Since fall 2012, interprofessional teams of students and faculty have been working collaboratively to implement service learning activities at the Milestone Foundation Shelter and Detoxification Facility in Portland, Maine. Service projects at the shelter focus on providing opportunities for discussion and support of homeless individuals with substance abuse problems through foot assessments, soaks, and washings. This project encourages students to learn not only how to collaborate with other professions but also with nonprofessionals and “targets” of intervention through orientation, shadowing, service and reflection.
Milestone Shelter & Detoxification Center
- 41-bed overnight emergency shelter for male and female substance abusers
- Provides a safe place to sleep, nutritional meals and clean clothing while encouraging clients to seek substance abuse treatment
- 18-bed inpatient medically managed detoxification program
- Biomedical assessments and physical exams, medical and nutritional plans, psychosocial assessments, individual and group sessions, aftercare planning, etc.
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- Increase cultural competency, self-awareness, and social justice consciousness
- Increase student understanding of homeless population in Portland and the health challenges they face
- Center for Excellence in Collaborative Education (CECE) competencies of teamwork, communication, values, and roles and responsibilities
Collaborative Project Structure
Students wishing to participate in this service activity must commit to the following required project elements. We consider this a professional commitment and any breach of that will be addressed by the student’s respective program, including — but not limited to — the inability to participate in clinics.
- Part One: Complete the application (you can send it prior, or bring to orientation)
- Part Two: Milestone Shelter Orientation
- Led by shelter and nursing staff, this meeting covers all elements of this service activity including information about the Milestone Foundation, homelessness in Portland, as well as a review of the protocol and instructions for conducting foot checks. Commitment to service and professionalism will be discussed and there will be ample time allotted for questions.
- Please consider bringing a donation of a package of men’s crew or winter socks to orientation that will be used during the foot clinics throughout the semester.
- Part Three: HOME Team Ride Along
- Students wishing to volunteer at the shelter will need to first complete a ride along with the HOME Team. Students will meet the HOME team drivers in pairs at the shelter and will shadow them during their shift around Portland. A description of the HOME team ride will be provided at the orientation.
- Part Four: Foot Clinics at the shelter
- Students will meet briefly in Parker Pavilion with their assigned team of students and faculty advisors prior to starting clinic at the shelter. Clinics run approximately 2 hours and are supervised by faculty and shelter staff.
- Part Five: Debriefings
- Following the HOME team ride along and foot clinic nights, students are asked to complete a brief survey regarding their experience within 24 hours of completion.
(Space is limited and by application only)
- Foot Clinics: Screening, Assessment and Care
- Blood Pressure and Vision Screening
- Medication Awareness and Education
- Health Promotion, Information and Awareness
- Staff from Milestone Shelter Provide an Overview and Answer Questions
- Street Doctor James O’Connell Presentation on Boston’s Healthcare for the Homeless
- Web Resources for Homelessness and Health: