Caprise Perrineau, AC Health and Education Promotion Coordinator, alongside Zoom event attendees Jules Medeiros (left) and Analiza Flores (right)
Craft & Chat, a biweekly event on the campus of Algonquin College Perth, offers students the opportunity, in person or online, to participate in a variety of activities from crafts to games, share their feelings and make friends with counselors.
Caprise Perrineau, Algonquin College Health and Education Promotion Coordinator, led the event solo on Wednesday, July 20, with two students joining via Zoom to chat and play a game of Pictionary. Both students take classes on the Woodroffe campus.
“I was interested in this event because I am an international student and that brings a lot of challenges. It’s overwhelming to be abroad,” says Analiza Flores, a PSW student, who has joined Craft & Chat for the fourth time. “It’s a lot of fun. I can talk to people and get advice about my mental health.”
Jules Medeiros is in the Social Worker program and was the second person on Zoom. They enjoy this event because it gives them a great hands-on experience for their program.
Typically, Perrineau Craft & Chat cohosts with Christina Latifi, an Algonquin College counselor.
When events like Craft & Chat were just an idea, Latifi reached out to Perrineau for help addressing the overall wellbeing of students on each campus. The creation of Craft & Chat was important because the Perth campus is a small community with different needs than the Ottawa campus.
They also wanted to address a noticeable gap between domestic and international students at the college. Their hope for this event, and others like it, is to give students the opportunity to interact in a relaxed atmosphere.
When everyone arrives at Craft & Chat, they all introduce themselves and explain why they are there. Usually there is a starting point introduced by Perrineau or Latifi.
“Talking about problems is a vulnerable activity, but this event is a special space for that,” says Perrineau. “Sometimes up to eight people join us, which is a lot for Perth. We sit around a table, set up the computer for the Zoom people and talk about mental health. Sometimes we play Pictionary and talk. It’s a lot of fun.”
Craft & Chat is a great way to feel a sense of community and de-stress.
“Caprise and Christina are amazing,” said Medeiros. “It’s personal, but it’s not. We discuss our mental health without any pressure.”
Craft & Chat offers snacks and loot bags to attendees. If you enter online, you can pick up your loot ahead of the event. This time the sachets contained Pur hand sanitizer, Kleenex, a condom that reads ‘no glove no love’, lubricant, salt with instructions for a salt water gargle, peppermint tea, blood alcohol information leaflets, an AC Health pen. Services and a map of information for Good 2 Talk, a 24-hour post-secondary student helpline.
Due to the success this summer, Perrineau and Latifi will continue with Craft & Chat in the fall semester.