Words Really Do Matter

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Words really do matter. I had originally wrote this post because I was developing an online presentation for adults on mental health and wellness so that they may assist students in their Post – Secondary programs. As I thought about what I would say I recognized that my words matter. What I say could potentially influence educators. What they say to their students could potentially transform what happens for the students and their families. Mental health literacy matters, stigma matters , words matter.

This week our students at BCHS released their anti-slur campaign . Real evidence that words do matter . CAkkWFXUwAASC6N.jpg-large CAWd1M6VAAAMKPp.jpg-large Click here for all of their words.

Sometimes I hear people use words way too loosely when describing someone with a mental illness or someone who has special needs or challenges. They may say so and so is an ADHD kid or so and so is bipolar, an alcoholic etc. It matters to me when I hear words used inappropriately as I believe strongly that we are people first ( the labels used like ADHD are only a very small way of telling us something about someone). We are so much more.

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Who we truly are cannot or should not be described in a few words. So the next time you find yourself using the label first STOP and THINK about the power of your words. Jim or Joan may have a million attributes that are positive and when you use one word to define them you are missing out on such huge pieces of who they truly are. 10419043_911951492189094_3575560603208004517_n7075_911952008855709_5968776292462405218_n10676148_911951908855719_9132407601018882210_n Eliminate so and so is a developmentally delayed child etc. and say their name and the many wonderful things about them. When you do this you start to perceive them differently. You also begin to treat each human being , each child in your care with so much more dignity and respect. Words really do matter. Words can bring about acceptance.  Words can change our brains. Words can hurt or heal. Words can hold back or help. Words can break hearts or touch hearts. Words can build others up or tear them down.  Words allow people to tell their stories .             11054330_911952025522374_6761228367194168442_nWords give people their voices . Words can challenge us to be resilient. Words can give us the strength to carry on … to give us HOPE.  Words can ruin someone’s day or make someone’s day . Words have the power to change others and change ourselves. What words will you use when speaking about and to your students today?

5 Things Worth Sharing

Painting I made for my family

Painting I made for my family

5 Things Worth Sharing:

  1. Family: Nothing matters more to me than my family. I am at a point in life where our children are grown up and don’t need me as much, but I continue to love every moment I spend with them.  They bring a smile to my face and joy in my heart every time I sit down to a meal with them or be around them. I am grateful … oh so grateful. I hope my children and husband realize just how much they mean to me not only by my actions, but also through my words. Part of the reason I blog is for them to see another piece of who their mother is. My heart is so full of love for them.

“One Hundred Years From Now”

One hundred years from now

It won’t matter

What kind of car I drove

What kind of house I lived in

How much money I had in the bank

Nor what my clothes looked like

BUT

The world may be a little better

Because, I was important

In the life of a child.

Author: (excerpt from “Within My Power” by Forest Witcraft)

This is the song that played at our wedding and it holds true for my children as well as my husband .Seeing this you tube video was a trip down memory lane for me because as a teenager I loved Donny Osmond , I flew to Toronto to see him with my friend when I was fifteen years old. (LOL) . I digress. My children and my husband have made a profound positive difference in my life.

2. Friends: I am so fortunate to have amazing friendships that lift me up, bring me great joy and fill my heart with love. We have bonds that cannot be broken. We share so many special moments in life. Each friendship I have I treasure. I value the precious moments I have with them and don’t ever take them for granted.

I moved to Calgary via Nova Scotia and Atikameg in 1981. It was a move that would change the course of my life and so began my story of lifelong adult relationships.

Fortunately for me I have had wonderful friendships in my life, so I knew how they could make a difference and sustain me. I have lifelong childhood friends from Nova Scotia who remain my dear friends today, even though I have been away for thirty-five years. We still make a point of seeing each other and celebrating our friendships every summer.

Little did I know when I moved to Calgary, it would become my home or that I would discover extraordinary life giving friendships that would sustain me for life,”the gang” as we would so affectionately call ourselves. My friends are wonderful, kind, intelligent, considerate, amazing, loving and caring people. Our connections remain unbreakable.

The thing that I think is so amazing about these people is that we have been friends for over twenty-five years and never ever had a fight or major disagreement with one another.

In over twenty-five years we have missed very little time where we go not seeing each other on a regular basis or when we celebrate a meal together. We have celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, New Years, birthdays, births, deaths, and we often get together for absolutely no reason at all. There rarely goes by a month where we don’t sit down once , twice or even more times together to enjoy a feast.

