ETMOOC … The GIFT That Keeps On Giving

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I am so grateful for all the gifts that ETMOOC has given me.  As I reflect upon the year I think about all the wonderful people I have met and the things we have shared.

The invite :

My first ETMOOC POST a year ago

I am a life long learner and willing to take risks and here I am signing up for #etmooc. The tweet by @courosa from @fryed on,  “What is #ETMOOC and why should you join us? ” is what finally convinced me to … just do it!!!

In one of my @haikudecks I said I would DO MORE in 2013 and here I am. Stepping out of my box and doing more.

A little nervous yes, (to be honest I was a lot nervous), but at least I am NOT going to be graded, I can just learn!! Yahoo!!! I love learning without being graded. I have had enough of that.

So in the next few months, I look forward to learning just for the sake of learning.

It is Alec Couros who inspired me to become interested in technology as much as I have and I am grateful. So thanks Alec. Here Alec is motivating me again … So my journey begins…

It is hard to believe it has been a year since I started thinking about should I or shouldn’t I take ETMOOC?  Wow, am I glad I did. I think … no I know, I am more grateful now than I was then because I did not realize just how much I would learn as a result of being in ETMOOC. More importantly it would be about the connections I would make. No, even more important it would be about the friendships I would make and continue to develop.

An excerpt from my second post is very telling “ Today, January 20th a week into ETMOOC I needed to remind myself to find the positive as I was frustrated with learning how to use new information for importing media. Trust The Process. I will say that over and over to remain calm.”

I am a school counsellor and at that time I knew very little about tech tools and how to do a lot with the technology. At that time …

I had NEVER …

  • Blogged
  • Vlogged
  • Made YouTube videos. (I did not even have an account and now I can help students upload their videos.)
  • Given proper attribution, but now I do .
  • Curate information, but now I have over 100 livebinders and a zillion pinterest pins. Here is one live binder .
  • Attended an Edcamp and EdCamphome, but now I have .
  • Collaborated with a student on a post, but here it is .
  • Created a google doc, and now I can even add to one .
  • I hardly ever tweeted . I now have over 6,000 tweets (I knew very little about twitter then) Now; I can give workshops on how to understand twitter better. I even co-moderate twitter chats.  Makes me laugh even writing this .
  • I did not know how to Google Hangout, but now I do regularly with educators from across the world.

There are so many skills that I have now, that it is even hard for me to believe I know how to do certain things technologically. My biggest smile comes when someone actually thinks I am a techy.

In another early post I finally recognize what my true purpose for being in #ETMOOC  is…

“ In my attempt to assist students along their journey in life, I reach out attempting to make a difference. This jumping out of my box into the ED tech world is my way of touching the hearts of many students so that they can get the supports they need. Counselling is more than assisting a student in my office. It is reaching out to students on a more global scale. It is being able to use technology to reach and teach them.  I will promise to use this process to educate from the heart using technology and all the tools ETMOOC gives me.”

This is still one of my favorite videos of the year:

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us” Joseph Campbell

ETMOOC allowed me to be OPEN to new experiences, people and ideas. Well, I have certainly attempted to educate from the heart this year. I have:

  • Created several  haiku decks for students and school counsellors.
  • Given a workshop on Digital Citizenship for all grade 10’s with the help of my colleagues. A special thanks to Peter Damen and Marc Osenton.
  • Helped to moderate our school twitter and facebook accounts.
  • Connected with countless educators and school counsellors.
  • Became a co-moderator for #SCCrowd .
  • Become a @HaikuDeck lover. Even got to visit Haiku Deck headquarters .
  • Created many vlogs in Openspokes and collaborated with fantastic educators.

So, how do you really thank someone especially you @Alec Couros who has taken you to places you were afraid to go? It isn’t easy, but I will try.

I think my way will be by paying it forward . My goal is to help as many school counsellors and others that I can to not be afraid. I have made many mistakes along this journey and I know I will continue to make them. Thanks to all the #ETMOOC’ers who helped me, showed me the way and continue to do so.

I am so grateful for my PLN. It is hard to put into words just how grateful I really am, but know that my heart is so full of gratitude it is overflowing and if we by chance get to meet F2F one day you will know because I will thank you in person.

