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August 2018 Newsletter


August 2018

“There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.” ― Mandy Hale

Employee of the Month

Hanrahan Youth Services would like to acknowledge Erin Hurley as Employee of the Month.

Erin has been employed in an administrative role with Hanrahan Youth Services since 2008. Erin continuously demonstrates hard work, organization, and dedication to everything she does at HYS. She not only pushes herself in regards to her work, but pushes others within HYS to be better and work to their best ability. Erin is the backbone of HYS, and continues to keep up with the hustle and bustle that comes everyday at HYS with a positive and friendly attitude. Erin has built great relationships not only with HYS employees but also with many individuals from varieties of CAS'. She is very welcoming, greeting everyone with a warm smile and a helping hand to whoever is in need.

HYS would not be the same without her!!

Great Job Erin, Keep up the good work!


Wonderland Passes are available! Contact Head Office and get yours!

Members of the OACYC can log-in and access the journal at:

The New School Year is sneaking in and we should be on top of all plans for our youth!

Make sure to contact and get anything needed for school registration for youth from their workers! The deadline is around end of August.

The Youth should be taken out to get new clothing for the new school year, please discuss with workers. School supplies should also be purchased for the beginning of school.

HYS would like to involve you in ‘Webinar Wednesday’s’ Paul will be sending out a Webinar each week for staff and Foster Parents to take part in. A $25.00 gift card will be given out weekly as incentive for the most detailed feedback/observations/commentary to the Webinar series.

For the Year 2018, we would like to update our Hanrahan Family board, take an updated photo of the youths and send it to Taylors email or bring it by head office!

August Special Days

Civic/Provincial Day- August 6th 2018

On the first Monday in August and, in some places, throughout the first week of August, various events are held to celebrate aspects of local culture, history and achievement. Many celebrations are low-key and are organized by community members. These include: making and distributing birthday cakes for the province; sports events; and communal meals, such as breakfasts, barbecues, lunches and suppers. Larger events include professional displays of fireworks, road races and cultural festivals.

Rollercoaster Day- August 16th, 2018

Rollercoaster Day is celebrated annually on the 16th August. The origins of the celebration are not completely clear, however, the most widely believed explanation for Rollercoaster Day is that the date was chosen to mark the 16th August, 1898, which was when the very first patent for a rollercoaster ride was issued. The date has been marked by fairgrounds and fans of rollercoasters all over the world since the eighties.

Women’s Equality Day- August 26th 2018

Women’s Equality Day commemorates 26th August 1920 when votes to women officially became part of the US constitution. This day marks a turning point in the history of the struggle for equal treatment of women and women’s rights.

In 1920, the day stood for the result of 72 years of campaigning by a huge civil rights movement for women. Prior to movements like these, even respected thinkers such as Rousseau and Kant believed that woman’s inferior status in society was completely logical and reasonable; women were ‘beautiful’ and ‘not fit for serious employment’.

August Events

Friday Night Live

Every Friday Night

1 Theatre Lane, Brampton

Date: Fridays, July 6 – August 31 Time: 8PM Opener

These artists are the ones to look out for! Watch Garden Square come to life with free weekly concerts, from some of the music industry's biggest names. Featuring a range of jazz, rock, hip-hop, indie, and rap.

Reel Youth Homelessness Project

1 Theatre Lane, Brampton Square

August 13th, 2018


We're redefining the stories of Brampton. Come out to see local digital media artists showcase their work on the big screen. Featuring short and full films, YouTube stars, music videos, and more!

Scarborough Rib Fest

August 3, 2018- August 6, 2018

Thomson Memorial Park, 1005 Brimley Road, Scarborough

Staring 11 AM Everyday

Enjoy delicious ribs, hot dogs, french fries, corn on the cob and more…Midway rides, and skill testing games, Karaoke competition everyday, Creative designs by crafters and vendors, All day beer garden.

Toronto Food Truck Festival

August 3-August 6, 2018

12:00 pm- 10:00 pm

Woodbine Park

Come Join Us at Woodbine Park for great food! Live music! Eating Challenges! Delicious local farm fresh food from more than 50 food truks at one of Canada’s premier Food Truck Festivals.

Annual Toronto International Youth Dance Festival

August 3-4th 2018

Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto

We are a youth-oriented dance festival, featuring dance schools local and international. We want to showcase the variety in dance.

