Author Archive | oana

MindShift Mobile App

Anxiety BC has released a great new app designed for smartphones. It helps youth cope with anxiety and stressful events in their lives.

Click for more information and a link to download the app – a very useful resource to pass on!

May is Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month

Check out some of the great resources offered by Kelty Mental Health, including a reminder to stay mindful and present in the moment.

Living Mindfully

A list of resources put together by Kelty Mental Health

Not Myself Today

Did you know that up to 50,000 Canadians a day miss work due to mental health issues?

On June 6, 2013 you can participate in the Not Myself Today Campaign at your workplace. The focus is on bringing awareness to emotional health problems, especially at work where we spend so much of our time.

Visit their site here




Cycling4Diversity seeks to encourage intercultural relationships by educating students and citizens on the benefits of embracing cultural diversity in their schools and communities.


The group will be arriving in Abbotsford on Friday, May 24th at the Reach Museum. Join the community in welcoming them home!

Check them out on the web here.

CSSC April 2013 Newsletter

View the Centre’s latest newsletter!

The theme for April was The Challenge of Youth Extremism and Radicalization in Canada.

Featured also are free timely resources and special upcoming dates.

Click here to view the newsletter, or click here to download it to your own computer.

Get Youth and Children on the Political Agenda!

Download a toolkit to support individuals and community groups to advance legislation, policy, and practice to benefit children and youth in the lead up to the May 2013 provincial election. Click here for Elections Toolkit.

See what the BC Society for Children and Youth is doing to promote elections decision-making for promoting the well-being of children and youth in BC by clicking here.

Restorative Practices in Schools and Communities

157081874(1)Restorative action is valued in communities that view conflict as a learning opportunity.  It is a practice that helps individuals understand the effect of their actions on others and to build skills for resolving conflicts more peacefully. Restorative action utilizes empathic listening, open-ended questioning, summarizing, paraphrasing, and identifying underlying needs and interests (Gillman and Bowler, 2004). A relationally-based response to undesirable behaviour (Bargen, 2010), restorative action is premised on the principles of restorative justice. Restorative justice is a more inclusive approach from traditional responses to unwanted behaviour. For example, it provides an opportunity for those most affected by an injustice to have a voice in the resolution process (Gilman and Bowler, 2004). Frequently, the victim, offender, family members, and a community member take an active role in the resolution process.

In contrast, traditional responses tend to be adversarial in nature; placing a central focus on the rule that has been broken, along with the consequent punishment that the rule-breaker must face. Traditional forms of justice are generally administered by an authority figure (eg. Judge or school principal) who ‘imposes’ punishment for certain behaviours. This suggests that the rule-breaker is not required to take responsibility for their actions. Traditional discipline methods can also be a more an alienating response for all involved because they do not offer an opportunity for those negatively affected by anothers’ actions to have direct input in the resolution process. In effect, adversarial and alienating methods of problem solving generally fail to make use of real life opportunities where individuals can learn problem solving skills and practice them in the presence   of skilled mediators.

This means that in school settings, name-calling, harassment, exclusion, physical fights, threats, and bullying can be responded to more effectively using restorative processes such as mediation, group conferencing, talking circles, and peace circles (see descriptions) in most cases. Not only is a restorative approach an effective tool for “granting justice, closure, restoration of dignity, transcendence of shame, and healing for victims” (Braithwaite, 2002: 69), over time, they are a more socially and cost effective way to prevent future crime (Strang and Braithwaite, 2001). Although the term restorative action is often used in place of restorative justice when working in school-based settings, this is done to avoid a negative association with law-breaking (Bargen, 2010).

Key Features of a Restorative Process:

–          Participation should be voluntary

–          The person who caused the harm must be willing to take ownership for actions

–          Face to face mediation is not always appropriate

–          When student mediation teams are used, adult support is important

–           Staff/adult team must be used in more serious or sensitive cases

–          All participants should feel empowered through the process

–          The mediation environment must be one of respectful inclusion

What evidence is there to show that restorative practices work? 

A growing international body of research demonstrates that restorative action-based practices in schools contribute to safer and more productive learning environments for both staff and students. In 2004, The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales evaluated a large-scale pilot restorative justice project designed to reduce unwanted behaviors (eg. bullying and victimization, poor attendance) and school suspensions. The comparison study utilized surveys and interviews with 5,000 students, 1,150 staff members, and 600 outside participants. Schools that used restorative action reported:

  • Fewer students who felt that bullying was a problem in their school, and
  • Fewer instances of racist name-calling and bullying, such as hitting, kicking, theft, verbal threats, and skipping class to avoid bullies.