Although my goal last year was to Do More . This year it will be to Do less with more ( this is easier said than done) , but I plan on staying focused on the things and the people that matter to me most. It is not that I will not be open to new experiences, people and ideas , I will. It is just that I need to say NO to some things and put my focus on those things that I remain passionate about.

So to end this post I want to create a vlog to thank you. I need to be ready which I am not right now. As I write this I cry happy tears thinking about all that all of you have done for me. No, even in my authenticity I will not create a vlog of me crying, so when I am ready I will make one just for you … that will come later, not sure when , but later.

I’d like to share some of the great posts you share in the next while so I will curate them in this live binder .  Thanks for sharing and may 2014 fill you with great happiness and bring you all of life’s blessings and gifts that you are searching for. May ETMOOC keep giving to you, so please stay connected with the hashtag #etmooc.

My last thought to share with you is tthat I hope one day that we will create a conference F2F called  Everyone Together Massive Open Onsite Conference. Are you with me ETMOOC ‘ers? ? I’ll be retired in a few years and would be happy to help organize such a conference, but will need lots of help. Let’s start thinking and planning so that we can meet as many ETMOOC ‘ers face to face as possible.

It’s been quite a year and I have received so many gifts from you , so again thanks to all of you for so much fun and inspiration especially:

@AlecCouros (without whom the giving of his time, energy, kindness and support while on sabbatical #ETMOOC would not have happened)

@fryed ( if I hadn’t seen your post maybe I would never have signed up)

@AlisonSeaman (got to meet F2F and she is as positive as she is online)

@JeffMerrell (for always being so encouraging and engaging)

@ehordyskiluong (for being by my side through all the ups and downs of learning and being so excited with me when we caught onto something new oh … you know the rest …)

@dendari (for always commenting, helping, sharing and being an #ooe13 leader and #openspokes team mate)

@grammasheri (for being such an amazing woman. I always love what you share. I can’t wait to meet you some day)

@verenanz (for being so inspirational , you are such a go getter and helper)

@valerielopes (for all her encouragement )

@clhendricksbc (for posting her first video and giving me the courage to do the same. Look how far we have come. You amaze me)

@rljessen (so happy we got to meet F2F after so many google hangouts We are creating a great friendship online and off. Thanks to the Post ETMOOC Group for hanging out and reading and sharing blogs. We have learned so much together Christina Hendricks @clhendricksbc , Karen Young @karenatsharon, Kirsten @KirstenTP and Erin Luong @ehordyskiluong )

@SISQITMAN (for all your thoughtful and kind comments …  you kept me writing . Always love what you have to say . Thank you!)

@bhwikkoff  (for creating OPENSPOKES  and being such a great leader. We have helped each other learn and grow)

and all the openspokers  Jeremy Inscho, Brendan Murphy,  JoeDillon , Jas Kooner, Gallit Zvi, Sheri Edwards, Denise Krebs and Erin Luong

@tina_p  ( for always connecting , being so positive and always making me smile. Love the Australian Connections @ActivateLearn)

@JudyArzt ( for letting me try out one of my first GH with her even though she did not know me)

@amyburvall (for all your creativity and positive energy and letting me join you in a crowdsourced video )

@debbiefuco @jacbalen @folynick @whitneykilgore  (for sharing and commenting and always being so positive in your interactions with me)

and to @djsamson for always posting great things in #ETMOOC maybe we will connect in Halifax some day.

To end thanks to all the presenters . YOU WERE FANTASTIC!

Alan Levine @Cogdog thanks for gathering all our blog posts to share and read.

Quoting Dave Cormier: “If we make community the curriculum, membership becomes how we scale. It’s all about belonging.”

Being A Connected Educator Has Changed The Way I Think

Being a Connected Educator has changed the way I think about education and has helped me understand the lives of our students in a completely different way.

Nine months ago I was not a Connected Educator, but I wanted to grow professionally so I took the plunge and took a Massive Open Online Course called ETMOOC.  That changed everything.

 

I felt if I wanted to understand the world that our students live in then I too must learn what it is like. So for the last nine months I have entered into the connected online world and opened up a whole new world of learning for myself and the students I serve. Every time I am connected with others online I come away with new ideas and resources to share.

