Here you will find writings that give some insight into Trinity’s programs.

Alan Insights

Posted on May 27, 2015 in

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Reflecting on Attitudes & Outlooks

Posted on May 22, 2015 in

Three weeks have passed now at Trinity and it’s been a whirlwind experience of meeting talented and passionate individuals of all ages, wandering hallways of a variety of schools from all over the city and learning the myriad projects and programs started by this organization. As I encounter each new person and space in my day to day work with Trinity and beyond into my free time, I see the world with new eyes.

Peering through my renewed lenses of self-awareness and compassion, I explore this city, feeling the spaces and each individual’s attitude. In a city of this size, we can easily feel invisible and as though our actions do not affect the strangers on the street or subway. The sheer number of faces and bodies encountered in this concrete jungle on a daily basis desensitizes us from our human-ness and so we often forget how we can make or break someone else’s day with tiny unconscious gestures or statements. Awareness of ourselves- our bodies AND our minds- is essential if we are to be positive members of this bustling city community. With that said, we’re all allowed to be a little angry or stressed here and there and we likewise have to forgive those for their outbursts…within reason.

This week I also engaged in a deep discussion with our retired teachers on the topic of respect. It started with a simple description of the Trinity “Respect” workshop that is run as part of our Peer to Peer Program. From there it quickly evolved into a heartfelt sharing of memories, questions and anecdotes of how, where, why, when, and what form(s) respect takes and has taken in our lives.

These are the discussions that I wish took place in every workplace, school, and home- discussions that demand vulnerability and trust of one another and through that vulnerability, bring us closer together and connect us to our authentic selves.

My personal challenge following this week is to wear these lenses of self-awareness and compassion, to reflect on respect and to enter into discussions about these vulnerable topics with the people around me.

I hope you can too.

-Meredith

Substance Use & Abuse Workshop

Posted on May 19, 2015 in

We live in a world overflowing with drugs- legal and illegal- for every need imaginable. So much so that everyone has to navigate as successfully as they can their use or non-use from parties with others to the doctor’s office..

Inevitably drugs can become a player in our lives. Neither prohibition or protestation of their recreational benefits, without understanding how drugs can effect our social/emotional development, is usually successful in developing self-awareness and sensitivity to other people.

The fifth workshop of the Peer to Peer program, begins with the younger students learning the facts about the major drugs in most use in our society, including prescription drugs.

The major exercise of the workshop however, is one in which the class as a whole create an imaginary character their own age with specific personal characteristics and family history. The peer leaders then pose this character with an issue involving drug abuse and relationships in the classroom and hallway. The class is then split into two groups. One of the groups is going to create good advice for the character, the other, poor advice involving further drug abuse. Each group must create a plan of approach using the details of the character and role play their advice.

Inevitably, aspects of the interplay between drug use, relationships, and a person’s social/emotional development arise.

Peer to Peer Workshop 3

Posted on May 12, 2015 in

In each of the workshops, the Peer Leaders lead the younger students through exercises on various themes. The themes are determined by how effective they will be in nurturing the positive social/emotional development of the students.

In workshop three, the Peer Leaders introduce the younger students to the idea of becoming self-aware regarding how they are handling conflict and the possible sources for their behaviour. The workshop also involves the students in discussions around the present state of conflict in their school community.

Broadening their self-awareness around how they handle conflict puts them on the road to enlarging their capacity to adopt more peaceful methods of coping with conflict.

In workshop four, the students begin assertiveness training. This is an important step in their workshop training since it introduces them to the idea that they can create their own peaceful responses to provocative challenges from others. Being assertive is a life skill that also benefits a person’s learning capacity.

 

Peer to Peer Workshop 2

Posted on May 5, 2015 in

In the second workshop of the Peer to Peer program, the Peer leaders lead the younger students through a series of exercises to strengthen their resilience and collaborative skills.

The opening rapport building exercise is a theatre exercise in shaping your partner into various forms and leads the students to examine the influences that impact them in society.
Out of this exercise, the Peers lead the students into a brainstorming session in identifying what they value most in a community. This develops the students reflective ability and brings to their attention aspects of society they may be taking for granted.

In social-emotional development terms, the student’s ability to participate with others and take an active interest in their surroundings sets the stage for the Challenge Wall exercise. In this exercise, the students work in smaller groups towards ideas of how they see their school community. This exercise brings the students self-expressiveness forward while exposing them to their peers’ ideas. Learning to express your own perspectives while listening to the perspectives of others is very important in a person’s growth.

The students must also present their own ideas and those of their partners and expand on their viewpoints in front of the other groups in the class. This last section of the workshop is followed by talking circles with the Peer Leaders in which the students get the opportunity to further discuss their ideas with the older students.

The students are encouraged to not take their surroundings for granted and learn to express their own opinions while listening to those of others concerning their school community. Learning to feel competent in your participation in the circles and expressing your point of view in public contribute to the student’s developing resilience as well.