Every celebration creates fabulous memories. We laugh, sing, play games, tell stories and just plain enjoy each other’s company. Our children have been blessed with such great role models of positive, lasting friendships.

We are there for each other whenever anyone needs something no matter what. I can count on these people for whatever I need. They are my family. No, we are not related, but we are closer than some families. We have made a connection that will last a lifetime.

What do we all have in common? We moved to Calgary to work. We needed to be able to use the skills from our education. It was a place to create a life for ourselves. There are other commonalities, but this and the fact that we all had no family in Calgary has brought us together.

We all happen to be from a place near the water. Prince Edward Island, Vancouver and Nova Scotia. Others come to some of our celebrations, but not all of them because they have family here in Calgary. The rest of us don’t.

I absolutely love these people, and so do our children. We have been blessed with laughter in abundance over the years, positive memories that are etched vividly in my mind and will be passed on down to our children. There are stories upon stories that have been shared over the years. We never get tired of telling each other stories.

When I tell people about how much we really care about each other after all these years, they are often amazed. Really, we have never fought with each other about anything throughout the years.

What a gift I have been given. If I could I’d jump over mountains for these people I most definately would. They make such a difference in my life. I have work friends, neighbourhood friends, long distance friends , on line friends ( yes, you can create amazing on line friendships)  and lifetime friends. Each holds a special place in my heart.

I have been so blessed with all the friends that surround me. I can’t even put into words what they have meant to me.

If I pass anything onto my children it will be this.

Find great friends, not friends you necessarily always agree with all the time, but friends who you love being around and they love being around you.

Friends who :

accept you just the way you are
you can laugh and cry with
would be there in a minute no matter what you needed
the spouses / partners like and respect each other
don’t mind being silly with you no matter how old you are
share the good times and the bad with you
you always know will be there no matter what the circumstances
share your hopes, dreams, successes and losses
find friends who always seem to know the right thing to say or do

I am so happy to celebrate my friends. I want to shout from the mountaintops that YOU have provided me with some of the happiest memories of my life. I LOVE YOU so so much!

3. Life is To Be Lived 

I have believed for many many years that we need to live life to the fullest, maybe because of all the early deaths that have happened to people I have loved or people I have cared for. Zach is an amazing example for all of us. He is a teacher with many wonderful lessons and ones that are definitely worth sharing.

You don’t have to find out you are dying to start living

  • most people live in the middle, but you don’t have to
  • be empathetic and compassionate
  • always look for the good in people
  • things are OK when you believe in something greater
  • what makes you happy is seeing someone else smile because you put it there
  • what’s awesome about living in this world is that you can help people
  • the structure of a family is great
  • to be in the same room with your siblings is enough
  • it is not the life in your years , but the years and passion you put into your life
  • spend time with the people you love
  • it’s ok to dream big
  • celebrate the life you have
  • you can communicate love through music
  • music can heal
  • releasing feelings through music is helpful
  • letting people know you love them is important
  • sticking together as a family is extremely important
  • be happy no matter what
  • treat people the same and everything will be fine
  • smile despite what is happening in your life
  • memories are essential…create positive ones
  •  friendships help
  • fill your heart up with joy
  • it’s ok to have ultimate dreams
  • people we don’t really know can change our lives
  • the way you live matters
  • surround yourself with those people that lift you up
  • LOVE makes life BETTER

Zach says it alll better than I could ever do, his message is one that I will share again and again. Thanks Zach for giving us your gift of life. I know I treasure each day I have been given.

4. Find a Career You Love

I have been blessed with work I love to do. I have felt honoured to be able to be in the presence of so many students who have helped to teach me so much in life. I feel honoured that they allow me to enter into their world. Each day I go to work I am grateful. It doesn’t mean that every moment of every day that I am happy, but really I truly am so happy that I chose to do the work I do and most moments of most days I really am happy. My work brings me great joy and fulfillment. I really try to put passion into practice .

5. Have Hope

Life is not always easy and sometimes just downright hard, but having hope has gotten me through all the rough times. Even when I might have felt like giving up I haven’t because i could see a spark of hope. Music can heal the soul and inspire hope. I love music , well who doesn’t.  This last song is one when I hear it , I think of my husband who I am forever grateful for. Finding him is a gift that has made my life better. This reflective post has been worth sharing for me. Thanks to Maureen Crawford for inspiring this post. Now I challenge you . What are your 5 things worth sharing?

