December 2017 Newsletter
“Never underestimate the valuable and important difference you make in every life you touch for the impact you make today has a powerful rippling effect on every tomorrow.” Leon Brown
Employee of the Month
Hanrahan Youth Services would like to acknowledge Faye Ford as Foster Parent of the month.
Faye is a foster parent that consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty. As she supports two young women who are not able to verbalize their wants and needs, Faye works incredibly hard to ensure that her program offers support, care, and advocacy in all areas of their lives. The care that Faye offers can be seen in her immaculately clean home, in the fresh home-cooked meals she prepares daily, in the way that she advocates for both young women during all programming meetings and medical appointments, and the therapeutic rapport that she has uniquely and intentionally built. The list of examples goes on and on. Despite the mental, physical, and emotional work that it takes to provide care to two young women with complex care needs, Faye constantly provides positive energy with everyone that she interacts with. It is for these reasons, and so many more, that Faye is being acknowledged as the Foster Parent of the Month.
Congratulations Faye! Keep up the good work.
Great Job to our staff; Gamin, Philmore, Vanessa, Jeff, Raven, Natasha, Richard, Taylor and Matt who attended and are now certified for Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) - Certified Tier 1 Training.
December Special Days
December 3rd 2017- Disability Day
Disability Day, or the International Day of People with Disability, is a day that has been promoted by the United Nations since 1992. The aim of Disability Day is to encourage a better understanding of people affected by a disability, together with helping to make people more aware of the rights, dignity and welfare of disabled people, as well as raise awareness about the benefits of integrating disabled persons into every aspect of life, from economic, to political, to social and cultural. Disability Day is not concerned exclusively with either mental or physical disabilities, but rather encompasses all known disabilities, from Autism to Down Syndrome to Multiple Sclerosis.
To read more visit: https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/disability-day/
December 10th 2017- Human Rights Day
Every so often a thing comes to pass that is of such astounding importance that we must stand up and recognize it. We must place this thing on the pedestal it deserves, and ensure that the precepts and policies put in place by it are adhered to, appreciated, and spread as far as the human voice will carry. Such is the sort of message sent by Human Rights Day.
How to Celebrate Human Rights Day The first and foremost way to celebrate Human Rights Day is to take some time to appreciate the effect that this resolution has had on your world and life. Look around your neighborhood and see the effects on a local scale, the charitable works being done to promote the health and well-being of those who are less fortunate.
December 12th 2017- Gingerbread House Day
To celebrate Gingerbread House Day, take friends/family out for a shopping trip and pick up the supplies necessary to make a gingerbread house. Then pick out the decorations that everyone wants to add to the gingerbread house. Finally, pick out the final decorations that you want and add them to the house.
The Toronto Christmas Market
Distillery Historic District
November 16th-December 23rd
Closed on Mondays, Free on Weekdays
$6 on Weekends
Evergreen’s Winter Village
Evergreen Brick Works
Saturday, December 2, 2017 and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekend in December (including December 24 and 31, 2017), plus weekdays from December 26 to 29, 2017
425 Main Street, Brampton
Friday December 15th
2:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Come on in for a FREE photo with Santa- families of ANY size. You will walk away with your pictures on an SD card. There is no cost to you, however, you MUST bring one of the following:
1) Non-perishable food item(s)
2) New child's toy
3) Small cash donation
Pop-Up Caribbean Christmas Market
Taste the Caribbean. Shop the Caribbean. Discover the Caribbean. Get last minute Christmas gifts as well as products you'll enjoy all year long. Dig into Caribbean Rum Cake...and take part in our Treasure Hunt. PLUS win door prizes.
Free Admission. Everyone Welcome.
Sat, December 16th
1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Ralph Thornton Community Centre
765 Queen Street East
Toronto, Ontario M4M 1H3
The Cold Weather is Here!
The cold is not something to look forward to…But these fun activities in the winter are!
