How can today's students deal with all the pressures they face every day and get into a healthy state of mind?
Menihek High School in Labrador City has one solution: a conference called Mind Your Mind.
Yvonne Smith, a guidance councillor at the school, and Amy Bunter, a youth outreach worker, teamed up with the school's youth justice committee to hold the first conference three years ago. It alternates each year between Labrador City and Happy Valley Goose Bay.
“It was to show students what to do to have healthy minds, how to relieve stress and to introduce them to what is in the community to help them achieve that," explained Smith.
This year, students could participate in workshops like reiki with Donna Squire, a form of healing to balance their mind and well being. Cooking with Chef Nick McGrath, mural painting with Ashley Murphy, cake decorating with Jody Peckham, a drumming circle with Margaret Pittman, painting with Lainey Wins, martial arts with members of the Shotokan Karate Club, pound drumming with Workout World and Mindfulness with Jeff Pardy were all offered to students. There were also LGBTQ discussions and sessions focusing on laughter as the best medicine.
More than 50 students took part in the day-long workshops and Smith and Bunter heard lots of positive feedback.
Cameron Farrell took part in the first event and was happy to come back this year, where he participated in events like the drumming circle.
“I also signed on as a leader this year to help organize the event and help make sure it was a smooth weekend for those who took part," he said, adding that the event was “a cool experience and a chance to meet new people and to learn how to cope with stress, and maybe a bit about yourself."
Usually, students from other Labrador schools attend, but that couldn't be arranged this year. Each year, the conference alternates between Labrador City and Happy Valley Goose Bay, and it's expected it will be open to more students at that event.
The community was incredibly supportive of the event, say organizers, with workshop leaders donating their time and many businesses donating gift certificates. IOC (Iron Ore Company of Canada) was a major sponsor, which covered most of the costs for the weekend, which Smith says is something the school could not have done on its own.