SWITCH (Student Wellness Initiative Toward Community Health) is a registered charity and non-profit organization.
We are student-initiated and student-led.
SWITCH was created by students in order to enrich educational experiences and to provide much needed services for Saskatoon’s core neighbourhoods. We have an active pool of volunteers from the University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic. We are also beginning to see volunteers from other Saskatchewan educational institutions such as the First Nations University of Canada and Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies. What this also means is that our board of directors are students, primarily in the Health Sciences, professional colleges, or at the undergraduate level.
We are interprofessional.
Our mentors and student volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines with unique experiences to share.
Our Outreach team is responsible for making each SWITCH shift run smoothly by preparing and serving food, assisting with educational programming, and providing childcare.
Our Clinical team is made up of many different health disciplines, collaborating together on each case to provide non-judgemental and client-centered care. The students volunteer alongside a doctor or nurse practitioner, cultural support worker, receptionist, and other healthcare mentors. In addition to traditional clinical services, we offer counselling, speech language pathology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, cultural supports, gynecology, pediatrics, pharmacy, and nutritional education.
We are a clinic.
SWITCH operates through the Saskatoon Community Clinic, out of the Westside Community Clinic. The clinic is across Avenue P. from St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. We operate Mondays and Wednesdays and Saturdays to provide free walk-in clinical and social services to residents of Saskatoon’s inner city, though all residents are welcome.
All residents of Saskatoon have equitable access to culturally safe healthcare, nutrition, and education to better equip them with tools to create opportunities for themselves.
SWITCH augments the training of future professionals while improving the health, education, and skills of people from Saskatoon’s core communities, ultimately achieving lasting positive change for everyone involved.
The following values serve as a guide as we work toward our vision:
– Positively impacting the social determinants of health
– Empowering all clients served, as well as, students and mentors to make a difference in the community
– Striving to provide comprehensive care that is holistic and interdisciplinary
– Building cooperative partnerships with organizations, governments, and post-secondary institutions to foster open and collaborative relationships
– Earning the trust and respect of our partners, clients, mentors, and volunteers
– Innovation and dedication to excellence
– Ethical, social, and cultural responsibility
– Providing educational experiences that help students become more aware of and responsive to the needs of diverse populations
– Delivering compassion and empathy for everyone
Hours and Location
SWITCH is privileged to operate out of the Westside Community Clinic at: 1528 20th Street West.
SWITCH Summer Hours:
- May, June, July & August, Wednesday evenings only
SWITCH Clinic and Programming:
- Monday from 5:30-8:00pm
- Wednesday from 5:30-8:00pm
- Saturday from 12:30-3:00pm
SWITCH Volunteer Shifts:
- Monday from 5:00-9:00pm
- Wednesday from 5:00-9:00pm
- Saturday from 12:00-4:00pm
SWITCH offers the following services:
– Walk-in, interprofessional, after-hours, holistic clinical services with mentors and students from:
– Social work and counselling
– Chiropractic and acupuncture
– Speech language pathology
– Physical therapy
– Occupational therapy
– And more…
– Nutritional meal, including fresh fruits and vegetables, and coffee
– Nutrition advice
– Conversation and a safe space to spend time
– Traditional Elder and Healer
– Child minding
– All ages homework help centre
– Assistance with transportation
– Women’s, men’s, and children’s educational programming
– Community addictions and mental health outreach
– Referrals and resources
– Free phone usage (local calls)
– Special events including Community Dinners and our Women’s Pamper Night
Who We Are
Karen Cederwall is the executive director of SWITCH.
Sarah Gara is the programming coordinator of SWITCH.
Michelle Fleming is the childcare coordinator of SWITCH.
Erica Wiebe is the volunteer coordinator of SWITCH.
Evelyn Linklater is the cultural support worker of SWITCH.
Board of Directors
Megan Gallagher is the current holder of the Chair Portfolio. The holder of the Chair Portfolio works in conjunction with the SWITCH Board of Directors and staff to create and implement both short and long-term goals for SWITCH’s future. Megan can be contacted here.
Indiana Best is the current holder of the Vice Chair Portfolio. This portfolio holder supports the duties of the Chair. Indiana can be contacted here.