Go Skating There are plenty of indoor and outdoor facilities for skating in the GTA, including some really fun outdoor spots: skate under the lights at Nathan Phillips Square's famous outdoor ice rink; the Natrel Rink at Harbourfront is one of Toronto's favourite outdoor rink for lacing up; Cedarena in Markham is a 75 year old outdoor rink in the Rouge Valley surrounded by trees; Gage Parks beautiful lights and outdoor rink are something to see; Chinguacousy Skate Trail; or try Mel Lastman Square Skating in North York. Prefer to skate where it's warm? Toronto4Kids has a complete listing of Indoor Arenas in the Greater Toronto Area and other great spots for skating.
Build a Snowman Dress your snowman in an old Halloween costume or used clothing. Use drops of food coloring to make colorful streaks through the snowman. Have contests to see who can make their snowman look the best.
Tobogganing Sliding downhill is an exhilarating activity! You can use sleds, tobogganing carpets, or toboggans. Scout out a good, safe hill to conquer with that toboggan you've been storing in the garage!
Go on a Winter Hike
Go outside and get some physical activity while bundled up! Go on a nice hike in a park or in the woods and take pictures, and spot animal tracks.
*Not many of us are actually looking forward to the weather getting colder but we have to be well-prepared for the coming winter, we advise you prepare for winter by buying extra non-perishable groceries, appropriate winter clothing, bags of salt, shovels and other important items.
*We also want to advise our foster parents and staff to be watching the news regularly for any updates from Environment Canada regarding weather. It is important that we are well prepared for the winter! In addition to this, please ensure your residents have the appropriate winter clothing attire such as snow boots, winter coats, mittens, hats and scarves.
Before the snow starts to really fall, make sure to rake the leaves up as they kill the grass. Also a reminder for foster parents and managers to take a walk around their homes to ensure everything is properly insulated for the winter. Everyone needs to make sure that shovelling and salting is done on a regular basis for safety issues.
Christmas time is upon us, and it’s time to get holly and jolly! We want to make sure that every home will have a Christmas tree and decorations, as making everyone feel at home and in the Christmas spirit! Alongside with having decorations, a full Christmas dinner with all residents needs to be planned and made. This should be planned before the any of the youth leave for home visits.
Find out what the youths would like, purchase the gifts, wrap them and if they are going on a home visit, the gifts are to be sent home with them and opened on Christmas.
If planning home visits make sure planned well in advance, to make sure all plans go over smoothly.
Just for fun, try to solve the following brain teasers. The answers will be at the bottom of the newsletter. Good luck!
1. # # # # # # # # # #
2. How can you make seven even?
3. A father is four times as old as his son. In twenty years, he'll be twice as old. How old are they now?
4. What can run but never walks, has a mouth but never speaks, has a head but never weeps, and has a bed but never sleeps?
DID YOU KNOW?...
Social Media may be broadening the way we communicate but is rather harmful for teens.
While social networking undoubtedly plays a vital role in broadening social connections and learning technical skills, its risks cannot be overlooked. The lack or difficulty in self-regulation and susceptibility to peer pressure makes adolescents vulnerable to such evils as Facebook depression, sexting, and cyberbullying, which are realistic threats. Other problems such as social network-induced obesity, Internet addiction and sleep deprivation are issues that continue to be under intense scrutiny for the contradictory results that have been obtained in various studies.
The American Psychological Association defines bullying as aggressive behavior by an individual that causes discomfort to another. Cyberbullying ranges from direct threatening and unpleasant emails to anonymous activities such as trolling. 32 percent of online teens admit to having experienced a range of menacing online advances from others. While direct unpleasant emails or messages are the most straightforward form of cyberbullying, they are probably the least prevalent in that only 13 percent of surveyed youngsters admitted to receiving threatening or aggressive messages. Even forwarding a private note to a group without permission from the sender is often perceived as cyberbullying; Pew research found that 15 percent of teens were disturbed and uncomfortable about having had their private message forwarded or posted in a public forum. Pew also found that nearly 39 percent of teens on social network have been cyberbullied in some way, compared with 22 percent of online teens who do not use social networks. Trolling, the act of deliberately inflicting hatred, bigotry, racism, misogyny, or just simple bickering between people, often anonymously, is also pervasive in social network. If you thought Trolls lived under bridge, 28 percent of America lives there, it seems.
