“Compliment People. Magnify their strengths, not their weaknesses.”
- Joyce Meyer
Employee of the Month
Hanrahan Youth Services is proud to announce that the Employees of the Month for June 2017 are the complete staff team from our Fernbank children's residence! The team consists of Residential Coordinator, Natasha James, who has been an employee of HYS since 2003, and both senior and new staff. The program is currently running very productively and efficiently which speaks to their efforts. The staff have proven to be very supportive to their residents and it can be seen in the success of the youth and in their cohesiveness within the program. They have worked hard to encourage and promote education and learning, they have put forth great effort in spending quality one-to-one time with the youth, and they have been consistently holding the youth accountable for their actions and rewarding them for their good behaviour. Most importantly, they have made making their residents feel at home, and genuinely cared for, a priority which is essential to making a difference.
Some items worth noting for the Fernbank residence this month include:
One of the youth obtaining all eight credits in school. As part of the HYS School Reward Program, he received a new bike.
All of the residents had a successful school year.
One of the youth graduated grade 8 and staff were there to support him.
That same youth participated in a track and field event and placed 1st in Shot Put, 2nd in Javelin, and 6th in the Discus Throw. Staff were there to cheer him on.
The staff hosted a successful end of school year BBQ at the home. Director, Brian Barron, attended and was more than pleased with the morale of both staff and residents.
Congratulations everyone! Keep up the good work.
Hanrahan Youth Services would like to welcome Hughroy Simms to his new role as Supervisor at our Budworth children's residence in Scarborough. Hughroy started out with HYS in 2002. Since then, he has worked off and on as a front-line worker, as a supervisor and most recently as a foster parent. After fostering for a combined total of 7 years, he has decided to retire from fostering and move back into the supervisory position. We look forward to having him apply his experience and commitment to the Budworth team and its residents. Hanrahan Youth Services would like to acknowledge Natalie Stephens for all of her hard work in fostering our female clients at the Jayfield residence over the past few years. Natalie has been with HYS since 2014. She has always cared very deeply for the young ladies who she fostered and has displayed great passion in helping them to succeed, no matter how difficult and demanding the role became. Although she has decided to move on from fostering, Natalie is excited to continue to assist our youth by providing the foster parents with relief/support on an ongoing basis. Thank you Natalie for all of your efforts!
We would also like to send a shout out to the Geneva staff as we had received a very pleasant email from the parent of a recently discharged resident. The mother had nothing but good things to say, including that her son actually misses the staff team, and that when he talks about his experience with us it makes her think that more places like HYS are needed. She said that the staff helped him to feel independent and come out of his shell, and he is now at a place where he has routines and has learned the importance of his education. Keep up the good work Geneva!
World Population Day – July 11
World Population Day is an annual event, observed on July 11 every year. The event was inspired by July 11, 1987, the approximate date of which the world's population reached five billion people, and was established in 1989.
World Population Day aims at increasing people's awareness on various population issues, including their relations to the environment and development, family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights.
The world population increases by approximately 100 million every 14 months and reached 7,500,000,000 in 2017.
(‘World Population 11 July’)
World Nature Conservation Day – July 28
Celebrated on July 28 each year, World Nature Conservation Day recognizes that a healthy environment is the foundation for a stable and productive society and to ensure the well-being of present and future generations, we all must participate to protect, conserve, and sustainably manage our natural resources. We all depend on natural resources to live our daily lives. To keep the balance in the natural world, we must also help various species to continue to exist. Conservation of nature is very important, with scientists warning of mass extinctions in the near future. The natural world is facing an increasing threat from unsustainable practices and the challenge is how to preserve and conserve nature in the process of achieving sustainable development.
On this day, let us make a conscious effort to contribute to the local, national, and global efforts in conserving nature and the benefits they provide for the present and future generations. Do little things around home and throughout the day that can reduce pollution such as, conserve energy – remember to turn off lights, computers, and electric appliances when not in use, use energy efficient light bulbs and appliances, limit driving by carpooling, using public transportation, biking and walking, etc.