High School Redesign

IMG_0014 In a system that is more learner-centered, Albertans see the role of the teacher changing from that of a knowledge authority to an architect of learning – one who plans, designs and oversees learning activities. Albertans said the teacher should consider the interests, talents, passions and natural curiosities of the learner. The teacher should inspire and motivate, while planting the seeds for life-long learning. -Inspiring Education: A Dialogue with Albertans p. 23

Collaboration is so important and this month I get to collaborate with my Principal Neil O’Flaherty @neilof12 as we co-facilitate a session for ULead 2015 on curriculum redesign.

High School redesign is essential to creating an environment where students can thrive.

Here is a schedule of our day:

9am-10:30 a.m. St. Anne Academic Centre Introduction to HS Re-Design and involvement to date. Here is the Ulead St. Anne 2015 presentation. Norm Martin and Martin Kovack presenting.

10:45am-12:00 p.m.  Bishop McNally High School. Deana Helton and  Desiree Cook Smith presenting. Here is the uLead Conference2015 link to the presentation.

1:15pm-2:30 p.m. Bishop Carroll High School . You can find the BCHS presentation U lead presentation 2015 Banff here. Neil O’Flaherty and Susan Spellman Cann presenting.

2:45pm-4:00 p.m.–Break-out Q & A  (“Re-Design Carousel?”)–delegates can visit all three schools or remain with one at their discretion.

Bishop Carroll High School is part of the Canadian Coalition for Self Directed Learners. CCSDL has been in operation since 1971 based on the ideas put forth by Dr. J. Lloyd Trump in his book A School for Everyone. Even though this innovative school has been in operation for forty-three years BCHS is still working to stay on the cutting edge when it comes to curriculum redesign and we are fortunate to be a part of the team of people working to make this happen. If you have never seen how Bishop Carroll operates please take a look at this short video to get a window into the life of BCHS. This is what 21st Century Learning should look like:

We want students to develop the competencies to become engaged thinkers, ethical citizens with an entrepeneurial spirit.

We need to work together to prepare ourselves and our students for the future. Here is a livebinder created by Peter Damen @naramata22 one of our School Counsellors to assist BCS students in planning for their future.  Here you will find a collaborative doc that we put together with many stakeholders on mental health and wellness. Please click here for a livebinder of resources on High School redesign.

Here is the video from Italy that Neil spoke about in his presentation with the Capetown choir . You can hear the two choirs joining in at about 2:00 mins. in. This is true learning and collaboration at its finest.

It is The Right Time to collaborate and rethink what we do. This post is meant to provide you with as many resources as possible so if you revisit this blog in a week it will be updated from the U lead conference.  We hope you had a great time and please share any resources you have created with us. Please tweet to @SSpellmanCann or @NeilOF12.

Is it time to redesign our curriculum for the digital age ? What do you think? We believe it is the right time to collaborate with our colleagues and to work together for the betterment of all students like was done in OCLMOOC the  The Connectivist Mooc for Alberta Educators. There is no doubt that this is a process, but it is made easier through the use of technology. We can collate information easier and faster than ever before. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, we just make the wheel better and better so that our students benefit and become better citizens in this ever changing world.

What a great day to spend with colleagues sharing our best practices. Meeting with leaders from across the world to share and connect is always rewarding. There were principals from Reykjavik, Iceland, delegates from Sweden , New Zealand and lots of Albertans.

Here is the storify I created : A short storify from #ULead2015. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your conference. Go make a difference It is the right time ! Lead !!!

Teen Mental Health and Wellness Matters

It is always time to talk about mental health and wellness when it comes to students. This year we held our second Mental Health Symposium with Dr. Alec Couros, but throughout the year we hold small events that inform students about the importance of their own wellness.

Last year our theme was Living Aware, Living Informed , Living Empowered. We want our students at Bishop Carroll High School to feel fully empowered and we want them to be good digital citizens by posting to the hashtag #empowerBCHS

Take a look at some of the great things our students have to say:

Click here to find out more information about our symposium last year.

Our theme this year was Living Fully Alive. We really wanted students to think about all the reasons they could and should want to live. Click here to learn more.

We wanted students to leave with resources which you can find by clicking here.

We also want to continue the dialogue and have students learn more about mental health literacy. Thanks to Dr. Stan Kutcher we can .