A very important cause for cyberbullying is the anonymity possible on the Internet. According to Stopbullying.gov, two kinds of people are likely to be cyberbullies — the popular ones and those on the fringes of society; the former resort to such activities to stay popular or to feel powerful, while the latter troll to fit into a society or to get back at a society that excludes them. The National Council on Crime Prevention found from a survey that about three out of four victims of cyberbullying eventually trace the identity of the cyberbully, and so the anonymity may not be as safe a net as the bully believes. The cyberbully is often a friend (if they can be called that without insulting the word or sentiment), or someone they know from school or outside. Only 23 percent of the victims reported to have been bullied by someone they don’t know.
Cyberbullying appears easy to the bully because they do not see their victims’ reactions in person, and thus the impact of the consequences is small. In reality, however, the consequences can be life altering to the extent that the victims could go as far as taking their lives or become psychologically distressed enough to require medical intervention. The ironically individualistic nature of social networking activities makes it difficult to recognize a victim of cyberbullying, but tell-tale signs include avoiding or being anxious around the computer or cell phone and sudden change in behavior patterns.
Sexting, the action of sending sexually revealing pictures of themselves or sexually explicit messages to another individual or group, is another common activity among the teen community in social media. A nationwide survey by the National Campaign to Support Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found a shocking 20 percent of teens participating in sexting. While teenage boys resort to sending sexually explicit or suggestive messages, teenage girls are more likely to send inappropriate photos of themselves, mostly to their boyfriends. However, the permanence and pervasiveness of the internet makes it a fertile ground for spreading such information to the extent of getting viral — 17 percent of sexters admittedly share the messages they receive with others, and 55 percent of those share them with more than one person. Beyond the personal trauma and humiliation sexting may cause, there are judicial ramifications as well; some states consider such activities as misdemeanors while many group sexting under felony.
“Facebook depression,” defined as emotional disturbance that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, is now a very real malady. Recent studies have shown that comparisons are the main cause of Facebook depression; the study showed that down-comparison (comparing with inferiors) was just as likely to cause depression as up-comparison (comparing with people better than oneself). However, there are contradictory reports as well. Another study showed that Facebook makes us happier and increased social trust and engagement among users. Given that our brains are wired to connect, it seems logical to expect that social networks, by enabling sharing, could cause a self-reinforcing sense of psychological satisfaction. These studies show that the effect of social network on well-being hinges on how social networks are used — whether to connect or to compare.
Other risks of extensive social networking among youth are loss of privacy, sharing too much information, and disconnect from reality. The digital footprint is a permanent trail that users of social media, indeed of the Internet itself, leave the moment they sign into any service. The digital footprint, by its permanence, can have serious repercussions in future, in both professional and personal areas of life. It is important to know that every activity online — posts on social media accounts, comments left on various sites, tweets, retweets and +1s through years can contribute to the digital footprint. Another serious risk is the amount of information shared on social network sites. LexisNexis and Lawers.com surveyed 1,000 Americans and found that half of them divulged too much personal data online. What is more worrying is the fact that 44 percent of them believed that the information they posted on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn or MySpace were being used against them.
Adolescence is the time to spread wings and take the tentative first flight out into the world, and parents and caregivers must be part of the process. In the domain of social networking, this entails parents becoming educated about the advantages and disadvantages of social networking and themselves joining social network sites, not to hover, but to be aware of the activities of their teenage wards. It is essential that parents are aware of and monitor privacy settings and online profiles of their wards. Open discussions about social network protocols and etiquettes would go a long way in establishing global digital citizenship and healthy behavior.
