Wed, 2012-11-21 23:57 -- admin

During the spring of 2011, the Family Wellness program went through an extensive evaluation. Bombarded by increasing needs at family, school and community levels, and elevating at-risk statistics, the Family Wellness Program was redesigned to include all children by facilitating opportunities to advocate and create family wellness.

When we gathered local statistics, we found that approximately 18% of the student population is categorized as at-risk, and a shocking 50% of the student population is borderline at-risk, which means that one event in their life such as bullying, poor student success, or imbalance in home life could put them into crisis mode. We decided that this was not an acceptable statistic.

Changes have been made so that the Family Wellness program is not stigmatic, but is inclusive of all children. Rather than providing support to only children and families needing help, it has been adjusted to provide the opportunity to all children and their families so they may become involved, active and part of the community.

With the changes, we have witnessed 100% of the school population engaging in the Family Wellness program. Whether it be participating in cross-generational mentoring, reading programs, counselling, information and referral, or community wellness events such as Block Parties, the children and their families are engaging!

One example of the ways in which we have been able to engage youth was through the introduction of the theatre studies. After experiencing the hugely positive effects that the Bashaw Community Theatre had on local teen participants, and with the strengths of the newly hired Family Wellness Coordinator, the Theatre Studies component was added. 45 junior and senior high students participated in the program, focusing on all aspects of theatre. Two full scale musical productions were mounted and presented to Bashaw and area. Teens participated as actors, musicians, set designers, prop creators, lighting and sound personnel, advertisers and hosts. Through mentorship from teachers, parents, and BDSS staff, students grew noticeably at all levels. Mrs. Radke, teacher and counselor at Bashaw School states: “I have observed positive outcomes from many students - growth in self-confidence, motivation, acquisition of skills, and stellar performances - far beyond the expectations of many.”

Students who were marginalized found acceptance in a secure and caring environment. Bullying decreased noticeably, friendships were strengthened, and many students grew in their abilities to empathize, respond to and accept each other. Students also grew academically through their script reading sessions.

Many "small victories" occurred throughout the program. One student who had not had contact with her mother for several months was able to reconnect with her family. Another very shy student who would not make eye contact with others became more communicative and participated on stage in a supporting role. Many parents expressed their amazement at the talent and skill their children exhibited. As the program ended with the school year, students were already signing up for the fall.

BDSS is very proud to have been part of this program. FCSS support has, and will continue to be, pivotal in this amazing partnership with Bashaw School and the community.  We are committed to developing further partnerships to enhance the lives of all students, staff and parents within the school environment.