When it comes to mental health we need to :

1) Know how to obtain and maintain good mental health

2) Understanding mental disorders and their treatments based on the best scientific evidence

3) Decrease Stigma

4) Know when and where to get help , know what to expect when you get help and having the tools to empower us to get the best care possible

Take a look at his fabulous website to find out more Teenmentalhealth.org. We hope you will join us in our work . You can collaborate anytime with us on the topic of mental health and wellness by contacting @sspellmancann . Go ahead make a difference for teens , because mental health and wellness matters.

Relationships Relationships Relationships … they matter

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Today we were asked to discuss a peak experience and for me I said my wedding day. In 1986  I was so blessed to have chosen a man who would enhance my life. A man who would make me a better person, a man who would be the best father to my children that I could ever ask for. That day changed my life for the better. It made me a better human being.

Sometimes we take for granted what we know and the people around us that have impacted us in such a positive way.  I have to say I am so grateful for the choice I made on that day. Little did I know I would continue to be so very happy this many years later and still be able to say that I was fortunate to have such a great life because of the choice that I made so many years ago. My life has been better because of my husband. Now don’t get me wrong he or I are not by any stretch of the imagination close to perfect, but we are perfect for each other.

The person we choose to spend our lives with can and does make a big difference, so choose very wisely. The friends we choose can impact our lives in a positive or negative way. I am so grateful for the fabulous friends I have chosen in my life.  How fortunate I am to continue to be with a man I love and to be surrounded by the best friends ever (you know who you are) . I continue to open my heart to new friendships that inspire and make me a better person.  I need to remember to not take each fabulous person in my life for granted. Relationships do matter . Love matters. The way we treat people matters.

As tomorrow is Valentines Day I want to tell you just how much I truly love you all. This is straight from my heart. I hope you know truly how much you really mean to me.Thanks for how you have treated me.The love you have given me has transformed my life and that is not an exaggeration.

The love brought into my life by our children is something that I only wish I could put into words . I have to say my heart must be gigantic because you all fill it up!

Love you so much

Susan

xoox

Canadian School Counselling Week … A time to celebrate what you do #cscchat

School Counsellors all over Canada are making a difference. I want to share what you do!! 

I thank you School Counsellors in Canada and in the world for all you do. YOU DO #makeadifference. Post to the hashtag #cscchat Canadian School Counsellor Chat to share what you do .

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Inspired by my dear friend Maria De Cicco, I am wanting to celebrate all the great work School Counsellors are doing in Canada this week. I want to feature YOU and what you do on my blog. If you would like to write an article and send it to me, I would love to feature the fabulous things School Counsellors are doing . Please send a pic if you can along with your blog post to susanspellmancann@gmail.com. If you would just like to send me a pic of you and a message that is great too. I would be happy to share it on twitter with your permission. I believe there are School Counsellors all over Canada doing amazing things and the TIME IS NOW to share what you do!!!!

Check out Julie Fantinato ‘s  @jfantinato school district’s comments from Elementary school students about their School Counsellor.

You can tell they love their School Counsellors

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The CCPA has some ideas for you . Below you can see an example of what we plan on doing at BCHS. Here are some possible examples of PA Announcements:

Monday: This week is Canadian School Counselling Week.  We challenge you today we challenge you to take 10 mins. out of your day to exercise or practice mindfullness. Need more information or tips please pick up todays tips in Student Services. Have a great day! You can make a difference.

Tuesday: It is Canadian School Counsellor Week. Today we challenge students and staff to do one small good deed and when you do please post it to the hashtag #empowerBCHS or come and share with us what you did and we will share it on our school facebook site. Have a fabulous day . You make a difference.

Wednesday: It is Canadian School Counsellor Week. Today we challenge each student and staff member to express your gratitude to someone at school by telling them thank you for… You could even write a post card to them . The post cards will be available all week in Student Services. Being grateful improves your overall happiness. Do it today! You make a difference.

Thursday: It is Canadian School Counsellor Week. Today we challenge students and staff to let one of your family members know how important they are. Pick up a You make a difference in my life card in Student Services and give it to them. Remember you make a difference.

Friday: It is the last day of School Counselling Week. Your school counsellors want you to know we are here for you anytime . Come see us in Students Services. Today we challenge you to think about your favourite wellness quote and post it to the hashtag #empowerBCHS or share it with us in Student Services and we will feature it in the upcoming weeks. Have a wonderful weekend and remember You make a difference.