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cc by Catherine Cronin

For anyone who feels they are too old to do this, I hope I serve as an example. I started teaching in 1980 and I can still say that I LOVE what I do. Being a Connected Educator has helped me stay passionate about teaching and learning .

I believe it has helped me be a better school counsellor as now I can connect with other school counsellors #scchat #cscchat from around the world and we can learn together. As a result of being a Connected Educator I am more open and want to serve as one model for positive Digital Citizenship for our students.

Thanks to all of you who have shared your experiences, resources and optimistic attitude with me. This thanksgiving I am very grateful for you.

What I Want My Children To Know…

This summer as in every summer for the past thirty-four years I have come home to Nova Scotia.  As usual when I slow down I have time to reflect. This summer though I have a purpose to reflect because  I am in an open educators vlogging group called openspokes.

In openspokes  we pick topics to discuss and through vlogging we reflect on the topic of the week  with each other. This summers topic is a big and tough one. What do I want my students and / or my own children to know before I die? Even saying that can be scary to me. There are so, so many things I want them to know before I die and I hope I will I have the time in life to tell them.  I know they will learn so many lessons from others, but I want my legacy to be a positive one … so this question feels extremely important to me. It is different from what do I want to do before I die as that is easier. At least for me it is.

I have thought a lot about what I think my own purpose in life is. Being in Nova Scotia makes me understand how I became who I am as this is where I was born.  So many things and people have shaped me into the person I am today. I grew up on a forces base and as a result I have great lifelong friends. We are still connected to this day. I want my children to know that it is important to nurture lifelong friendships. These friendships are amazing and bring so many gifts to your life.  It is so fun to reminisce and remember things we did as kids and make new memories as adults. Our friendships have stood the test of time.”You become the average of the five people you hang out with says ” Drew Houston, CEO, Dropbox. and I have hung around the best of the best people throughout my life. I have wonderful friendships from coast to coast and beyond. I have made friendships in my adulthood that bring me great happiness and are life sustaining. They are a gift in my life that I am unbelievably grateful for.

In regards to my own purpose in life, I believe it is to help young people discover their gifts and talents and to help them navigate through the tough parts of their life ,so that they discover that they too have a purpose. I want young people to trust the process and not be afraid to ask for help if they get lost along the way. I chose to be a school counsellor which has helped me live every day what I believe to be my true calling in life. I also want to be able to help school counsellors and blogging makes it much easier to do so. I can help them with ideas and resources.  If anything I write in my blog or say in a vlog that I do helps school counsellors, it will make me very happy.

I want my own children to choose a career they will love as I have . If they follow their passions I know they will be happy in life and meet fantatstic people who will enhance  and enrich their lives. I am so grateful to go to work and absolutely love what I do each and every day since 1980.

What are some of the TOP things I want my own children to know:

  • You are and were wanted and loved
  • You make life better by being in it
  • You have a purpose
  • I am very grateful for all you have taught me
  • You keep me real
  • Find yourself … then find your own true love and be committed to enhancing your and their life
  • Enjoy every stage of your life
  • Life will have extremely difficult parts, but you can find the strength to get through all the tough times …a sk for help
  • Have faith
  • Make a difference
  • Help yourself … help others
  • Take care of yourself … take care of others
  • Hugs heal
  • Face your fears and take healthy risks
  • Live every day to the fullest
  • Never take anything for granted
  • You are never too old to learn
  • Celebrate the small stuff
  • Travel and get a better world view
  • Read, read, read
  • Learn.  learn, learn
  • Connect, connect, connect
  • Connect with positive people. Make great memories together
  • Laugh often
  • Be active throughout your life
  • There is no place like home
  • Please forgive me for the crazy mistakes I made along the way…  parenting is not easy

I want my own children to know that I have had an amazing life. Not a life without struggles, but a life I am grateful for . I am grateful for all that I have and all that I am able to do. I want my children to know that their dad has always treated me with respect and love. He has been a fantastic role model for them and a loving husband to me. He is an extremely good human being and that is what makes a great partner. They need to always remember that who they choose in life can be one of the biggest predictors of lifetime happiness. For me that has held true . I hope that it is true for them too.

I want my own children to always have HOPE. It will get them through the really tough times in life. I also  want my children to understand that life is what you make it. Take responsibility for everything you do in life and if you really want to do something in life. … make it happen …  it is up to you!

