February 2021 Newsletter
"We must open the doors and we must see to it they remain open, so that others can pass through."
— Rosemary Brown
HYS would like to thank all of our employees who are working during this difficult time making sure all youth and staff are safe and making sure that Hanrahan Youth Services runs smoothly and safely. Your work is recognized and truly appreciated. This pandemic is a world changing event, we are all going to remember where we were during this difficult time including the youth you are working with. Please recognize the important roles that you have and for that we want to send a sincere thank you.
As you are most likely aware, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an international public health emergency, and all Publicly Funded Ontario Schools are to be closed until May.
Foster parents, staff, and residents are encouraged to follow regular respiratory illness protocols and prevention strategies which include:
Wash/sanitize hands frequently as possible
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
Cough or sneeze into a tissues or sleeve rather than hands
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Stay home if you are ill
Consult Telehealth or your physician if you have any concerns
If you believe, or have been advised, that any caregiver, staff or child has been in contact or exposed to the COVID-19, please contact Bob or Brian right away, along with the resident’s worker/supervisor immediately to discuss the appropriate next steps.
In light of recent events with COVID-19 and the restrictions in place by businesses to limit interaction, Hanrahan Youth Services’ head office will be locked during business hours until further notice. Only administrative staff will be permitted on site during this time. Should you require any documents/cheques, etc. or to drop anything off, please contact Erin with enough time to prepare whatever it is that you require. The mailbox attached to the home will be utilized for dropping off and picking up items.
Congratulations to all our youth who have graduated this year!
Hanrahan Youth Services is proud to have donated to Black Lives Matter
There are many ways to donate in support of Black Lives Matter!
Please ensure all youth have all necessities for the cold winter-- winter coat, winter boots, gloves & hat
February is Black History Month
The Black History Month 2021 theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity”. The Black family has been a topic of study in many disciplines—history, literature, the visual arts and film studies, sociology, anthropology, and social policy. Its representation, identity, and diversityhave been reverenced, stereotyped, and vilified from the days of slavery to our own time. The black family knows no single location, since family reunions and genetic-ancestry searches testify to the spread of family members across states, nations, and continents. Not only are individual black families diasporic, but Africa and the diaspora itself have been long portrayed as the black family at large. While the role of the black family has been described by some as a microcosm of the entire race, its complexity as the “foundation” of African American life and history can be seen in numerous debates over how to represent its meaning and typicality from a historical perspective—as slave or free, as patriarchal or matriarchal/matrifocal, as single-headed or dual-headed household, as extended or nuclear, as fictive kin or blood lineage, as legal or common law, and as black or interracial, etc. Variation appears, as well, in discussions on the nature and impact of parenting, childhood, marriage, gender norms, sexuality, and incarceration. The family offers a rich tapestry of images for exploring the African American past and present. https://asalh.org/asalh-announces-2021-black-history-theme/
During Black History Month, Canadians celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians who, throughout history, have done so much to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate and prosperous nation it is today.
People of African descent have been a part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity since the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, a navigator and interpreter, whose presence in Canada dates back to the early 1600s.
The role of Blacks in Canada has not always been viewed as a key feature in Canada’s historic landscape. There is little mention that some of the Loyalists who came here after the American Revolution and settled in the Maritimes were Blacks, or of the many sacrifices made in wartime by Black Canadian soldiers as far back as the War of 1812.
Few Canadians are aware of the fact that African people were once enslaved in the territory that is now Canada, or of how those who fought enslavement helped to lay the foundation of Canada’s diverse and inclusive society.
Black History Month is a time to learn more about these Canadian stories and the many other important contributions of Black Canadians to the settlement, growth and development of Canada, and about the diversity of Black communities in Canada and their importance to the history of this country.
February Special Days
February 14- Valentines Day
February 15- Family Day
On Family Day, many people plan and take part in activities aimed at the whole family. These include visiting art exhibitions, watching movies, skating on outdoor ice rinks, playing board games, and taking part in craft activities. Some communities plan special public events, and art galleries and museums may have reduced price or free entry. Take your youth and have a fun outing!
Winter House Maintenance
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.
ONLINE VIRTUAL EVENTS
Due to the lockdown- please see events online for fun
EventBrite holds many online virtual classes & events! This is a great way of learning new things, or keeping busy but still staying safe & healthy!
Gentle Yoga For Terrible Times-
Simple and accessible breathing exercises, stretches, and guided meditation for all bodies, minds, and spirits. NO EXPERIENCE necessary
Addressing the Mental Health needs of Young People During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges to students, educators, and parents. Children already coping with mental health conditions have been especially vulnerable to the changes, and now we are learning more about the broad impacts on students as a result of schools being closed, physical distancing guidelines and isolation, and other unexpected changes to their lives.
Taking steps to support students is essential during this challenging time. For us at The Help Group, that means more than simply making sure they learn from lesson plans and score well on standardized tests. We are as concerned about the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students in our community. Join us for this free live webcast where we'll hear from experts on how to address the mental health needs of young people during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be moderated by The Help Group's Dr. Jason Bolton, VP of Community Partnerships & Admissions.