You may also wish to send someone you know who supports School Counsellors a thank you. This one I made with haiku deck.

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jpeg Alberta School Counsellors are also doing amazing things . Check out their website here . Proclamation Canadian School Counselling Week.

 Proclamation from CCPA for School Counselling Week

WHEREAS, school counsellors are employed in public and private schools to help students reach their full potential; and   WHEREAS, school counsellors are actively committed to helping students explore their abilities, strengths, interests, and talents as these traits relate to career awareness and development; and   WHEREAS, school counsellors help parents focus on ways to further the educational, personal and social growth of their children; and   WHEREAS, school counsellors work with teachers and other educators to help students explore their potential and set realistic goals for themselves; and   WHEREAS, school counsellors seek to identify and utilize community resources that can enhance and complement comprehensive school counselling programs and help students become productive members of society; and   WHEREAS, comprehensive developmental school counselling programs are considered an integral part of the educational process that enables all students to achieve success in school;   Therefore, I, ___________________________________ do hereby proclaim February 2-6, 2015, as Canadian School Counselling Week. School Counsellors make a difference . It is worth repeating. Thank you School Counsellors in Canada and in the world for all you do. YOU DO #makeadifference. Post to the hashtag #cscchat Canadian School Counsellor Chat to share what you do especially this week.

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Mental Health Symposium with Dr. Alec Couros @courosa

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Living Fully Alive

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive.” – Howard Thurman

At Bishop Carroll High School we take mental health and wellness seriously. Our district and province have made a committment to focus on the well being of our students . Take a look at the video below to see what Alberta teachers are saying.

Our mental health wellness committee put together our second symposium featuring Dr. Alec Couros.

Need a background start here and really think about the words you use when it comes to mental health .

Take a peek at our 2005 Mental Health Living Fully Alive Symposium:

Mental health is important and if you need to find out why take a look at these facts about mental illness. It is one of the reasons we decided to put together a symposium. It will be a great day when mental health is understood and de- stigmatized.

If you want to see what we did last year you can can take a look at the pins below:

Below we hope you could make use of some of our resources. Feel free to use any and or all ideas. We need to work together to make this a better world for our youth.

  • Our Living Fully Alive advertisement can be found here.
  • Our challenge for ten reasons to live is posted here: 10 Reasons To Live
  • One of the most important things we wanted our students to gain from this symposium was coping skills.
  • Haiku Deck Reasons To Live
  • Haiku decks for  School Counsellors and students click below:

We need to teach students how to find their flow state and use it to keep themselves healthy. How do you get yourself into this state? For me one way is painting.

Our mental health wellness is a collaborative project that we began last year . The following document has a wealth of resources that we hope high schools, educators and school counsellors will use. It is an ongoing work in progress, so if you’d like to collaborate with us please feel free to tweet me @sspellmancann and join us on our journey as we pay attention to our own mental health as well as the mental health and wellness of others.

101 ways to  Live Your Life to the Fullest

101 things to do Before You Die

Thanks Dr.Couros for your passion and assisting students to think about their identities on and off line. As our students would say . YOU rock!

Now go have yourself a great day and remember you have a purpose … YOU MATTER

Thanks to @haikudeck for this video! Love you guys!

2014 A Year To Remember

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There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.

- Mark Twain

Thanks to a post by my fellow #etmooc ‘er Helen Blunden @activatelearn. I was inspired to write this post.

My most viewed posts of 2014

1. Career Speed Dating

2. Ten Reasons to Live

3. Hope In My Idea School

4. Putting Passion Into Practice

5. School Counsellors Connecting

6. Children of Alcoholics School Counsellors Can Help

7. OCLMOOC: SChool Counsellors Joining In And You Can Too

8. Connections Have Transformed Me

9. Conference With A Difference

10. Lessons For A New School Counsellor

Wishing my PLN a fantastic 2015 and hoping you and your families enjoy all the blessings of life.

          LOVE THIS TWEET : Something we all should practice in 2015

I am so fortunate to work with @NeilOF12 a great leader, and @ehordyskiluong ( my co-inspirer) I know that’s not a word, but she always works with me to inspire students and helps me with so many other projects and ideas. To Peter Damen who always has great ideas  and is a fabulous School Counsellor ( who I am grateful is on our team ) thank you for who you are and all you do. To my fabulous colleagues who continue to inspire me by what they do and their comittment to education . I am grateful to work alongside you.

