June 2016

The Canadian Safe School Network would like to give honourable mention to the following Safe Schools Story Book Contest submission.  Here is a beautiful story by Alex of Highland Creek P.S. Alex’s story about the importance of kindness teaches a lesson we can all learn from.  Thanks for sharing Alex! Keep up the great work!

The Commitment of Kindness

By Alex

DRINGGGG! The bell rang as Kai ran hastily towards his mother holding his teddy bear by the arm. Suddenly, he tripped on a crack and started to tumble. The bear flew out of Kai’s arm and into a puddle in front of him. Kai got up and retrieved his worn out teddy bear and started to walk towards his mother with a frown. “Are you okay, honey?” asked his mother as she took a glance at the teddy bear. “The teddy bear I’ve had for all my life just fell into a puddle and got ruined,” Kai muttered. “It’s okay, I’ll get you a new one,” his mother replied. They headed off to the teddy bear store. Kai still holding his teddy by the arm, he entered the store. “Welcome to Teddy Bear Land, my name is Tina and if you’re looking for anything specific or have any questions, feel free to ask,” said the young lady. “Sure,” his mother replied. “This bear can be customized to your liking and you can interact with it through an app on your smartphone,” said the lady. Kai snatched the bear off the shelf and asked his mother if he could get it. “This one is a bit pricey, how about we keep looking…” his mother replied. Strolling down the aisle they came across another bear that looked exactly like the one Kai had just grabbed, yet cheaper. “This one, I love this one, it’s perfect,” said Kai. Leaving the store with the teddy bear, all Kai could do was smile.

He bolted towards his room with the biggest smile on his face as he set the bear on his bed to change. Then suddenly a note appeared in the bear’s hand. Kai removed the note and read it, “In order to keep me you must perform one act of kindness a day for the next 7 years. If you are not able to complete this mission, I will disappear and you will never see me again, but if you choose to perform more than one act of kindness per day you will be granted a wish in the near future.” Kai looked frightened and knew if he didn’t start now, he would never see the bear again. He started by helping his mother with the dishes. Kai was an overachiever so he didn’t stop there. He then went out and shoveled the snow, not only his but also the neighbors next to him and their driveways were twice the size of his. Kai wasn’t tired yet so he kept on shoveling and shoveling, until eventually he shoveled all of the driveways on his street. He was so exhausted that he could barely walk back home, when he arrived at his door steps he noticed that the sun had already gone down and it was time for Kai to call it a day.

The boy continued this routine for the next 7 years and has never stopped smiling since. But the boy was no longer a boy any more. He was now 15 years old. It was a warm summer day as Kai got out of his bed and noticed that his bear had disappeared. He ran rapidly down the stairs looking everywhere, but had no luck. Then he made his way towards his parents’ room hoping that they had misplaced his teddy bear. Making his way towards his parents’ room he noticed a bright light coming out of his room that made him squint. He was so amazed and wanted to check it out. Approaching the door Kai noticed that the light seemed to dim down, so he raced into his room thinking that it was just the light shining through his window but it wasn’t. It was an oval shaped hole in the wall that looked like a portal. The hole started to get brighter and smaller. Thinking that it was all a dream, Kai started to slap himself until his bear and a girl that looked very familiar jumped out of the portal and grabbed Kai by the arm. It struck him, that the girl was the one from Teddy Bear Land who greeted him and his mom when they went to the store 7 years ago. “Are you the lady from Teddy Bear Land?” asked Kai with a questioning look. “Don’t worry about that right now, we must leave, follow me,” said the still young lady. “Wait where are you guys taking me?” Kai questioned. “You were one of the few people who managed to complete the mission and the bear has been monitoring you since the day you got him. No more questions. We must leave now or else we’re going to be late,” she replied. Grabbing Kai by the arm, they jumped into the portal. Kai was astonished. In front of him was an enormous city floating on a cloud that seemed like the futuristic version of New York City. It was filled with activities all around, and they headed towards the futuristic Empire State building. Looking all around Kai saw a gigantic billboard that read, “Welcome our hero!” with a picture of Kai on it. Kai though he was famous here. He was more than famous, he was a hero. The acts of kindness that Kai had been performing for the past 7 years has been powering their world. “No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted.”-Aesop

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Last Thursday, June 2, CSSN visited Mountain View Academy in Calgary Alberta to ask their grade 10 and 11 students for some help.

