Sometimes you see something and you just know you cannot pass this opportunity by. That’s what happened to me as I read a post by my friend Marian on Facebook on Alberta Teachers volunteering with students in Ukraine. I then contacted David who coordinates volunteers for Smart Osvita and have never looked back.Your legacy in life is created by each life you touch. This is one way to connect with youth who are presently living in Ukraine that is meaningful. I could not pass this opportunity by.I hope you too chose to volunteer.
“This opportunity is going to be life changing for those kids, but it will also be life changing for Teachers, and School Counsellors and others who deeply care about youth”
D Falconer adapted by @sspellmancann
A Volunteer Opportunity
If you are interested in volunteering on your own please contact David Falconer (see below) , but if you’d like to co-present with me please contact me at @sspellmancann on twitter
David signed on to a program that gives children who are presently living in Ukraine hour-long virtual lessons where they get to learn about a place in the world, or a topic of interest. The goal is to provide the youth with an hour that they can escape from their worries and focus on their well-being. So fortunately for me I got to present with my co-workers and wellness team Sheila Stacey and Deanne Arada two amazing counsellors who are passionate about making a difference for young people.
Ukrainian children log in to Zoom sessions at whatever location they can, then Falconer , teachers, School Counsellors and others tell them about life where they are and / or present a lesson. Our goal is to make it interactive , provide as much Canadian content as possible while being fun and letting youth escape the worries of the world.
Falconer has had up to 250 people taking part,in his sessions providing Ukrainian children “an hour where they can dream and be totally separated from their current reality.” There are thousands of displaced students needing this support.
Falconer said the lessons being organized are supposed to be educational, but “ultimately, the goal is to have these kids know that people care and indeed that is what we hoped as well. We have completed three sessions and plan on many more and we sincerely hope you do too. Our ultimate goal is to leave them feeling uplifted and hope filled and from their feedback we believe we accomplished this so far.
It is so important to not retraumatize youth providing them with a sense of safety allowing for activities that help them feel truly connected . When planning sessions presenters need to be mindful of this.
For youth who are affected by trauma, the teacher / school counsellor play an even more vital role. Volunteering in this capacity does makes a difference.
What You May Want to Know:
You can do this!!!! It’s fun and a great way to make a meaningful contribution. Feeling powerless like you can’t do anything …well yes YOU CAN, The students so appreciate what you do. They are absolutely amazing. The interpreter is so helpful and positive.You don’t have to do this alone. Find a co-fascilitator. We planned our sessions together and did a run through before each session which was so, so beneficial. We know you will love this experience too. So jump in and do it, you will be so glad you did!
These are some potential resources for you, some may be applicable , so please use what works for you. Just be yourself, share some of your life and most importantly pass on a little hope.
- A- Z Coping Toolkit for Teens in Tough Times @sspellmancann #twopsychologiststalk
- Activity manual for educators 135 virtual activities Jays Care Foundation
- Accessibility for Equity | Smore Newsletters
- Adolescent social and emotional learning in contexts of conflict, fragility and peacebuilding
- Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators
- Crisis & Trauma Resources – American School Counselor Association (ASCA)
- Introduction example Mrs. Spellman Cann | Smore Newsletters for Education
- Five Ways to Support Students Affected by Trauma
- 👐Gratitude and Kindness Jars @TeachersUsingTech
- 25 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Children and Teens (+Tips!)
- Resources for Responding to Trauma and Tragedy | Edutopia
- Resources for Ukrainian children and their families The Office of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights
- SEL resources
- Supporting Youth Affected by the War in Ukraine: Tips for Caregivers and EducatorsTeaching Resources to Help Students Make Sense of the War in Ukraine – The New York Times
- Tips for helping students recover from trauma
- Tools for Teachers – Canadian Red Cross
- Trauma-Informed Classroom Strategies
- Trauma-Informed Care Teaching activities and resources | RNAO
- Trauma-Informed SEL Toolkit – Transforming Education
- TRAUMA-INFORMED VIRTUAL PROGRAMS Jays Care Foundation
- Virtual Calming Space
- Wellness team Tips
- Wheel decide on HOPE
- Wheel decide Positive Intentions
- Wheel decide Your Thoughts Matter
- Affirmations Wheel of names
- Wheel of Names Positive Affirmations for Teens
- Wheel of Names What You Say and Do Matters
Please remember to practice self-care and share how you do with the youth. You will be in the presence of extraordinary acts of courage as you connect with these young people. Embrace all the moments.