Desiree Naudé is the current treasurer. The holder of the treasurer portfolio works closely with the executive direction to update SWITCH Board on financial matters. They assist in payroll, act as a signatory, enter and receipt donations, and work with the bookkeeper and other financial professionals regarding SWITCH’s finances. Desiree can be contacted here.
Daisy Ko is the current holder of the Secretary Portfolio. This portfolio holder supports the Chair in management of the Board of Directors. They record and organize meeting minutes and are in charge of the website and SharePoint. Daisy can be contacted here.
Elizabeth Plishka is the current holder of the Community Engagement Portfolio. The holder of the Community Engagement Portfolio works to strengthen SWITCH’s relationship with other CBOs. They also chair the Community Outreach Committee. If you are from a CBO and interested in learning more about Community Cares Meetings, or if you are a student interested in learning more about the Community Outreach Committee, please contact Elizabeth here.
Zoé Gillespie is the current holder of the Student Recruitment and Retention Portfolio. This portfolio holder involves bringing in new student volunteers from various colleges and maintaining current volunteers through promotion at campus events, classroom presentations, and volunteer appreciation initiatives. They also chair the Student Recruitment and Retention Committee. Zoé can be contacted here.
Dakota Van Dijk is the current holder of the mentor portfolio. The mentor portfolio holder ensures that all mentors interested in SWITCH are trained, orientated, and have all the proper paperwork submitted prior to mentoring. They ensure that each shift has a physician/nurse practitioner and a social worker signed up. Overall, the mentor portfolio acts as a liaison to address any questions or concerns the mentors may have about SWITCH. Dakota can be contacted here.
Sarah White is the current holder of the Shift Teams Leader Portfolio. The holder of the Shift Teams Leader Portfolio is responsible for the training and support of Clinical Team Leaders and Outreach Team Leaders, and ensuring consistency on shift. As well, this position supports the Volunteer and Program Coordinators’ on-shift duties. Sarah can be contacted here.
Michael-Roy Durr is the current holder of the Research Portfolio. The holder of the Research Portfolio evaluates SWITCH internally through research projects, but also encourages and helps facilitate projects done by third parties. For all research inquiries, Michael can be reached here.
Brandy Mackintosh is an advisory member of the SWITCH board. She is an assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business. Prior to joining the Edwards School of Business in 2006, she was an audit manager for an international accounting firm. In 2017, Brandy became a tenured faculty member at the University of Saskatchewan. Brandy has taught courses in financial accounting and auditing at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Leif Jensen is an advisory member of the SWITCH board. He has been a lawyer with Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City (CLASSIC) since 2017, previously working in private practice as a litigator. He has appeared at all levels of Court in Canada, and taught at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law.
Marlene Halkett is an advisory member of the SWITCH board.
Westside Community Clinic
SWITCH made links with Westside Community Clinic and other organizations. A budget was written and funding confirmed from Primary Health Services and the University of Saskatchewan. Liability insurance from the University of Saskatchewan and Community Health Services were acquired. SWITCH started to get the attention of the media.
A Needs Assessment report, orientation manuals, policy manuals, and service agreements were created. Student liability assurance were arranged with SIAST and University of Regina. SWITCH continued to receive funding from various sources and confirmed registered charity status.
Staff and mentors were hired and contracted. Mandatory orientations to clinic and program operations were held for mentors and students as well as identifying those students who will play a key role in SWITCH shift operations.
SWITCH opened at the West Side Community Clinic for the first Wednesday shift. Grand Opening took place on Wednesday, October 19th.
SWITCH opened up its third shift on September 13, which was dedicated to Women’s Health. The services focused on prenatal care, contraception, sexually transmitted disease, annual pelvic exams, and menopause.
Due to unstable funding, SWITCH made the difficult decision of putting Saturday shifts on hold until sustainable funding was established.
SWITCH turns 10!
In October 2015, SWITCH celebrated its 10th year in operation!
Saturdays Are Back!
With generous support from the Durward Seafoot Estate and funds received through the RUH Foundation Community Mental Health Endowment Grant, SWITCH was able to resume Saturday shifts in April 2016!