(‘World Nature Conservation Day’)
Toronto Caribbean Carnival – July 11 – August 6
The Toronto Caribbean Carnival began as an expression of the aspirations of the Caribbean community in Toronto. It is now the largest cultural festival in North America! Great food, arts and crafts, entertainment and fun. There will be event after event happening in and around the City of Toronto including celebrations of Canada 150 and the 50th anniversary of the festival.
Some events require you to purchase tickets and some events will be free. We encourage our foster parents and staff to research some of the appropriate events for our youth.
Two of the free events include:
The Official Launch of the annual festival which will take place on July 11 at Nathan Phillips Square. It is a cultural showcase and celebration of the creative spirit of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival.
Junior Carnival and Family Day will be taking place on July 22 in the Malvern community of Scarborough. You can join the young producers, performers, and presenters as they put their imprint on the festival. The Parade starts at 10:45 am with an official opening ceremony at the Malvern Community Centre. The parade will then travel west on McLevin Avenue, north on Neilson Road to Neilson Park where families are welcome to enjoy the Junior Carnival Showcase, kids crafts and games, food, music and the Junior Chef competition.
Visit: https://torontocaribbeancarnival.com/ for further details.
(‘Toronto Caribbean Festival’)
Carabram – July 14 – 16
Carabram is an annual multicultural festival that brings together cultures across Brampton through food, entertainment and education. The festival takes place annually on the second weekend of July and welcomes visitors from across the Greater Toronto Area.
Venues across Brampton are completely transformed to represent different cultures from around the world. Visitors to Carabram have the opportunity to experience these cultures through authentic cuisine, as well as traditional dance, music and entertainment. Each pavilion is also equipped with cultural displays and artifacts representative of each culture in order to provide visitors with the full experience.
The cultural lineup this year includes; Africa, Canada, Caribbean, China, Eelam, Hawaii, Ireland, India, Latin America, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, and Punjab. Pavilions are located throughout Brampton and details are available at http://carabram.org.
Purchase your ticket before July 14 and save! Tickets are $10 in advance, until July 14 at 11:59pm and then $12 from July 14 - 16. Children age 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult ticket holder. Your ticket gets you full access to all Carabram pavilions across Brampton on July 14, 15, 16.
Rib Fests throughout Ontario are in full swing! Attend a location close to home and enjoy BBQ ribs and chicken, as well as some other foods and desserts. There is also usually live entertainment provided featuring local artists.
Here are some upcoming dates:
Mississauga and Milton - July 13 - 16
Richmond Hill and Bolton - July 21 - 23
Ajax – July 28 - 30
Scarborough - August 4 – 7
Toronto - August 18 – September 4
For a full list of locations and dates, visit: http://www.todocanada.ca/ribfests-greater-toronto-area/
(‘35+ Rib Fests in and around Greater Toronto Area’)
Foster Parent Time-Off/Vacation
While we appreciate that many of you may be looking to take some time off to relax and enjoy the warmer weather, we want to remind you that there are a few important things to remember.
First, all time off requests are to be approved by your resource worker through the Directors.
Secondly, please make sure that your relief staff are in the know with all necessary details regarding your youth, their individual plans, any medications they may be taking, emergency plans, and worker contact information.
Should you plan on taking time away from the home, it is your responsibility to ensure the following:
the home is well stocked in terms of food
there is enough petty cash available to the relief staff for incidentals
that all resident prescriptions are filled and available to your relief staff for distribution
there are outings planned while you're away
It is also imperative that you are available to your relief staff/resource worker for any concerns or emergencies that may arise while you are away. If your time away will be spent in an area that will be out of range, make alternate arrangements through your resource worker for plans in case of emergency situations.
We want to remind staff and foster parents of the importance of providing our youth with the necessities for being outdoors during the summer heat. Even if the youth choose not to follow through with wearing them, sunscreen, insect repellent, hats, and the proper summer clothing need to be available to them and encouraged at all times. It is also vital to teach them the significance of staying hydrated while enjoying the outdoors.
If you have youth who are scheduled to be attending any type of summer camp, create a list for them and start preparing. Ask the camp organizers for a list of items that they may need to bring and be sure to send them with all of the necessities. You should inquire about transportation, as some camps require the youth to find their own way there and back, and provide them with some tuck money so that they are able to purchase some treats of their own while there.
