Frequently Asked Questions
What is Queen’s Health Outreach?
Queen’s Health Outreach (QHO) is a student-run, registered charity that hires and trains Queen’s University students to teach health education curriculum and promote healthy lifestyle awareness in our various partner locations. QHO was established in 1988 and now has five different Initiatives that work with various schools and community groups within Kingston ON, northern Canada, Belize, Guyana, and Kenya. This health curriculum is centered around relevant health topics within each individual community and school, as well as the requests and the culture within each community. QHO is comprised of about 80 members, including 31 Executive Members who hire and train 42 Peer Educators and 5 Interns each year.
As Peer Educators, students undergo comprehensive training throughout October to April on many areas of study that include: Effective teaching strategies, lesson planning, cultural competency/sensitivity, global development/ethics, and learning about the local cultures and communities in which they will be working in.
What do the Peer Educators do while on Initiative?
- During the academic year, the Peer Educators within the Kingston Initiative work within nine different schools, teaching our health-based curriculum and running activity days.
- In the spring, the Peer Educators from the northern Canada, Belize, Guyana, and Kenya Initiatives run their initiatives within our partner communities for approximately six to eight weeks.
- The Peer Educators work with school staff, community members, and local health workers, and utilize their training, to ensure that their lessons, workshops, and afterschool activities are effective, relevant, and tailored to the needs, wants, and local culture of the community.
- While working with the students, Peer Educators focus their teaching style and lessons to be taught on a peer-to-peer basis, as we are similar in age to the students that we teach. QHO believes that this peer-to-peer relationship allows for a more dynamic and relatable learning experience for our students and is a large contributor to our effectiveness within the classrooms.
- In addition to teaching within the classrooms, Peer Educators also focus their time within the community towards running additional extracurricular activities and workshops for students and community members, to increase opportunities for health-centered learning and being active.
What makes QHO useful within these schools and communities?
- Firstly, we believe that starting and continuing positive conversations and learning opportunities about health related topics, in any capacity, is beneficial. Many of us have seen and experienced these benefits first-hand through our work with QHO.
- The peer-to-peer teaching and learning relationship that we bring to the classroom allows us to relate to students on a level that vastly increases the effectiveness in which many of these topics can be taught. For example, teaching about puberty, peer pressure, self-esteem, etc., we are able to share our own stories and experiences, as we weren’t in their shoes too long ago. Also, teaching about more ‘awkward’ topics, often in the area of sexual health, we are able to make things less uncomfortable by relating to students and teaching in a more casual and personalized way.
Because Peer Educators are trained thoroughly before running their initiatives, they are able to work effectively with community members, school staff, partner organizations, and our students to teach about relevant health topics in culturally relevant ways, and to provide positive learning experiences and opportunities for physical activity outside of the classroom.
- Many of our community partners have stated that it is useful for QHO to work within the school(s) so that health education is given top priority during that time. One of the teachers within Webequie First Nation, ON said this within her final feedback form: “Teachers are often stressed about completing the math and literacy curriculum, and often forget about health. It is such an important subject and it’s important for students and teachers to be reminded of that!”.
How do we monitor our progress and the effectiveness of our initiatives?
- QHO has 31 Executive members who work throughout the year to evaluate and improve our training, policies, and effectiveness within our Initiatives. We also evaluate the collaboration and feedback methods that we use within our partner schools.
- While on initiative, Peer Educators are responsible for completing daily teaching logs, an evaluation package, weekly reports, and policy reflections. Peer Educators are also responsible for giving all teachers that we work with the opportunity to give feedback and suggestions through our Initial Feedback forms and Final Feedback forms, as well as by working with teachers to tailor lessons throughout their time within the community.
- QHO also consults experts and professionals on healthcare, global development, our training, and our policies through the use of our Advisory Board and additional meetings throughout the year.
How is the money that is donated and fundraised for QHO used?
- As students, we work very hard throughout the year to fully fundraise our initiatives each year, and we are always grateful for each and every donation that we receive.
- 96.4% of money goes directly towards the costs of running our initiatives.
- Being as cost-effective as possible, each Initiative uses their budget to finance the cost of flights, housing, food, water, and Internet for the Peer Educators. The budget is also used specifically for teaching supplies and costs associated with running outreach activities and programs within the community. The budget does not finance the purchase of personal souvenirs, excess food, or personal travel costs.