Rhythm In Black: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow - A Black History Month Event A fully-virtual FREE Black History Month Celebration.
Andy Street Long Beach invites you to experience our first fully-virtual FREE Black History Month Celebration: Rhythm In Black.
Interact with speakers from throughout the community, enjoy performances from local artists and musicians, and be immersed in the Black experience of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow from all corners of the diaspora. Celebrate with us on Feb 5th.
Rhythm In Black welcomes people from all walks of life to experience “Forgotten Images”, our exhibit of authenticated works of writing, art, and artifacts of African heritage from the 1600’s to the modern Civil Rights Era.
Come be immersed in African American music & art and join discussions about their transformational power on our youth.
Or simply expand your horizons with an exciting dive into African culture.
Valentines Chocolate Donuts- Free Class
February 7, 2021
Join me and learn how to make this super easy recipe. Chocolate donuts baked with a cakey texture, soft and of course delicious. Dipped in chocolate with some sprinkle of your choice, those donuts will be just the perfect gift for your loved one!
Get your free ticket to receive the recipe before the workshop. Note: It will no longer be possible to request the recipe once the registration is closed.
The workshop will be Live on Facebook & Instagram
Black History Month 2021 -THE SYMPOSIUM
Select your date
Join us as we celebrate the 6th year of the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent at the second edition of the Regional Black Canadians Forum in the Capital Regional!
The Forum will focused on the International Decade for People of African Descent by tackling the following topics:
Media & Arts Representation,
Mental & Physical Health,
Migration and Inclusion,
Access to Affordable,
Housing and Shelter.
The Decade is significant as it promotes respect, protection, and fulfillment of human rights of people of African Descent. We believe that this event is in line with the objectives of celebrating Black History Month.
The cold and staying in is not something to look forward to…But these fun activities in the winter are!
Go Skating There are plenty of outdoor facilities for skating in the GTA.
Build a Snowman Dress your snowman 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.
Read Facts OR Just for fun, try to solve the following brain teasers. The answers will be at the bottom of the newsletter. Good luck!
1. Black History Month began as Negro History Week
2. Aretha Franklin was not only the first African American woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but the first woman, period.
DID YOU KNOW?...
Tips for Mental Health with Teens & Covid
When our world changes quickly and suddenly because of things like COVID-19, it is common to experience changes in our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Feelings of anxiety, fear or worry are typical in stressful situations.
Typical reactions include:
Feeling stressed or overwhelmed, frustrated or angry, worried or anxious
Feeling restless, agitated, on ‘high alert’ or unable to calm down
Being teary, sad, fatigued or tired, losing interest in usually enjoyable activities or finding it difficult to feel happy
Worrying about going to public spaces, becoming unwell or contracting germs
Constantly thinking about the situation, unable to move on or think about much else
Experiencing physical symptoms such as increased fatigue or other uncomfortable sensations
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, so you should not expect any specific reaction. Still, take a few moments to talk with the teens in your life about how they are feeling and what may help them during this difficult time.
Remind them that all of these thoughts and feelings are common right now, and discuss simple self-care strategies that will help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Here are a few tips for mental health and coping from teen Mental Health First Aid:
Maintain a daily routine with consistent sleep, activity and study patterns.
Stay connected with others, and try to find moments of humor.
Talk to people you feel comfortable with about your feelings or worries, then give yourself permission to stop worrying.
Eat breakfast every morning, plus snacks and meals at regular times throughout the day.
Limit coffee or energy drinks, as these will increase feelings of anxiety and make it difficult to relax.
Look for patterns or be aware of situations that make you feel particularly worried or anxious. When you’re in these situations, try relaxation or distraction techniques or ask a family member or friend to help.
Relieve times of high anxiety with physical activity; engage in regular aerobic exercise (e.g., walk, jog, yoga, dance).
Limit the amount of time you spend talking about or watching/listening to news media or social media if you are finding information about the COVID-19 situation overwhelming or distressing.
Do hobbies or activities that you enjoy, calm you down or focus your mind and body. These could be arts and crafts, physical activity, listening to music, reading, journaling, watching TV or movies, or chatting with friends by phone, videoconference or text.
Understand that the people around you are probably also finding this situation stressful, and they might also be having difficulty controlling their emotions. Try to resolve conflict.
If you continue to feel overwhelmed, out of control or unable to calm down after a period of weeks, seek help from a mental health professional.
Take time for yourself.
Be kind to yourself and each other. We’ll work through this together.
If feelings do not improve, consider reaching out to a mental health professional or seeking online therapy. With the right information and resources, we can #BeTheDifference for the teens in our lives during COVID-19.
Duty to Report
Please remember that we all have a duty to report abuse or suspected abuse of a child. The Child and Youth 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 manager/resource worker by submitting a VACATION/TIME OFF REQUEST FORM to them or the head office. They will seek approval from the directors of the agency, 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 staff/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 manager/resource worker as designated by the directors.