There is no way to put in words all the things I want my children to know, but I hope when they are old and grey they can look back at my vlogs with a little joy , laugh a little and recognize that part of the reason I did vlogs and blogs was to be a model for them , so that they could learn to take positive risks and become good citizens themselves.

I want so many things for my own children. I want them to know it is OK to make mistakes and fail.There is no shame in that. This blogging and vlogging experience has been full of mistakes and learning.  I have mde several mistakes in life, but I feel I have always learned from them and as a result I have become a better person.

I want them to know that I have loved and lost and found a lifetime of love. I want them to know I treasure all our memories together and feel so blessed to enjoy each and every day that I live on this planet.  I so look forward to the many memories that we we will create in the years to come. I love my children so very, very much. They mean everything to me. There are no words to describe how much I love them … I wish there were.

I want my children to have the best life possible one that they and their children can look back on and say they are proud of the life they had.  I hope they will feel they were blessed because they were a part of a family that they could respect and most importantly know they that were fully loved beyond measure and treasured their whole life long.

There are just so many things I want my children to know…

There Are So Many Amazing School Counsellors Doing So Many Fabulous Things

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CC photo by Yanngarphoto.wordpress.com

School Counselling is so important in every school. It is an essential service that is often not paid enough attention to sadly. What I absolutely know is that school counsellors save lives every day in the world. Some might not think that to be true, but I know that when school counsellors are working with students who are at risk they make a difference. What they do in their offices is preventative work and may go unnoticed because school counsellors can’t tell you what happened because of confidentiality.They might have just saved the life of a child who otherwise would not be around to tell their story.

Social media is also assisting students and school counsellors in a positive way. The work of Dr. Erin Mason @ecmmason, who created SCOPE is helping school counsellors every day in every way .  Dr. Erin Mason from SCOPE is fantastic. School Counsellors in Canada and the especially the US are on board with new developments in school counselling and are connecting to even make things better for students everywhere.

Danielle Schultz @sch_counselor ,the founder of School Counselor Blog is also a leader in the field. You can often find her leading #scchat or sharing great information on her blog.

Speaking of #scchat, it always amazes me that when educational chats are listed usually school counsellor chats are not posted. I know that will change as school counsellors become even more active in many spaces on social media.

Below I am going to list some of the great leaders in school counselling and if I miss anyone I appologize as I KNOW you are doing amazing work with students.

  • Erin Luong @eHordyskiLuong (Alberta,Canada)
  • Julia V. Taylor @juliavtayor (Richmond, VA,US)
  • Kaudri Auvaart @Kadriblaster (Australia)
  • Michelle Brown @Michelle0102197 (Canada)
  • Tamica Collard @TamicaCollard (Texas,US)
  • Chris Polley @Teaching_Intl (Shanghai, China)
  • Trent Langdon @TrentLangdonNL (Newfoundland, Canada)
  • Darrell Sampson @CnslrDarrell (Arlington Virginia,US)
  • Brian Zink @Brian_Zink  (Guadalajara, Mexico)
  • Rebecca Lallier SchCounselingByHeart (Vermont, US)
  • Jeremy Goldman @MRJGoldman (Lutherville Maryland,US)
  • ABurston @jyjcounselor  (US)
  • Rick Scheibner @rick_scheibner (Hermiston Oregon, US)
  • Marci Newman ARHSCounselor (UT,US)
  • Amy Sather @AmySatherBlair (Blair Nebraska, US)
  • Jeannine Jervis @CounselorELEM (Indiana,US)
  • Susan Langan @csfml (Cedar Falls Iowa, US)
  • Carol Miller @tmscounselor (US)
  • Randi Rosenberg  @RandiCounsels (Northern Virginia,US)
  • SchCnslrsRock @SchCnslrsRock (US)
  • Fanciene Sabens @FSabens (US)
  • Marty Stevens@martylstevens (Shiremanstown, PA) who writes the Gratitude Journal
  • Jeff Ream @CounselingGeek (US)

This list would not be complete without the work of a fantastic  school counsellor advocate Russell Sabella @rsabella who is a Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University ,  or Carli Segal @carlicounsels and Dr. Kevin Kelly @EmmausKevinK who are leading #sbmhchat School Based Mental Health Chat another excellent chat related to school counselling.