If you have youth who would like to attend a camp, but haven’t yet registered, there are many places that still have spots available. Once you find one that has availability, speak to your resource worker. HYS is always happy to contribute to summer camps and quite often, CAS is also willing to help out.
Although most teens look forward to summer break, many of them grow bored by the second week of vacation. And sadly, many bored teens spend their summer vacations staring at their electronics, or even worse, get involved in some negative behaviours/situations when they have too much unsupervised time on their hands. Help prevent this from happening by putting a little thought into some fun summer activities.
There are many festivals and events that happen locally throughout the summer months which would most definitely be worth looking into, such as those listed above. There are also some relatively cheap options that could provide you with some quality time to be out bonding with your youth. Here are some ideas:
Write a Summertime Activity List Have each person write down activities they would like to do over the summer on index cards, draw one each day or every time they say "I'm bored”.
Have a retro night out with your youth by taking them to a drive-in theatre in your area to watch the newest releases on an extra-big screen. Just be sure to arrive early as they often reach capacity quickly, especially on weekends. Hit up your nearest dollar store for some of their favourite treats before heading out, and if you plan to go during a time when the mosquitoes aren’t too bad, you can even bring along some folding chairs so that you can enjoy watching your movies under the stars. Some theatres will have special nights where you can get cheaper carload rates. Here is a link to some local theatres: http://www.toronto4kids.com/July-2016/Catch-a-Flick-at-a-Drive-In-Movie-Theatre/
Plan a fun day trip for the youth in your home. You could go to Niagara Falls, Wasaga Beach, to the ROM, to Wonderland, a sporting event, or to one of the many attractions around the GTA. You could even go for a hike or bike ride through one of the many conservation areas around. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant/expensive, just something that you could all enjoy doing together.
Create a Family Challenge
Establish a weekly contest, something that everyone will want to compete in.
Set Up a Group Relay Race
Get your youth to invite some friends and come up with a prize for the winning team. You could set something up in your own backyard, around the block or in your nearest park. Some examples for relay stations are the egg and spoon race, balloon seat, baseball bat spin, water balloon toss, wheelbarrow relay, etc. Make it a full afternoon and bring along a picnic lunch for everyone and some music. You could even make this a weekly event where the same teams compete against each other and have a “grand prize” for the winners at the end of the summer.
Plan for a night in by ordering pizza and playing some board or card games. Make it a friendly competition by having a prize for the winner.
Have a Picnic Although many teens may look at this as a bit cheesy, there are ways to keep it more geared toward their age group. Plan a friendly, competitive game of their favourite common sport by bringing along the necessities like a Frisbee, basketball, soccer ball, or a bat and softball. You could set up a game of ‘capture the flag’ or your very own relay race. Another option is to bring some water guns or nerf guns for some added fun and don’t forget to bring some music!
Play Ball Organize a softball or basketball game with family and friends at your local park/court.
Camp Out You can choose to actually plan a full camping trip by organizing tents and meals and heading out to a campground, or you can hang out in your backyard and do traditional fun camping things like grilling hot dogs and telling ghost stories.
BBQ BBQ some ribs, burgers, sausages, s'mores or fresh fruits and veggies. Allow the residents to each invite a friend to make it more fun.
Spoon Up Some Ice Cream After a nice dinner, take a drive or go for a walk and stop by their favorite ice cream place. You could also try setting up a make-your-own sundae bar for dessert.
(‘11 Ways to Celebrate the First Day of Summer’)
Ontario Science Centre
Just a reminder that Kids Up Front is offering HYS access to the Ontario Science Centre. If you wish to book a group visit this summer, contact Erin Hurley at our head office 10 days in advance with the following information so that she can make arrangements:
Name of staff or foster parent who will be attending
Date of trip
Time of arrival
Number of youth ages 3 -12 (free)
Number of youth ages 13 -17 (free)
Number of adults over 18 ($2 extra)
Foster parent/staff cannot share reservation number with other guests and must make the payment on behalf of everyone at the check-in desk.
Full group must check into the OSC at the same time per reservation.
Numbers can be changed on day of the trip at check-in desk.