The Safe Schools Hackathon program uses a ground up approach to learn about social media and cyberbullying directly from those who know it best; students. The Hackathon program engages students in a discussion about cyberbullying, encouraging them to share their own insights based on what they’ve witnessed or experienced online.

We then invited students to pull out their phones. Although Mountain View Academy has a ‘no phones in class’ rule, we got an exemption for this unique learning opportunity. Students took a different look at the apps they used most, noticing commonly used features such as menus, buttons and icons. The program outlined the initial stages of app design and taught students how to develop wireframes and storyboards.  Teams of students were then given time to conceptualize their own apps that could help put an end to cyberbullying. At the end of the session 4 clever concepts were presented.

Each idea suggested offered educational tools and ways of coping with online bullying. A vote was had to determine the winning team, and we are proud to congratulate Emily, Taylor and Suweyda on their winning concept!

The curriculum for the Hackathon program was put together by safe school experts at CSSN and the team at Lighthouse Labs who provided valuable input on app design.

Over the summer CSSN will continue to develop the Safe Schools Hackathon program with the goal of visiting more cities across Canada next fall!

For more information on cyberbullying check out our resource:


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In high school, the month of June means many things. Although summer is around the corner, this is one of the most stressful time periods for students and educators alike. Exams, projects, university applications, all pile up. It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth (12 – 19) are affected by a mental illness or disorder. This includes anxiety, stress, and depression. The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million. The Canadian Safe School Network and YYoga want to encourage high school teachers and students to relax, breathe and restore their mental health during a month long wellness campaign.

Presenting: Crunch time!

For the month of June we’ve created tools to help students de-stress, stay focused, and engage in practices that enhance wellness. The Crunch Time Campaign includes a comprehensive educational resource (in print and online), a series of ‘how-to’ yoga videos, discounts at Yyoga studios, and crunch time yoga events specifically for educators!

The Resource

Yoga in particular is an invaluable wellness practice. Yoga offers extraordinary benefits to both mind and body and can lead to a healthier, more balanced life.  Because of its tremendous value and connection to various aspects of our lives, yoga is woven into each of the 6 main focus areas that comprise the Crunch Time resource.

1. Stress & Burn-out: Learn about how stress affects your body and tips for managing stressful situations.

2. Time Management: Determine what your biggest time wasters are, and set goals to stay on task.

3. Exercise: You know it’s good for your body, but what else can exercise do for you? Find out more.

4. Nutrition: As the old saying goes, ‘You are what you eat’.  Learn about which foods can help you to become a more focused and stress-free student.

5. Sleep: Here are some reasons you should be getting more of it, and tips for catching more Zz’s.

6. Mindfulness: What is it, and how can it change your brain? We’ll fill you in on the importance of the present moment and ways to practice getting there.

Each focus area provides explanations, key definitions, fun facts, tips, and points for reflection. Also included are insights into the advantages of yoga as well as short videos to teach you postures and poses that will help guide your practice.

The Promotions

Drop by any YYoga location and menion ‘Crunch Time’ to receive the following fantastic discounts:

Intro discount – YYoga Introductory offer of 30 days for $40.

Educator discount – 15% off of our 5 class pass, 10 class pass and annual pass

YYoga Student offer –  $99/month pass for unlimited access to all of our YYoga facilities. (Regular monthly cost for a membership is $120/month)

The Events

Stay tuned throughout the month of June as we announce events happening at YYoga studios in Toronto and Vancouver specifically for educators. Based on the Crunch Time Resource, we will present yoga classes featuring poses and techniques related to time management, stress & burn out, sleep, nutrition, and mindfulness, as well as tips on  applying yoga and breathing to the classroom setting. We will be announcing details for these summer events soon!

This month, don’t let Crunch Time get you down. Let the Canadian Safe School Network and YYoga help you feel great and perform your best!


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