Toronto Blue Jays Games

August 2018

The Toronto Blue Jays have many home games in the month of June. Email Head Office for availability on blue jays tickets and attend a fun day at the ball game!

As Summer break is coming to an end…

It is a fantastic time for everyone to reconnect and unplug together. Make an 'unplug pact' and see if you can all take a break from all electronics together at least once a day. Kids need to break away from the computer/electronics during the summer and to participate in other activities.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

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”.

Drive-In Theatre

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:

Day Trips

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 house hold 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.

Game Night

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 everyone at your local park/court.

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.

There are some special chores that need to be done seasonally like cleaning patios and windows. We ignore them for most of the fall and winter, but now it is time to get these things clean. Even though these chores only need to be done once or twice a year, they will help the home look better.

If you need to use the HYS pick-up truck to do garbage-runs, please contact Erin Hurley at head office to book it. We strongly advise that this gets done over the next month or two to prepare for the warmer months

Summer Employment

With the warmer weather slowing approaching, it is time for our foster parents and group home staff to find ways to motivate our youth to use their summer holidays as constructively as possible. If appropriate, and if outlined in our youths’ plans of care, then employment should be an obvious option. Although the summer may seem a long way off, opportunities for summer employment are already in play. One excellent source of information is the website. Another local agency is Job Skills in Brampton which can be accessed at Services available include resume and interview success workshops. Summer job placements begin earlier than you make think, so now is the time to begin researching what’s out there.

Use of Bikes

Children will be out on their bicycles and looking to take them to school. Please remind your youth that cyclists are governed by the same rules as drivers, and review safe cycling procedures at home. Be certain that the bicycle is “road worthy” and that they are able to ride it in a safe manner. They should the serial number of their bicycles and make sure they LOCK them in the racks at school to prevent loss. Don’t forget that helmets are a must!

Brain Teaser

Just for fun, try to solve the following brain teasers. The answers will be at the bottom of the newsletter. Good luck!

1. have forests but no trees. I have lakes but no water. I have roads but no cars.

What Am I?

2. I have six faces and twenty-one eyes, yet I can not see. What am I?

3. The person who makes it, sells it. The person who buys it, doesn't use it. The person who uses it, doesn't know he is using it. What is it?


4 Things to know about a Teens Brain

As your teen’s brain undergoes these changes, here are four key things you should know.

Your teen may take risks.

At the same time that your teen’s frontal lobes are developing, the limbic system in his brain is still very active. This area is responsible for immediate reactions to threat, and so controls anxiety, fear and aggression. These areas also are involved in assessing risks and rewards, which might make your teen more likely to engage in questionable, even dangerous, behavior. The thoughtful, frontal lobes are not yet fully developed, so your teen may experience sudden mood swings and impulsive behavior, which can lead to accidents, fights and other dangerous activities.

Your teen may be prone to anxiety and depression.

Adolescents experience heightened stress-induced hormonal responses. Many areas of the brain are affected by these hormones. As a result, your teen is more likely to experience feelings of anxiety and depression when stressed. Risk factors for anxiety and depression can include academic pressure, overscheduling, bullying and family conflict. Additionally, expectations for teens have skyrocketed. These pressures — including often-unrealistic academic, social and parental expectations — could further contribute to teen depression.

FOMO is a real thing.

In a nod to the digital age, FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing. However, it’s not about tropical vacations or fine dining — it’s about connection. In a study published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, individuals who felt social exclusion showed increased activity in regions of the brain associated with pain. Teenagers place a high premium on social acceptance and are especially vulnerable to this type of pain. This could explain why they constantly check their social media accounts or, more dangerously, check for messages while driving.

Teens are vulnerable to addiction.

With poorly developed coping skills, poor decision-making, poor inhibition and a desire for social acceptance, teens might turn to alcohol, prescription pills or drugs to cope. These substances can ignite “reward” chemicals in the brain, creating artificial signals of pleasure. This creates the instant gratification that they are seeking. Therefore, it’s important to talk to your teen about the consequences of alcohol and drug use, and promote healthier outlets like exercise or journaling.

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.

Rec Night!

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.


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.

Brain Teasers answers:

1. A Map

2. Dice

3. Coffin

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