Monday to Friday - 10am to 4pm
Saturday - 10am to 8pm
Sunday and Holidays – 10am to5pm
Morning arrival: Group Desk (locker area near entrance of General Admission area)
Afternoon arrival: Membership Desk (located on your left as you enter main lobby)
$9 and can be purchased online, on the telephone ($3 service fee), or at the door.
Don’t forget that HYS is providing each youth with a day pass and staff/foster parents can attend to supervise under a complimentary support staff pass.
Things to remember:
The youth are NOT to attend unsupervised. It is in our contract that they be accompanied.
Should any youth wish to attend the park more than once, they can take their ticket to Guest Services and upgrade it to a Season Pass by paying the difference.
Staff/foster parents must attend Guest Services and notify them that you are attending as a ‘Support Staff’. You will need to present the tickets of your youth which will have Hanrahan Youth Services printed on them.
To get passes for your youth and to learn more about the support staff passes, please contact Erin Hurley at our head office.
ROM passes are also still being offered through Kids Up Front. Although there will be no hard copy passes distributed, we are able to attend by making reservations.
Should you be interested in attending with your youth, please contact Erin Hurley at the head office to make reservations. She will require the date and time in which you plan to visit, the name of the staff member/foster parent who will be attending and the number of attendees in total.
Please note that we do require two weeks’ notice.
Reminder of the Expectations of Lawn Maintenance
We want to remind all of our foster parents and staff that lawn maintenance - cutting grass regularly, trimming trees and bushes, weeding, watering plants, etc. is imperative and an expectation. At this point, gardens/flowers/plants should already have been planted or be hanging in and around the properties.
This is also a great life skill for our youth. Make it fun, or worth their while to help out by making it a paid chore. This is a good way to instil a sense of pride in the aesthetics and condition of their home. Please just ensure that they are taught how to properly and safely use a lawn mower and gardening tools prior to starting.
Should you require access to a lawn mower or funding for your outdoor projects or if you have any questions on ‘how to’s’, please contact your manager or resource worker.
Just for fun, try to solve the following brain teasers. The answers will be at the bottom of the newsletter. Good luck!
What number do you get when you multiply all of the numbers on a telephone’s number pad?
We hurt without moving, and poison without touching. We bear truth and lies, but we are not judged by size. What are we?
When are 1500 plus 20 and 1600 minus 40 the same thing?
There is a word, six letters it contains, and yet if you take one away, twelve is what remains. What is it?
What disappears the moment you say its name?
(“Riddles and Answers to Bend Your Brain”)
DID YOU KNOW?...
In recent years, both concerned parents and teens themselves have wondered about the television effect on teenagers. Some children find themselves being raised by a television and there are many studies analyzing how this can affect an adolescent when growing up. It is speculated that kids and teens watch nearly four to five hours of television a day. One of the biggest resulting problems is the presence of negative influences from television programs.
When children are very young, the television already begins to have an influence on their life. Modern generations have grown up on popular shows such as Sesame Street. While many of these shows are educational and beneficial to development, when children grow up to be teenagers, and step out of the educational television arena, that is when television potentially becomes a negative influence.
The negative influences of television can be found on many programs. Turn on the television and flip through the channels and there is a good chance that you may come across some of the following situations:
Violence, crime or fighting scenes
Explicit sex scenes or conversations about the topic
Alcohol, cigarette or drug use
People making bad decisions such as dating someone dangerous
Cursing or other verbal obscenities
Descriptions of stereotypical characters such as the girl who sleeps around with everyone or the bad boy
Unhealthy reflections of teen health and body image
Each of these situations can affect teenagers differently.
Sex on TV
There was a study completed which analyzed the link between teenage parenthood and found that teens who watched sexually explicit television (from simple shows that just talk about a character having sex to shows with soft sex scenes) were twice as likely as other teens, who had not watched much of these shows, to have a baby by age 16. The study's conclusion prompted that teens see sexually explicit content and assume that everyone is doing it so there are not any significant consequences to sex.
Drinking, TV and Teens
Many television shows portray drinking. While there are programs that show legal aged adults drinking, there are also many that show teens engaging in underage drinking. These shows often portray that drinking is the 'cool' thing to do. As a result, teens looking to fit in often turn to drinking. Studies also point to alcohol commercials making teens feel as if they'll instantly be happier if they drink.
