Team CSSN

SHE Leadership (Support Her Efforts)

On November 30th, Canadian Safe Schools conducted its very first SHE (support her efforts) Leadership event. What is the event all about? Well, when we were first planning SHE, we envisioned an event where SHEs could get inspired in order to focus on their inner attributes and validations above outer expectations and demands. However, by the end of the event we realized it was something bigger than that; SHE became a platform where youth were able to feel connected to one another, inspired, and motivated. SHE had become a nexus where all the girls, speakers, and teachers were able to celebrate their SHE hood. It was beautiful to see girls of all ages, backgrounds, and dispositions come together to find common experiences, and through that related to each other. We realized that by providing these girls a non-judgmental, trusting, and supporting space, they were able to unfold their hopes, experiences, believes, attitudes, goals, and beauties in front of everyone. Also, by doing so, they were able to feel more confident, inspired, and connected.final-poster-01

There are many contributing elements that made SHE what it was: our sponsors, TD, our supporters, M.A.C cosmetics and Panago Pizza, our wonderful speakers, and SHE Shares.

Our speakers were absolutely inspiring, raw, and, altogether, so phenomenal. They were successful women from diverse backgrounds and careers. Their broad diversity allowed every SHE to resonate with at least one speaker, if not all! Moreover, all the speakers gave a unique insight to SHE-hood by sharing their authentic experiences with the world. They touched topics related to confidence, love, goals, beauty, authenticity, patience, hard work, and believing in yourself. They were supportive role models and, all together, great human beings. If you wish to know more about our speakers please  click here

Lastly, according to the students, “SHE Shares” was the biggest hit of the day. SHE Shares was the part of the event where the kids could go up on stage and share an accomplishment. Something they overcame because they decided to be authentically themselves and believe in their own potential and self-worth. It resulted in tears, laughter, strength, connection, support, and encouragement. We saw a sort of resilience that we didn’t expect, we saw their strength, heard their stories, and got inspired. They showed how brave they were; they showed us the beauty of vulnerability, and most of all they showed us that they just need a space to express themselves, and once they have that, they will shine.

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What’s a parent to do when the hardships that we’re once restricted to the school yard such as bullying and name calling, come creeping into the house, scurry down the hall and are sitting next to your child on a screen while they try to do their homework?

The reality is, for most parents (and teachers), children are going to know more about smartphones and apps before you have a chance to learn how to pronounce them. This makes combatting issues like cyberbullying incredibly difficult.

In the last month, CSSN held the first two of our Bully Stop Hackathons, and we’re thrilled to say they were a great success!

The BullyStop Hackathon is a new Safe Schools initiative developed to help combat cyberbullying.

Bullying is one of the most prevalent and harmful issues facing youth today. Not only does bullying make children feel unsafe, but it puts their mental, social, and physical well-being at risk. With the rise of social media, the problem has only become more severe. Bullying, harassment and intimidation have become an inescapable, 24/7 problem for many Canadian children. The effects of bullying can be devastating and in the most severe of cases can lead to suicide.

Despite the issues, the reality is that communication technology has carved a lasting place in society. We live in digital times, and our capacity for online communication is only growing. In fact, computer coding is being introduced into provincial school curriculum and will likely continue to be integrated across the nation. As the space for online social networks continues to grow, more is needed to combat negative peer interactions and to promote safety, resilience, and positive mental health. We don’t believe that social technology is inherently the problem. In fact, we believe that it may be the solution.

 

This event, held in Vancouver and Toronto in Lighthouse Labs offices (and soon to be Calgary and Halifax) invited high school and university students to take part in a friendly competition to build mobile apps that can help put an end to cyberbullying.

The events saw students:

Discuss the issues and explore perspectives

– What are the problems and who is impacted?

Learn about app technology and development.

– Students learned about computer coding for iOS, how to storyboard their ideas, and how to develop a concept ready for market.

Collaborate and create ways to put a stop to cyberbullying.

-Students worked alongside safe school facilitators, law enforcement officials, and tech experts to brainstorm ideas for digital solutions.

-They competed in a creative competition to design iOS apps that could help eliminate cyberbullying.

-Teams pitched their ideas to the one another and to the adult experts.  The room voted on the winning app in each city!

We’ve heard excellent ideas all around! The events have allowed us to hear directly from youth on the most pertinent issues they face in the online world, which in turn allows us to develop solutions that are effective. We’re proud to have met and worked with such engaged and inspiring young individuals thus far, and can’t wait to hear more fantastic ideas as we head to Calgary and Halifax.

The program came to life with help from our generous sponsors Lighthouse Labs, and Telus WISE who seek to make the online world safer for everyone using it.

To check out CTV coverage of this event click here.

Stay tuned for more information on the BullyStop Hackathon as we look to develop a program that will bring the initiative to schools across the country! If you’d like to know more, get in touch!

 

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This past Tuesday, September 8th, 2015, The Canadian Safe School Network’s founder and president, Stu Auty, was interviewed by Stephen LeDrew on CP24. 

Stu outlined a variety of ways that CSSN helps in preventing school violence as well as raising awareness about anti-bullying such as our many educational conferences, direct help supported by TD Bank, and our website that has a variety of resources.

September 8th was also Back to School day which can be an exciting day for many kids but it can also be a day that kids dread if they have been bullied in the past. This is why it is important to raise awareness about cyber bullying as this is a huge issue in this technological day and age where what gets posted online is permanent.

Stu’s advice on cyber bullying was as follows:

  • Adults should take some time to learn about the internet and how it works since it is a technology that is changing rapidly.
  • Parents should look into who their kids are spending time with.
  • Kids who are being cyber bullied should try not to react directly to what is posted online, but rather tell someone in their life like their teacher or an adult they trust.

Check out the full interview here and if you need help with cyber-bullying, you can find resources here.

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Katie McCabe has returned to CSSN as our new Education and Development Coordinator.

Born in Nova Scotia, Katie completed her Bachelor of Science in psychology at Dalhousie University before heading to the opposite coast where she received her Bachelor of Education from UBC. Katie has worked and volunteered with children and youth in a variety of educational settings across Canada and the UK for over 10 years.

In her new role Katie is taking the lead on CSSN’s conferences, training and educational development. She is on the look out for engaging new speakers and trainers to take part in our conferences across the country. Katie strives to develop programming that focuses on what’s new and important in the realm of education, and finds creative ways of delivering this help to teachers everywhere. She’s currently developing new opportunities for CSSN, as we look at offering our conferences and workshops in more Canadian cities. If you’re interested in being part of the work we do, have a great idea for a conference, or have a workshop you’d like to share, get in touch with Katie!

Katie@canadiansafeschools.com

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