The Art of Friendly Visiting
On Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011, a group of 14 women and men gathered at Mustard Seed on 791 Queen Street East. Their goal: to learn about the particularities of friendly visiting in homes of people who, through age or disability, have limited ability to interact and socialize with others.
Participants included volunteers from several different parishes, from the In Good Company program and from other agencies. Also present were people interested in exploring friendly visiting.
Sister Georgette Gregory, Director of In Good Company, has offered this program five times now in collaboration with Sr. Mary Mettler, Sr. Mary Carmen McLean and Leanne Kloppenborg. For this session, Carolyn Galbraith, the volunteer coordinator from Society of Sharing, joined the team. Feedback from those attending these daylong sessions has continued to be positive and encourages us to offer the courses more frequently and in some cases, in a particular parish.
Topics covered included: listening skills; loss and bereavement; grief; and boundaries in working with clients. Some of the more common mental health issues and ethical concerns involved were also discussed. The team used role-play, story-telling and small group discussion as well as lectures to make the learning engaging and fun. A manual containing the material covered in the program was provided at the end of the day.
By Mary Mettler CSJ