Television Violence Impact on Teenagers
One of the largest shoes of television effect on teenagers is violence. With over 1,000 murders, rapes, assaults and armed robberies being viewed on television by youth each year, teens can have altered views of reality. When someone sees a lot of violence on television or in video games, it can desensitize someone to real life violence. It can cause people to see violence as something that only happens on television and feel almost immune to it happening to them. The integration of violence into most shows can even result in teens thinking violence is appropriate in many situations.
('TV Effect on Teenagers')
BBQ Season – Safety, Benefits and Maintenance
Grilling can be great for the whole family as it gets you outdoors. Try setting up some patio furniture nearby and have your youth join you outside. Bring out some lemonade, have a good chat, try tossing a frisbee or kicking a ball around.
Maybe teach your youth how to BBQ as a life-skill, just be sure to teach them safety while grilling and do not allow them to do so unsupervised.
Grilling also comes with added health benefits versus cooking on the stove or in an oven. Some of those benefits include:
You Eat Less Fat
When you grill, you eat less fat because the excess drips off the grates. Think about cooking a burger on the grill versus in a pan on your stove-top. On the grill, the fat cooks off. In a pan on the cooktop, the fat has nowhere to go, so it pools and is eventually re-absorbed by the meat.
Vegetables On The Grill Are Better For You Most people don’t realize that vegetables retain more of their vitamins and minerals when they’re grilled. This is especially true with veggies that have a low water content.
Plus, vegetables that you toss on the grill are usually fresh and in season, which are a step above the canned versions, Wrapping in tin foil or just placing on top of your grill, cooking your veggies in this manner is nutritionally advantageous than boiling or frying.
Meat Retains Nutrients
When you toss a slab of meat over the fire, it actually preserves more riboflavin and thiamine. Both of these nutrients play a vital role in a healthy diet, as well as have many health benefits associated with each of them.
You Use Less Butter
If you’re a master griller and not overcooking your food, you’ll have juicy cuts of meat and tasty veggies. Because the grill locks in more moisture, you’ll be less inclined to reach for the butter or other condiments to jazz up your food. Not only does that means you eat fewer calories, but you put less unhealthy stuff in your body.
Grilling Goes With Outside Activities
As mentioned above, this is a good time to have the family join in some outdoor fun while cooking.
For foster parents/group home staff who require access to a barbeque, please contact your resource worker/manager.
For those of you who already have one, it's important to show your grill a little tender love and care before you start grilling away.
Here are some tips:
Give it a good scrub With last year's remnants hanging on to your grill for dear life, it's due time to give it a good scrub with a strong bristle brush and some mild soap and warm water. If your grill is in bad shape and hasn't been replaced in a while, consider investing in a new one. Fixed-sized grills and expandable ones are easy to find at any hardware store. If you have cast iron cooking grids, be sure to season them will oil. The oil will help protect the porcelain coating, decrease sticking, and protect damaged or worn grids from rusting.
Maintain your grill Take apart as much of your barbecue as you can and give the inside (and outside) of your barbecue oven a good scrub, paying extra attention to those spots with lots of grease. For those really tough spots, use a strong degreaser. Note: Never use oven cleaner on your barbecue, as it's corrosive and will cause damage. Don’t forget to check your grease tray. Make sure it’s in place and has been cleaned out.
Look closely Take a close look at your burners to ensure there aren’t any holes. If you spot any, it's time for a replacement. Original replacement burners are available for most newer models, as are universal ones for an older barbecue. Also examine your venturi tubes to make sure they're clear, as spiders love to nestle in these over a barbecue's off season.
Last but not least Do an overall inspection of your barbecue. Look for leaks and cracks in your gas hose, and note the condition of your control knobs, thermometers and handles. Replacing any loose or broken parts is a great, cost-effective way to keep your grill in good shape and reduce minor annoyances.