If you are a school counsellor from another part of the world please connect with us on twitter as we have so much to share and we can help each other grow professionally. It is an amazing opportunity for us to learn together. Please put that you are a school counsellor in your descriptor and if you feel comfortable please put where you are from.

TOP SCHOOL COUNSELLOR CHATS 

For more information about #SCCHAT (School Counselor Twitter Chats, montly school counsellor chats on Twitter, visit http://bit.ly/scchat-info.  #SCCHAT Tweet Up!

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#sbmhchat

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I would so love to see more Canadian School Counsellors #cscchat to be active on twitter and I will do my best to encourage other educators to encourage their school counsellors to join. We are entering into a new way of connecting with each other that will only benefit our students and the educational systems even more.

Please click below to view the Haiku Deck on School Counselling:

http://www.haikudeck.com/p/wlK5Q1ceFG/why-school-counselling . Please feel free to edit and share.

What Is Really Important In Life

Shouldn’t we teach all students as if they were Zach? In #openspokes we have been discussing what is important to teach our young people. I believe Zach’s message of hope is one all teachers as well as students can learn from. At the heart of teaching should be teaching from the heart and Zach tells us what is really important in life. As a school counsellor these are the lessons that really matter to me. Lessons like those from  Zach that truly teach.

Zach is an amazing teacher. Here are some of his lessons:

  • you don’t have to find out you are dying to start living
  • most people live in the middle, but you don’t have to
  • be empathetic and compassionate
  • always look for the good in people
  • things are OK when you believe in something greater
  • what makes you happy is seeing someone else smile because you put it there
  • what’s awesome about living in this world is that you can help people
  • the structure of a family is great
  • to be in the same room with your siblings is enough
  • it is not the life in your years , but the years and passion you put into your life
  • spend time with the people you love
  • it’s ok to dream big
  • celebrate the life you have
  • you can communicate love through music
  • music can heal
  • releasing feelings through music is helpful
  • letting people know you love them is important
  • sticking together as a family is extremely important
  • be happy no matter what
  • treat people the same and everything will be fine
  • smile despite what is happening in your life
  • memories are essential…create positive ones
  • friendships help
  • fill your heart up with joy
  • it’s ok to have ultimate dreams
  • people we don’t really know can change our lives
  • the way you live matters
  • surround yourself with those people that lift you up
  • LOVE makes life BETTER

Zach says it alll better than I could ever do, his message is one that I will share again and again. Thanks Zach for giving us your gift of life.

My hope is that teachers will pay more attention to the students we teach than the content. The lessons we teach can make a difference.

Calgary … Floods and A Hopeful Community 2013

Calgary … An amazing community of people willing to

make a difference.

Calgary is experiencing as @CBC says one of the worst natural disasters in Canadian history. Social media has a positive part to play in helping inform and help in the days, weeks and months to come. I am so grateful. Calgarians are fantastic!