Duty to Report
Please remember that we all have a duty to report abuse or suspected abuse of a child. The Child and Family Services Act is clear on the civic responsibilities of ordinary citizens and their duty to report any concerns of abuse and neglect to Children’s Aid Societies, but there is a special responsibility on the part of professionals who work with children. It's important for all of us to increase our awareness about child abuse and neglect, to learn the signs and some of the underlying causes. Too many children lack the nurturing family and community supports essential for them to thrive and succeed. This has resulted in too many families coping with stressors and challenges affecting their ability to provide a safe, secure home for their children. (“Help Stop Abuse & Neglect”)
Please be sure to revisit the Duty to Report section of the Policy and Procedure Manual should you have questions regarding reporting procedures.
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:
1) People are recognized as having potential, unique strengths and abilities, and have the capacity to continue to learn, grow, and change.
2) The focus of intervention is on the strengths and aspirations of the people we work with.
3) The language we use creates our reality – for the care providers, as well as children, youth, and families.
4) Communities and social environments are seen as being full of resources.
5) Service providers collaborate with the people they work with, and the client’s perspective of reality is primary.
6) Interventions are based on self-determination.
7) Change is inevitable.
8) 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.
We would like to continue to remind our staff and foster parents of the importance of ongoing training which can be used to assist you when dealing with the youth in our care. Hanrahan Youth Services is always willing to consider funding the many different sessions/webinars offered throughout the GTA and online that would be considered useful in working with our clients. We actually encourage all of you to make it a priority and take advantage of this opportunity to expand your professional development.
Should you be interested in doing so, please contact your resource worker or program coordinator with the details of the specific session you are looking to attend.
We have just recently registered a number of our staff and foster parents for workshops on:
· Motivating Change – Strategies for Approaching Resistance
· Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder – Strategies for Supporting
· Sexual Assault and Abuse Training
· Addictions and Mental Illness – Working with Co-Occurring Disorders
Many of our staff and foster parents have attended different workshops offered through the Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute (CTRI) in the past. They provide a wide range of training opportunities and included in their upcoming events are:
· Working in Social Services – The Essential Skills
· Violence Threat Assessment – Planning and Response
· Self-Injury Behaviour in Youth – Issues & Strategies
· Crisis Response Planning
· De-escalating Potentially Violent Situations
· Anxiety – Practical Intervention Strategies
· Challenging Behaviours in Youth – Strategies for Intervention
For a complete list and descriptions of their upcoming workshops, you can visit:
* Be sure to select the Toronto or Mississauga local listings.
Please note that approved training is not limited to CTRI, these are just some examples of ones that we regularly take advantage of. We are always open to anything new that comes up. If you come across something different that you think would be worth exploring for our staff and foster parents, please send the information to the management team.
Our mandatory annual trainings, including UMAB and First Aid & CPR, will continue as per the usual schedules throughout the year. For upcoming sessions, please contact the head office.
Foster Parent Time-Off and Scheduling Relief
We understand how hard it can be to work around the clock. We also know how important it is to take time off whether it be for running errands, taking a break, visiting family and friends, or just taking care of business...we get it!
Hanrahan has a growing list of relief staff to utilize for the time you need, however, there is a process that needs to be followed in order to do so. It is essential that you communicate your request with your resource worker by submitting a TIME OFF REQUEST FORM. He or she will get this time approved, and then provide you with the relief staff list or book the relief for you. It is imperative that you keep them well informed of the time you take off, as well as ensure that your relief staff are documenting their hours and signing signature sheets when necessary.
Please note that any changes in dates or time need to first be approved by your resource worker.
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 Gamin Teague.
Brain Teasers answers:
1. 10 pounds over weight
2. take away the ‘S’
3. The father is 40 and the son is 10
4. a river