(‘10 Healthy Tips & Benefits of Grilling’)
(‘4 Great Ways to Get Your Barbecue Ready for Grilling Season’)
Kids Up Front and Rec Night
Foster parents and staff have probably seen numerous emails sent from the head office regarding tickets being offered through an organization called Kids Up Front. The Kids Up Front Foundation is a charitable organization that provides access to arts, culture, sport and recreation for children and youth who don’t normally get the opportunity to experience them. They receive donations of tickets to various events and offer them to agencies such as HYS. We have been very fortunate to have come in contact with this wonderful organization and have received a substantial amount of tickets from them for our youth over the past few years. Through these generous donations, we regularly send our youth to see sports games (Leafs/Raptors/Marlies/Toronto Rock, etc.), concerts, plays, the ROM, etc. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to take advantage of some of these opportunities for your youth. We always hear wonderful feedback from the youth and staff/foster parents who attend. Please keep in mind that when you commit to tickets, it is imperative that you use them. If there is an emergency situation that prevents you from attending the event, you need to contact the head office ASAP so that we are able to make alternate arrangements for the tickets. As the tickets are donated, it is important to Kids Up Front that the tickets get used. Should it become a reoccurring issue where you request tickets and don’t use them, you may lose the privilege of receiving tickets.
Don’t forget about REC NIGHT which takes place every Wednesday at 8:00pm at Century Gardens in Brampton. This is a great opportunity to get out of the house and get your kids to be active and mingling with the Hanrahan family. It is open to all foster parents and staff. Take your youth to play some basketball, volleyball, or whatever indoor sport has been organized for that evening. Don’t miss out!
Should you have any questions regarding rec night, please don’t hesitate to contact Jeff McGregor.
Strength Based Perspective
The Basics of Strength-Based Approach
Working from a strength-based perspective is a collaborative approach, whereby the person being supported by services is an active participant in the process of problem-solving issues they are experiencing. This allows the opportunity for the individual’s voice to be heard, and for the individual to be engaged in the decisions that affect their life. This is a chance to empower the client, but to also foster skills of self-advocacy. There is a significant focus on the quality of the relationship between the individual receiving support, and those that are providing the support. The relationship must be one of trust and transparency, in order for there to be real success.
A strength-based approach focuses on the inherent strengths of individuals, what their skills and abilities are, rather than on their deficits or problems. This also means investigating what resources are available, and how they can be used to accomplish what is needed. Although the goal is to promote the positive, this does not mean denying that issues or problems are affecting the client. Instead, it means combating situations based on the abilities and resources that exist, and utilizing these things in the most effective ways possible. The problems and concerns are not the main focus of intervention – the individual is.
Family and community work models often focus on the problems identified with the individual – thus, the individual is the problem that must be fixed. However, strength-based perspective focuses on the problem often existing because of interactions between people, organizations and structures. Although issues exist, the individual only experiences the issue – the individual is not the issue.
The following are important principles of the strength-based perspective:
People are recognized as having potential, unique strengths and abilities, and have the capacity to continue to learn, grow, and change.
The focus of intervention is on the strengths and aspirations of the people we work with.
The language we use creates our reality – for the care providers, as well as children, youth, and families.
Communities and social environments are seen as being full of resources.
Service providers collaborate with the people they work with, and the client’s perspective of reality is primary.
Interventions are based on self-determination.
Change is inevitable.
There is a commitment to empowerment.
Problems are seen as the result of interactions between individuals, organizations or structures, rather than deficits within individuals, organizations or structures.
Brain Teaser Answers
In military time, both refer to 3:20.
The word “dozens”
Welcome to the United Nations Site, ‘World Population 11 July’, online:
Keep in Calendar Site, ‘World Nature Conservation Day’, online:
Peeks Toronto Caribbean Carnival 2017 Site, online:
Carabram Site, online:
To Do Canada, ‘35+ Rib Fests in and around Greater Toronto Area’, online:
Care.Com Site, ‘11 Ways to Celebrate the First Day of Summer’, online: https://www.care.com/c/stories/3332/11-ways-to-celebrate-the-first-day-of-summer/
Doriddles Site, ‘Riddles and Answers to Bend Your Brain’, online:
Love To Know Site, ‘TV Effect on Teenagers’, online
Living Direct Site, ‘10 Healthy Tips & Benefits of Grilling’, online:
Canadian Living Site, ‘4 Great Ways to Get Your Barbecue Ready for Grilling Season’, online: