Honours Bachelor of Arts: Major in Psychology, Minor in Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University
Bachelor of Education: Primary/Junior, University of Western Ontario
ISIS Canada: Expressive Arts Therapy
I have a broad range of experience with a broad range of people! I have been volunteering in schools and homes for the aged since 1990. My school experience ranged from classroom settings to Life Skills classes. I also volunteered in a number of homes for the aged. In my home-town of Shelburne, ON, I volunteered and worked part-time in the Day Program at Dufferin Oaks Home for Senior Citizens.
As a teacher I have worked in a range of classrooms/positions at Parkinson Centennial Public School for the past 14 years. I have taught everything from grades 2-8, including resource withdrawal for intermediate students, and a junior LD teacher. Many of the kids with Learning Differences also suffered from anxiety, ADHD, anger issues etc. Whenever I felt the tension in the room getting too high, I would pull out the paints, and VOILA…the room grew quiet with contentment. It was truly amazing! I have also taught many students with a range of experiences on the autism spectrum; from high functioning autism to PDD to Asbergers.
In January 2010, as a part of my practicum for ISIS, I organized and ran a Staff Art Group to reduce the amount of stress experienced by teachers on a day-t0-day basis.
November 2010 brought me the opportunity to work with the CYC at my school, Janice . Together we planned and implemented an arts-based group for girls in grades 5 and 6 (since there is already “Go Girls” for girls in grades 7 and 8). Our group focussed on Self-Image, Self-Esteem and Friendship issues.
In January 2011 I was contacted along with other local artists to do a workshop at Centre Dufferin District High School as a way to promote The Arts in Dufferin County. The day was a great success, and I look forward to doing another workshop in the future.
In the Summer of 2011 I ran Summer Art Groups for children of different ages. Expand Your Wings was a program geared towards kids ages 10-12, teaching them different art techniques. The meaningful project we completed was making butterflies for “The Butterfly Project”: A Museum Installation based in Houston, Texas honouring children who died in the Holocaust.
Playing With Nature was geared towards children ages 7-9, focusing on hands-on, nature based crafts. The chalk mandala and rock sculptures were favourite activities.
Just this past December (2011) I provided Polymer Clay lessons to several classes in my school. The kids created Christmas Ornaments, many of them gifts for family members and other loved ones.
This coming February I am teaming up with yoga instructor Erin Kipps to offer a 4 part series of workshops entitled “Awakening Your Chakras Through Yoga and Art”. I am really looking forward to working with Erin, and witnessing others on their path to self-discovery.
In 2009 my former principal and very talented artist Rosemarie Armstrong, of RA Art Gallery took me under her wing and began teaching me the principles of art through acrylic painting. I continue to train with Rosemarie when our busy schedules coincide.
From 2009-2010 I was a client of Expressive Art Therapist Sharon Benson as part of the ISIS program. Even from a client’s view-stance, I learned a lot about the field of Expressive Arts through my experiences with Sharon.
In 2010 I also signed up for a week-long “International Creative Arts Therapies Teleconference”: A series of 10 workshops covering different topics in Expressive Arts Therapies. In addition, I joined a group called 21 Secrets: An Art Journaling Playground. 21 different instructors covering a wide range of uses for Art Journaling as a means to healthy living.
This past summer I embarked in drawing lessons in pencil and pastel from local artist Nahid Araz-Hagighat. I also did some on-line courses in drawing and art journaling offered by a multi-talented artist, Jane Davenport..all the way from the land down under!
Currently I am a member of Orangeville Art Group, Dufferin Arts Council, and Artists Against The Mega Quarry. ( I sold my first painting at Foodstock!) I’m happy to say that half of the proceeds went to the cause. I have also donated a painting to Dufferin Child and Family Services for a fund-raising auction last year.
My most exciting venture has been attending the Expressive Arts Summit in NYC this past November. Working as a volunteer my first day there gave me an eye-opening perspective on what goes on behind the scenes at a summit. Amazing! I also had the opportunity to sit in on some of the workshops, as well as attend some workshops the following day. The Summit was jam-packed with information, and I look forward to being a part of it this November. Only this time, my goal is to attend as a presenter!
This month I will also begin working with a young lady who struggles with low self-esteem/confidence issues. I peacefully await the opportunity to take a journey of healing through the arts with this child of God.
Summer 2011 I was a part of the Flash Mob for the Human Library, held at the Mill Street Library in Orangeville, ON. If I can find the video, I’ll post it..it’s worth watching! As a group of teachers, we are hoping to integrate this wonderful learning experience into the school system.
Fall 2011 my children and I happily volunteered for the Empty Bowls Fundraiser held at The Alton Mill.
Recently my children and I also volunteered at The Lighthouse Soup Kitchen in Orangeville, ON. What a lovely experience! Unfortunately work schedules may hinder my opportunities to volunteer with that program, however I plan to continue my services with Gateway on some afternoons.