When comparing staff and teacher survey responses between restorative schools and non-program schools, adults reported:

  • Overall improvements in student behaviors, and
  • Decreases in the number of staff who felt suspensions were the best way to deal with behavioral problems.

In addition, 89% of students who participated in the restorative process reported a high level of satisfaction, and 93% felt the program was fair and ‘just’.  After three months, a follow-up study found that only 4% of the resolution agreements had been broken or remained incomplete.  Further information about the National Evaluation of the Restorative Justice in Schools Program can be found here.

In Scotland, a similar study reviewed 18 pilot schools two years after the initial implementation of restorative action programming (McCluckley, 2008). After surveying 627 staff members and 1,163 elementary and secondary students, conducting interviews and focus groups, observing staff, students, and parents, and conducting an analysis of school and government policy, the findings were substantial. All but one of the elementary schools, and the majority of the secondary schools, reported significant changes in their schools. The study reported improvements in morale among staff, and more positive views by students about their overall school experience. Additionally, attendance rates among students increased, while expulsions decreased. Many schools reported a reduction in playground incidents, referrals for discipline, and suspensions. For more detailed information, read the journal article.

In both studies, schools noted that, although positive outcomes resulted from shifting toward a restorative action-based approach; the process of implementing this new approach required a significant commitment of time. It was also noted that larger gains were anticipated with continued commitment to the restorative action process.

In Canada, Nova Scotia appears to be making substantial strides in this area through government, community, and university partnerships. In fact, these partnerships and commitments have led to successes similar to those reported in England, Wales, and Scotland. A cultural shift is being enjoyed in which a “more positive and collegial environment among staff [is occurring], resulting in fewer staff absentee days, a higher level of student involvement in school life, and dramatic reductions in discipline referrals” (p.1). To read more about these developments, click on a 2011 bulletin or visit the Safer Saner Schools website.

Micheal Vonn on Public Lives: What Eroding Privacy Means for Democracy

UFV LIBIT department welcomes guest speaker Micheal Vonn
Tues, Mar 19
1 – 2:30 pm
B101, Lecture Theatre

The blurring and sometimes outright inversion of what we have traditionally understood as ‘private’ vs. ‘public’ has vast implications for citizens’ relationship to the state. Securitization and surveillance are increasingly making governmental actions secret and citizens’ lives transparent. Commentators, both pro-privacy and pro-“sharing”, are calling for privacy to be redefined and reconceptualised to keep pace with an increasingly technologically-driven and globalized world. Not only is “personal information the new ‘oil’ of the Internet”, the vast daily data capture of citizens’ lives due to the use of digital media is set to expand further with the advent of the Internet of Things and ‘smart’ systems of all varieties. Exactly how much of this information does or could a government (our government, the government of some other country) access and for what purposes? The technology, practices and relevant law are evolving rapidly. The virtually secret “perimeter security” agreement that expands Canada’s data “sharing” with the United States is occurring at the same time that the US reboots its Total Information Awareness Program and the National Security Agency builds a data centre designed to”intercept, decipher, analyse, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications”. The Wellcome Trust in the UK is promoting a plan to have the genome of everyone in the UK sequenced and stored on their electronic health record, while Wikileaks discloses secret cables in which Hilary Clinton directed embassy staff to surreptitiously collect DNA samples from foreign heads of state and senior UN officials (and wasn’t that an episode from the X-files…) This talk will discuss some of the key arenas in which citizens’ privacy rights are being eroded and the resistance to that erosion.

For more information about this event, contact

View the poster here

Free Me: Human Slavery and Trafficking Awareness Event

Many are unaware that Human Trafficking happens within our own borders. Canada has been identified as a transit and destination country for human smuggling. The extent of this issue within our own borders is difficult to assess due to the reluctance of the victims to come forward but the truth about trafficked women and children in Canada is that it happens. The event will include a screening of the ground breaking documentary “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression to Opportunities for Women” this documentary exposes the suffering of women around the world. The event will also include educational workshops and a catered lunch. We invite you to join our panel of experts in the discussion of Human Trafficking followed by a Q&A period. If you are interested in participating please contact the email below.


Saturday, April 6th
9 AM – 3 PM
UFV Abbotsford Campus, B101
Contact for more information:


View the Event Poster