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Local schools get their Shine On!

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
ShineOn! is an empowerment program for young girls, this new curriculum is working with local schools to inspire girls and provide them with a safe space to openly discuss issues facing many of them today.   Photo by Samantha Hawkins
ShineOn! is an empowerment program for young girls, this new curriculum is working with local schools to inspire girls and provide them with a safe space to openly discuss issues facing many of them today.  Photo by Samantha Hawkins

Brown works with KPDSB to develop program for Grade 7/8 girls
By Samantha Hawkins

It is an amazing thing when a community comes together to inspire their youth to be kinder, patient and more compassionate individuals, to work together, to build each other up instead of tearing each other down and to see value in themselves as well as others.   Well, the Kenora Patricia District School Board (KPDSB) and the inspiring Carly Brown, qualified teacher and Lokah Sangha Yoga Studio Director, have come up with a six-week plan to do just that.  Their new curriculum, ShineOn!, in an empowerment program that brings Grade 7 and 8 girls together over the course of six weeks and through a series of yoga practices and other mindfulness techniques, works to inspire them to realize their true potential.

Open Roads School in Dryden was one of three schools (along with New Prospect and Sioux Mountain) participating in the pilot project from October to December this year and Vice Principal Syrena Lalonde says she had the opportunity to observe two of Brown’s workshops and thought they were very well done.   “The students were engaged and actively participated in the discussions and activities, responding openly to Carly’s dialogue.  As we know, the research shows that today’s youth have to deal with more stress and pressure living as a teen in the 21st century than youth of previous decades.  In a fun and interactive way, the Shine On program provided our girls with the skills and strategies required to become resilient leaders in today’s rapidly changing world.”

This, says Brown is exactly why she created the program. “I feel there is a strong need for girls and women to stop focusing on the externals (beauty, body image, status and “perfection”) and start focusing on their dreams, values and what brings them joy. My program offers a safe space for girls to openly discuss the issues that they face and from what I have seen, it’s been empowering for the girls to realize they aren’t alone and that their peers face these issues too.”

The girls met with Brown once per week and really enjoyed their time together to reflect and bond.  Open Roads student Micaila Lizotte says, with a beautifully big smile, that the program has already helped her improve her attitude towards everything. “I came into this so negative, about everything, but now I am just trying to be positive all the time.”

What about the boys?  Brown says she gets asked this question often and is hoping to find a strong male role model with a background in leadership and who has done a lot of self-work to be able to develop a program similar for the boys.  For now Brown is planning retreats and workshops for the girls as well as working on creating a ShineOn! Curriculum training program so she can help other teachers to run this beneficial program in their schools.

For more information or to learn how you can have this exciting new and inspiring program come to your school, visit www.keepcalmshineon.com or www.lokahsanghayoga.com.

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