Pilot project aims to bring positivity to rural students

A pilot project to deliver a new mental wellness program in a pair of rural communities is already getting some positive feedback after a week.

A pilot project to deliver a new mental wellness program in a pair of rural communities is already getting some positive feedback after a week.

Schools in Faro and Ross River began receiving visits from a Many Rivers counsellor last week as part of the Flourishing and the Science of Happiness program.

In the program, students are taught how to generate more positive emotions and foster better relationships with each other.

Angela Magon is the principal of Del Van Gorder School in Faro. She said the new program fits in nicely with the school’s vision.

“One of the things we’re working on is helping students develop a growth mindset in the educational world,” she said.

“We believe that with coaching and positivity, statements such as, ‘I’ll never be able to do that’ or, ‘I’ll never be as good as’ can become statements more like, ‘With effort, I can achieve and be successful.’”

In Faro, the program will be offered on an individual basis to students in the Grade 6-8 class, as well as the 9-12 class.

In each one-hour session, the counsellor tackles a different aspect of the program such as positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment.

Magon said the school is trying to be proactive, rather than reactive, about showing students there are opportunities out there after high school.

“I sold the idea to my school council by saying this program is particularly important for this age group,” she said.

“It’s when they go from feeling that anything is possible to feeling that little is possible. This affects rural students more than it does urban students, so we’re trying to fight apathy head on.

“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from the kids already. They’re interested in what he has to say.”

The program will run every second week for the next three months.

Once complete, Many Rivers will work with the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Social Services to determine the potential ongoing need for more services in the communities.

The counsellor will also be offering mental health services to residents in Faro and Ross River during his visits, which is another benefit, Magon said.

“There’s a lot of need here.”

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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