Ross facilitated workshops at Quilchena Elementary and Sunshine Hills Elementary – for students, teachers, and parents – on the emerging cultures of technology and their impact on childhood development, family life, and education. Technology is now an essential feature of the landscape of childhood and adolescence. Gaming, social networking, texting, and other digital tools now provide the central means by which children and adolescents manage the challenges of their development. Issues such as anxiety, depression, isolation, anger, and addiction are increasingly finding niches in the online worlds. Parents, educators, counsellors, and all those who work with children must be able to respond to this groundswell of change with new skills and strategies. These workshop provided a summary of those skills and strategies along with a suite of simple, practical tools that can assist parents in navigating – and helping kids navigate – the complexities of the digital landscape.
Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Centre
Ross facilitated two professional development days for social service professionals who work with First Nations populations. These sessions focused on understanding and dealing with addictions, which are the most common and the most misunderstood challenge we face. Most of us find addictions somewhere close by: in families, in our peers, sometimes in ourselves. Addictions are everywhere. And yet, it’s tough to know what addiction really is: a habit, a means of coping, a way of just having fun? And at what point does having fun become something else: something darker and much more difficult?
Despite the mysteries and complexities of addiction, we do know quite a bit about how it starts: in adolescence, typically, with a series of situations and events that tend to lead people toward addictive behavior. And we also know a great deal about how to stop addictions: through education, healthy relationships, mentorship, and meaningful experiences.
In this workshop Ross unpacked the matter of addictions: what it is, how to understand it, how it is connected to mental health, and how to deal with it. Participants learned about different kinds of addictions: drugs and alcohol, technology addictions, addictions to risk and recklessness. Ross also provided an introduction to the skills and knowledge required to be safe and self- aware with regard to addictions, and how to help others.