would like to learn more about our Community Social Work Program visit or call 1-866-623-5551.

For photo opportunities, interviews of students, and more information about the Community Social Work program contact:

Emily Steele, Marketing Specialist
780-623-5654 or

We acknowledge that Portage College’s service region is on the traditional lands of First Nation Peoples, the owners of Treaty 6, 8 and 10, which are also homelands to the Métis people. We honour the history and culture of all people who first lived and gathered in these lands.
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