Student Experience Office

Student Experience Office


Student Experience Office

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Queen's Cares Reading Week: Exploring Poverty in Kingston 

Group photo of 2016 Queen's Cares participants

Queen’s Cares Reading Week is a four-day service-learning initiative focused on the issue of poverty, and will take place over the 2017 Reading Week. Participants will be introduced to the systemic issues that perpetuate poverty, learn about how poverty impacts the Kingston community, and will see the issues first hand through volunteer opportunities at local Kingston organizations. Through a combination of workshops, reflections, and service opportunities, this program allows students to take a deep look at the social issues facing Kingston residents, and to explore their own capacity in making real change in their community.

Queen’s Cares Reading Week is a chance for students to become connected with the Kingston community and learn about poverty.  Unlike traditional volunteer placements, this service learning initiative will allow students to critically reflect on how their experiences influence others and their own personal growth. Students will also be able to connect experiential learning to your academic studies.  

Program Structure

Program Orientation (February 11th, 2017): 

Prior to the Reading Week experience, program participants will attend a mandatory workshop that will introduce the issues facing people living below the poverty line, help to contextualize some of the experiences they will have, and allow them to meet other program participants and their facilitators.

Reading Week Program (February 21 - 24, 2017):

Throughout the 4-day intensive experience, schedules will vary each day, but consist of the same fundamental components:  volunteering at a community organization, participating in a workshop or presentation, debriefing and a critical reflection of the day’s activity, and participating in a group bonding event such as bowling or a movie.

Partnerships with community organizations are an integral part of the program. Each day, students will get to meet with, interact with, and volunteer with, a variety of people and organizations in the city that aim to support those currently living in poverty. In 2016, activities could include: preparing and serving a meal at the Good Times Diner, sorting clothes and revitalizing the storefront for Dress for Success, preparing food boxes with the Kingston Community Health Centre, and more. While some placements will be task oriented, others will be beneficial in exposing you to the variety of programs and organizations working to help support those in need.

Program Showcase (Date TBD):

After the 4-day intensive experience, students will be asked to consolidate their experiences and learning, and present to interested members of the university and community.

Program Learning Outcomes

By participating in Queen’s Cares Reading Week, students will:

  • Develop critical reflective thinking skills while gaining a sense of civic responsibility.
  • Develop increased awareness of their community and its needs, particularly in regard to the systemic structures that perpetuate poverty.
  • Explore their capacity to make an impact in their communities
  • Build leadership, communication and interpersonal skills.

Program Recognition

Upon completion of the program, students will receive a certificate from the university that recognizes their participation in the program, their capacity to critically reflect on complex issues, and their contribution to the community.

Eligibility and Application Information

Eligibility: All undergraduate Queen's students are eligible to apply to participate in Queen's Cares. Students must be willing to commit to attending the program orientation, the 4-day intensive experience, and the showcase.

Application: As there are a limited number of spaces available in this program, students must apply to participate. All applications will be reviewed before students are offered a place in the program. Deadline: January 16th, 2017

Cost: $75 per student*

*There are opportunities for students to have this fee lowered if financial need is demonstrated. Please contact by January 16th for more information.