  1. The @CBCCalgary is calling this one of the worst natural disasters in Canadian history. Hang in there, neighbours. @yycfloodSat, Jun 22 2013 12:07:16 
  2. RT @FarahDhalla This is what has become of downtown #Calgary #yyc #yycfloods #twn pic.twitter.com/j3lzi7fXw6
  3. Hats off! U R The Best! First Responders – The #RedCross & Canadian Troops #Alberta #Calgary #YYCFloods
    RedCrossAB
  4. Restoring Family Links call centre is ready. If you are looking for family that has been evacuated you can contact 1-866-696-6484 #yycfloods
  5. Please support our local #yyc businesses, they need our support now more than ever. #yycflood
  6. Drop-In Centre wishlist – bring items to temp. centre (former hotel) 4804 Edmonton Trail NE #yyc #yycflood pic.twitter.com/EATDADUMNS
  7. Could I just say again how PROUD I am to live in a city with a Mayor like @nenshi. YOU are an OUTSTANDING leader #yycflood
  8. A video I created for #openspokes a vlogging place for educators from across North America. A supportive online community, a place where educators reflect on a variety of topics.
  9. Beautiful and thoughtful post about social media as a support during difficult times Thx @EHordyskiLuong #abflood erinluong.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/rea…
  10. @verenanz @EHordyskiLuong thx for sharing feeling that we can help more in the days, weeks and months to come
    \
  11. Great PLN Checking in…
  12. Stay dry my friends MT @SSpellmanCann: Calgary Flooding – 2013 Flood- Calgary Video Production – BizBOXTV bizboxtv.com/calgary-floodi…
  13. @SSpellmanCann Oh good! Agree. My BIL & SIL had to evacuate Mission (they are okay). A yr ago today I was skipping stones on the Elbow. OMG.
  14. Photos from inside the Scotiabank Saddledome ~ cflam.es/12VsG0C #yycflood #yyc
  15. Most Inspiring Photos from the 2013 Calgary Flood #calgaryflood
  16. RT @nicolelisafeld: Memorial Drive #yycflood pic.twitter.com/T3C5ETu2b7 Never seen anything like it! My heart goes sout to all those affected
  17. Only high schools in non-evacuated areas will remain open for students writing diploma exams for the week of June 24. bit.ly/14lGEpE
    I know our students will show amazing strength and support…
  18. @SSpellmanCann Aiden has graciously volunteered to come back this evening for a jam session. Looking forward to it! #ABFloods #yycflood
  19. Support @RedCrossAB to help where it’s needed most right now. Together, we’ll make it through this! redcross.ca #yycflood #yyc
  20. Telus has made it even easier to donate. Text REDCROSS to 30333 to donate $5 in support of #ABfloods #yycflood
  21. I am very very proud of@nenshi @CalgaryPolice and all frontline workers and all albertans. Thanks@pmharper for deploying troops Stay strong
  22. “Hug your public servants” – @nenshi on @CBCTheNational. Nice shout out to hardworking folks putting in long hours in #Alberta. #yycflood
    Briefing with @Premier_Redford and @nenshi. ow.ly/mh29g #abflood#yycflood
  23. Mayor @nenshi announces full exemption for grade 12 students from diploma exams. The teacher, or classroom grade will be their final grade.
  24. I am so flipping proud of #yyc media, community, and city use of social media tonight. Absolutely GENIUS everyone. #yycflood
  25. Until you visit – you can’t appreciate the spirit of caring that permeates the evacuation shelters. High River will be back.
  26. Flooding outside the Scotiabank Saddledome – please stay away from the building until further notice #yycflood #yyc pic.twitter.com/l7YaHuyxfK
  27. Aerial photo of flooding around the Saddledome. #yycflood pic.twitter.com/kZlDekMfZK
  28. This pic of an awesome firefighter in Mission needs to go viral. Please share! #yycflood @redcrosscanada pic.twitter.com/3m3AiodrA5”
  29. “@ampcalgary: Who else needs to see a pic like this today? 🙂 #calgarystrong #yycflood pic.twitter.com/ZuFw2X6oZc” IT’S SO VIVID

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The Tough Topics in Education … Suicide

This week in #openspokes we were asked to tackle the tough topics and I decided to tackle the topic of suicide which is NOT easy.

School Counsellors often have to assist students with the grief process. Over the years I have seen students who have lost parents, siblings, friends, classmates and family members some due to a completed suicide which is the most tragic of all.

Below listen to a young man’s story that begins to tell the story of the impact on family and friends. I am not sure that there are any words to descibe the impact that this tragedy truly has,but his words I am hopeful will help other students.

As school counsellors our role is to be helpful in anyway that we can by infusing HOPE in as many ways as possible.

When a school experiences the loss of a student everyone feels the loss as expressed here by a note left to a student who died.

Dear_____,

Even though we haven’t formally met, I look at your spot in English class and I am deeply saddened that you are not here with us…

It is never easy seeing a student in deep pain especially if the loss was tragic or sudden. Often times school counsellors need to ensure that they have dealt with their own issues surrounding grief so that they can best help others. School Counsellors need to be aware of vicarious trauma or counsellor burnout when assisting students who have experienced traumatic events.

Here are my livebinders on Suicide Prevention and HOPE:

Suicide Prevention and HOPE

Mental Health resources

I know school counsellors save lives everyday and I want to thank you for the important work you do that no one else sees. I know because I have been a school counsellor for a long time. So keep doing what you are doing even though it can be extremely difficult at times.

There are students who you will make a difference for… of that I am sure! Take care of yourself so that you can continue to help others.