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Body, mind, heart and spirit

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 Teen Talk.

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 blender.

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.”

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