FOCUS ON: Culture of Caring

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by: Susan Hopkins, Ed. D, Executive Director of Safe and Caring

The conversation is changing. As we continue to work towards making our schools and communities safe, caring and inclusive places for every child and youth in Alberta, the landscape is shifting away from anti-bullying, one-size fits all and zero-tolerance approaches. Safe and Caring is contributing to the changing conversation in all of our work, and has embedded a philosophy of caring and healthy relationships into our strategic directions for 2015.

This year, we reframed National Bullying Awareness Week as #CaringWeek. Over the course of the week, we announced the Honourable Heather Klimchuk, Minister of Human Services as the Society’s new Honourary Chair; we brought together community leaders from across Alberta at our 8th Annual Creating Safe Spaces Waffle Breakfast, live-streaming for the first time ever to a live satellite event in Calgary; we co-hosted the Alberta Safe and Caring Schools Forum with keynote speaker Dr. Stuart Shanker; we hosted a spoken word poetry event to celebrate healthy relationships; and we facilitated the Government of Alberta’s National Bullying Awareness Week webcast. Advocating for a collaborative focus on healthy relationships as a foundation for creating safe, caring and inclusive spaces for children and youth has been and continues to be the core of all our work. We were therefore thrilled when the Government of Alberta released their Plan for Promoting Healthy Relationships and Preventing Bullying during the National Bullying Awareness Week webinar.

As the holiday season descends upon us, we are reminded of how important the relationships in our lives are to our happiness, our health and our well-being. A time of joy for some is a time of hardship and loneliness for others. Giving of ourselves isn’t just the right thing to do, it is actually good for our own well-being! Arthur Brooks at Syracuse University found that “givers” are 42% more likely to describe themselves as being “in excellent health.” In 2006, Jorge Moll discovered that the act of giving uses the same part of the brain that releases affiliative neurotransmitters in bonding: a phenomenon sometimes referred to as “Helper’s High.” When we give, we help others, but we also feel good in return.

Let’s continue to foster a culture of caring for ourselves, our children, our neighbours and everyone else we come into contact with each moment of this holiday season. #cultureofcaring

This article appeared in our December 2014 News Bulletin. Click here to read the rest of the bulletin!

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