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National Parachute Safe Kids Week wrapped up earlier this month (June 5-11), but it’s important to continue promoting safe and active transportation, especially as the school year comes to an end and summer vacation begins. This includes walking, cycling, skateboarding, scootering and other wheeled activities. 

Parents can help guide their child’s activities by modelling safe behavior and practices on the road, and also being aware of their child’s skill level.

Whether it’s on their travels to and from school, the bus, or in their neighborhood, encourage your children to be leaders in road safety! Here are a few simple tips to promote road safety:

1. Always cross the street at corners. Use traffic signals and crosswalks.

2. Walk on sidewalks or paths. No sidewalks? Walk facing traffic as far away from vehicles as possible.

3. Phones down, heads up. Teach kids to put phones, headphones and other devices down when crossing the street.

4. When cycling, stay on the right side of the road. Always ride on the right side of the road in the same direction as traffic to make you more visible to drivers.

5. Always wear the gear. Along with a helmet, wear wrist guards to help prevent broken bones, sprains and wrist and arm fracture. Bike helmets can be used for in-line skating and scootering, but skateboarding helmets should be used for skateboarding and longboarding.

6. Be seen. Make sure drivers can see you at all times. Wear brightly coloured clothing and reflective gear to help increase 360- degree visibility.

 

Check out the Parachute Canada website for more tips on how to help kids learn how to travel safely.

http://www.parachutecanada.org/downloads/programs/safekidsweek/PSKW2017-Tips-1sheetFINAL.pdf

 

Safe Kids

Lake Country Health Planning Society is one of five partner agencies within the Central Okanagan that has the privilege of launching this project. Developed in response to the steadily increasing population of older adults, Wise & Well was created to help seniors maintain a good quality of life. As people age, they often experience a variety of changes, including retirement, possibly reduced social circles, changes in their physical and/or cognitive abilities, as well as possible emotional changes. Wise & Well aims to address any isolation, feelings of loneliness, or possible mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, by helping connect older adults with local people and community resources. Volunteers are matched up with participants, meet with them once a week and help them become involved and connected in their own community. Activities are based on participant interests and have the ability to expand as the volunteer and the senior get to know each other. Activities may include going for coffee or lunch, attending local plays, trips to the Seniors Centre or group outings with other Wise & Well participants. We are currently recruiting seniors for this program. We welcome all referrals, so call our office today! 778-215-5247. All calls are confidential. Office hours are Monday to Thursday, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

What is bullying exactly? According to the CRAYS Report (Cancer Risk Assessment in Youth Survey) done by the University of Waterloo [for full report go to: https://osis.uwaterloo.ca/  Login: georgel786 password: Canada] bullying is a form of abuse that is repeated over time, from a person in a position of power, targeted at a specific victim. Repeated victimization by a bully decreases the victim’s power and increases the bully’s power.

The CRAYS report states that there are 5 common types of bullying. See picture below for most common types:

This stat comes directly from GESS, meaning that students report verbal attacks as the most common way they get bullied. The CRAYS report also found that of students who bully, this is the most common way they bully others.

Another interesting fact that the report found is that those who bully and those who get bullied report the highest levels of substance abuse.

Here are the stats from George Elliot on who is being bullied and who is being the bully:

We can see by these stats that a total of 34% of students report being bullied in the last month, whereas only 18% of students admit to bullying others in the last month. Whether this is a case of not wanting to admit to being a bully or of not recognizing their actions as bullying is up for debate and should be looked further into.  

We can also see that more females seem to be being bullied than males and that they are also more likely to be the perpetrators of bullying.

What can we do to provide safe environments and address bullying at GESS? The CRAYS report makes the following recommendations:

  • Recognize that bullying is a societal problem; schools cannot resolve it on their own. Parents and the wider community need to be informed and involved as well.
  • Teach students how to identify bullying, especially non-physical incidences. Knowledge is power.
  • Train staff to recognize bullying behaviours, encourage them to intervene early and to work to prevent escalations. 
  • Train students to see that bullying is everyone’s problem, not just the victims or the bully’s. Teach them to work together to end situations and create an atmosphere in the school that encourages kids to speak up.
  • Enable students to report bullying incidents anonymously, perhaps through a school website
  • Run restorative justice programs if/when bullying incidents occur.

It seems appropriate with school back in session and kids taking on new routines and schedules to talk about mental wellness and how we can work together as parents, teachers and the community to support kids and help prepare them for challenges they may face this year.

This 3rd article from the Cancer Risk Assessment in Youth Survey (CRAYS), done by the University of Waterloo here at George Elliot Secondary School, looks at the results on mental wellness and connectedness in our school [for full report go to: https://osis.uwaterloo.ca/  Login: georgel786 password: Canada].

It states that mental wellness is “the ability to think, feel, and act in ways that strengthen our capacity to enjoy life and deal with challenges as they arise”.  It is measured by positive social connections (relatedness), feelings of success (competence) and perception of personal freedom (autonomy). See the chart below for stats at GESS:

Essentially the report says is that if we cultivate mental wellness in our children we lay the foundation to them making healthy behaviour choices and having academic success. Those who feel they are connected to the school and feel their teachers are supportive of them are more likely to have better results during high school and are more likely to graduate. They are also less likely to engage in unhealthy/risky behaviours such as drinking, smoking and trying marijuana. Have a look at how our school compares to others across BC and Canada:

 

As you can see, 88% strongly agree or agree that they feel safe at GESS, which is close to the national average. 74% strongly agree or agree that they feel happy at the school and 74% also feel a part of the school. This indicates that our levels are just a bit lower than other schools across BC and Canada in most areas.

What can we do to support a stronger culture of wellness at GESS? The article outlines many different strategies, suggesting that school connectedness begins with a positive school atmosphere, promoting a united school community and having kids and teachers take pride in the physical and social environment of their school. A culture of wellness may start at the school but is ideally supported through partnering with parents and the wider community.

More specifically we can promote and cultivate mental wellness by encouraging kids to get involved in their community, do some volunteering, help them learn to appreciate what they have, encourage them to recognize and share their personal gifts, help them express emotions, help them learn how to deal in a positive manner with negative thoughts, and support their hobbies and personal interests.

The Health Hub

We are here to offer you resources and support. Visit us at our physical location, The Health Hub.

Click here for our location and hours.

We acknowledge the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia.

We acknowledge the financial assistance of the Central Okanagan Foundation.

ABOUT US

The Lake Country Health Planning Society (LCHPS) is a non-profit organization that has been supporting community wellness since 1982.