In 2015, I hope to see more Canadian School Counsellors on twitter. I look forward to celebrating and connecting with you. Thanks to those who have already taken a leadership role. See you in #SCCrowd #scchat and #cscchat.                                        

GO MAKE A DIFFERENCE in 2015

Coping Skills

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When it comes to coping it really does matter what you have to cope with: Check out my haiku deck on coping skills here: How You Cope Depends On What You Have to Cope With. Understanding how stress impacts you can help you cope. Below you will find some strategies that may help you cope . Use the strategies that work best for you.

ABC’s  Coping Skills:

A: Attitude: Your attitude matters

B: Books : A book on the topic you are trying to cope with can help. Beliefs Challenge your thoughts about the topic: Be positive! Books can be healing!

C: Caring and compassion make a difference:  helping others helps you to focus on others not on your problems.

D: Decide as a School Counsellor that you need to take care of yourself. Watch out for compassion fatigue:

http://www.beyond-balance.com/documents/Self_Care_and_the_School_CounsellorArticle.pdf

E: Exercise is always helpful. You might only need to exercise 7 mins. each day. You can do it!

F: Find great strategies.

G: Give yourself a break . Try these brain breaks:

H: Hope . It is so important to maintain a hopeful perspective.

I : Invite others to help you : Kids Help Phone.

J: Just be yourself.

K: Kindness is always a good thing . Do a Random Acts of Kindness for someone else today.

L: Listen to music . It soothes the soul.

M: Mindfulness matters. Focus on your breath.  Here are some tips for teens.

N: Naming game : 54321 Exercise.

O: Open your mind to new strategies.

P: Positive self talk matters.

Q: Quite your mind. Be still!

R: Relax:

S: Strategies : the more you have the better.  Here are 99.

T: Trust: that your feelings will not last forever. Feelings are neither right nor wrong they are just feelings. It is what you do with them that matters.

U: Understanding your coping skills matters.

V: Visualize what you want.

W: Watch a funny show to get your mind off all the serious stuff.

X:  A to Z  list.

Y: YOU MATTER . Remember who matters.

Z: A-Z another list. Thanks to Jordan Andrews @jta102 for making me think about this post today.  

Please share your coping skills and strategies Thanks for adding your links below. Remember:

The Smallest Good Deed is Better Than The Grandest Good Intention

#ReachHigher … You Can Too … Go Make A Difference

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I am so inspired by the First Ladies commitment to help students #reachhigher as well as her dedication and support for School Counsellors.

When I reflect back to my high school years , I am not sure if I would have attended University if it were not for my School Counsellor, Mrs. Brown from Dartmouth High School. I certainly could not afford to go to post-secondary , even though I had worked part-time for a very long time. In fact I am certain I would not have attended, if it were not for that meeting.

It was only after a meeting with my School Counsellor who led me in the direction of a Bachelor of Child Study at MSVU Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, that I even considered the possibility. She also contributed $100.00 to my University Education which was a lot of money back then. I am so grateful to Mrs. Brown  ( who has since passed away ) . I never got to thank her , but I have attempted to pay it forward many times.

Becoming a School Counsellor was never on my radar back then , but again as I reflect back I am sure that one gesture had a HUGE  impact on me. I would be the first child in my family to graduate from University.

My community also stepped up to help me. I was very fortunate to receive a university scholarship for playing lacrosse from Canada Fitness and Amateur Sport( A member of my community Shannon Park – Wallis Heights – a forces base,  pointed me in this direction to get this scholarship ) . I also received a bursary from Officers’ Wives.

They say it takes a village to raise a child , and for me that was true. My community came together to help and support me and as a result I now have a University education and a lifelong love of learning.  I am forever grateful.  I feel passionate about students believing they can go on to post-secondary, no matter what their situation.

So School Counsellors, let’s gather together and let students know they can #reachhigher , no matter where they live whether it be in Canada , the US or wherever they live in the world.

Make a poster like the one I did above and share it . Maybe one student will be inspired to reach for their dreams. A special thanks Mrs. Obama for your fabulous leadership and support for School Counsellors . We feel it everywhere.

Thanks to all those who helped me reach my dreams along the way including so many teachers who I adored and one special School Counsellor who really made it all possible. Mrs. Brown, you made a difference. If ever any one of your relatives reads this,  know the impact one person can have to change the trajectory of a child’s life. I strive to be that kind of person each and every day for the students in my care.