On Sept 26, the Burnaby School District was awarded an Innovative Services- Award of Excellence by BC’s Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. The district’s Cultural Transition Services and Safe & Caring Schools Team members developed the Body Worlds and the Brain Project in 2010. It works with vulnerable refugee and immigrant students and provides early support to those who might be overwhelmed by the settlement process and have perhaps experienced trauma. This 8 week after school program includes activities such as rope climbing and Kung Fu to build confidence and support and includes the support of settlement workers as well as Max, the therapy dog.
This innovative program has been used to address trauma through the back door, focussing on developing competence rather than addressing emotional or behavioural problems. The back door approach also addresses physical aspects such as learning about the brain and the body as a means to enter the world of feelings and past experiences.
The Body Worlds and the Brain project was made possible by the collaborative efforts of Dr. Sarina Kot, Psychologist, BC Children’s Hospital; Sue Dorey, Manager of Youth Services; Peter van den Hoogen, Coordinator Student Intervention; Ruby Chan, Coordinator Cultural Transition Services; Ana Alarcon, Youth and Family Worker; Hafal Ahmad, Settlement Worker; Mambo Masinda, Settlement Worker and Angela Hamre, Youth Engagement Support Worker.