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Shaughnessy Park School students are in
touch with their body, mind, heart and spirit.
The school held its first-ever Health &
Wellness Symposium on May 2. The all-day event for Grade 7 and 8 students kicked
off with a keynote speech by community activist Michael Redhead Champagne.
Champagne, founder of Aboriginal Youth
Opportunities (AYO) and the anti-violence initiative Meet Me at the Bell Tower,
led Shaughnessy Park students through a medicine wheel exercise. Medicine
wheels are an Indigenous concept used to represent the interaction of one’s
physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components.
Champagne filled the four quadrants of the Shaughnessy
Park medicine wheel with student suggestions on how they care for their body,
mind, heart and spirit.
“You folks have done a fantastic job this
morning of laughing with me and helping to build a medicine wheel that you can
use if you’re ever feeling like ‘My heart needs a bit of attention’ or ‘My mind
doesn’t feel good’,” Champagne said.
“Before you start complaining, we now have
all these different things you can try to do to take care of your own health,
your own wellness.”
After Champagne got things rolling, the
students broke into wellbeing breakout sessions. The symposium featured 19
breakout sessions, led by community members and organizations such as Access
Norwest, Rainbow Resource Centre, Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba and
Activities included a hike of White Tailed
Deer Trail in Bird’s Hill Park, an Appreciating Diversity workshop led by Teen
Talk, and a visit to the NorWest Co-op Community Food Centre, where students
baked bannock in an outdoor oven and made smoothies with a bike-powered
Shaughnessy Park resource support teacher
Tara Smith said its important that adolescent students are exposed to a variety
of health and wellness concepts.
“This is a transition time in their lives,”
Smith said. “They’re starting to become responsible for their own health. They’re
becoming more independent so they need to be aware of their, like Michael said,
their mind, body, heart and spirit.”