Help for our youth – Becoming the best and happiest you!

Written by Toni Lavigne-Conway | Special to the Valley Gazette

It is fair to say that mental health issues are more prevalent today then ever. We have lived through the panic, fear and isolation of a worldwide pandemic, climate change is affecting our environment in epic and catastrophic ways, and our youth are the first generation who has had access to social media for pretty much all of their lives.

This spring, the Madawaska Valley Public Library (MVPL) will be hosting a series of workshops geared to help children ages 8-12 deal with some of the mental health issues they are facing in a fun yet meaningful way.

The series was developed based on experience and research by retired social worker Miriam Granger. Granger moved to the Palmer Rapids area with her husband Roger Cardozo three years ago after falling in love with the area.

Born and raised in Geraldton ON, she pursued her post secondary education in Toronto where she acquired her Master of Social Work degree and worked at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital.

Granger said statistics indicate that one in five adults and youth in Canada experience some kind of mental health challenge, most commonly in one of three areas: anxiety, depression and mood disorders, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These alarming statistics, along with her love of working with young people inspired her to put together the spring series as a tool to help young people cope with some of the more specific challenges this age group are dealing with, like bullying, managing anxiety, getting motivated and feeling better in general.

“I find our youth to be so interesting. In general kids are smart and they have lots to say. They’re very honest and really, just a lot of fun to be around.”

The two hour workshops will be held over five Saturday afternoons at MVPL beginning April 6. Each will focus on a different topic: how to boost your self esteem, how to feel motivated so you can do what’s import to YOU, understanding stress and using it to help you, how to handle bullying, and the final one is geared to pulling everything together and contemplating what kind of person do I want to be.

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