What a rush! It feels like just yesterday my girls were getting on the bus for their first day back at school. My head was flooded with ideas for projects in my lovely community of Kemptville, Ontario.
I approached Robin Heald at the Kemptville Youth Centre and suggested we try out weekly stress management art therapy groups. Robin promoted the group and we were able to reach out to local youth. They expressed their struggle with anxiety. They voiced their frustration that stress management strategies are not taught in school. We discussed sources of stress, thoughts that fuel anxiety, the impact of tension in the body and ramifications of stress on relationships.
I spoke to Moira Law, local artist and photographer about documenting the family businesses of Kemptville. We started with B&H Your Community Grocer and Howard Wilson Automotive, next, we are planning an interview with Grahame’s Bakery. Moira provides her exceptional skills as a photographer and I have the privilege of hearing and recording the stories of these local families.
I reached out to local translator Joseph Mathieu who graciously accepted the task of translating “Have You Hugged Your Alien?”. We fully expect it to be ready in time for the Christmas season.
Meredith Luce is currently busy, illustrating our third collaboration, “The Story of Poobum and Pompom”, a children’s book addressing the issue of sibling rivalry in a light and fun way through the relationship between a dog, Poobum, and the new family kitten, Pompom. Again, we are striving to release this book by Christmas.
My ongoing workshops, Divorce Divas and Survivors of Sexual Abuse are thriving, as group members bond, grow and create. I learn so much from these gutsy ladies and enjoy our monthly groups.
They inspired me to offer a Sassy Ladies workshop in the community room at Jonsson’s Your Independent Grocer on November 29th 2015 from 10am to noon. We will explore the common experience of women in their forties who feel lost, like they took a wrong turn and don’t quite recall where they were going. The workshop engages their creativity, encourages discussion and provides clarity.
As the days grow darker and cooler, many feel the urge to hibernate. In this climate, all too often, seasonal depression rears its ugly head. I was brainstorming ways to reach out to people struggling with depression. It can be challenging to support this population because of the lack of energy and motivation inherent to depression. This influenced my decision to create, Write Out of the Gutter, a closed Facebook group and e-mail program for people living with depression. I will launch this in early December as we head into the holiday season, a time that can be particularly difficult for people prone to depression.
One last project in progress is a series of video workshops for elementary school teachers, covering pro social behaviors such as healthy emotional expression, stress management, creativity, friendship, self-care and community involvement. The workshops are user-friendly and designed to speak directly to children. Teachers press play and enjoy the workshop along with their students.
I am loving this flow of creativity and feel so grateful for all the talented professionals who are helping to turn these project ideas into reality.