By Reginald Acquaah-Harrison, Practicum Student
I started my practicum with very little knowledge about PSS apart from what I had read on the PSS website. I interacted with the staff for a sense of what PSS is about and it was clear that the mission is “to support the well-being of all families and children by empowering those in a parenting role through community connections, research, education, and advocacy”.
I started to unravel the mission statement by reading testimonials and joining drop-in sessions and circles and concluded that PSS is vital to the success of effective parenting in the community.
In my quest for knowledge, I decided to register for webinars, various drop-in sessions and engage in informal discussions with staff. When Jane asked if I wanted to attend the Provincial Facilitators Training Workshop from March 3-5 2023, I accepted the opportunity and registered as soon as I could. However due to family and other work commitments I could only attend the Saturday of the weekend program.
The Conference Centre
The conference centre near Cultus Lake BC is tucked away in the woods surrounded by views of the mountains, which makes the environment very serene. I arrived in time for breakfast with a warm reception from the staff, facilitators from across the BC Province, and guest speakers. I immediately felt at home even though I had only met majority of the them for the first time.
The first workshop began just after 9am with an icebreaker which in my opinion set the tone for the day. We were all asked to introduce ourselves by explaining the origin of our names. The speaker explained that names are tied to identity and it was important to understand and appreciate our respective names and its relation to our culture.
I had the opportunity of meeting and chatting with most of the facilitators and was impressed with their collective purpose of supporting families by providing a safe place to share and build skills around parenting.
One facilitator who had been a volunteer for about two years shared their experience of how the sharing circles have empowered parents to advocate for the needs of their family by effectively connecting them to resources. They underestimated the impact of the circles on the community and encouraged me to volunteer as a facilitate and share in the experience.
The workshop provided me with a lot of insight into the PSS purpose and the great work the organizations has accomplished in advocating for families. For example, in the afternoon session, Brenda Dragt, one of the guest speakers talked extensively about Trauma-Informed Practice and its relevance to supporting children and families. Brenda talked about awareness of the negative impacts of historical and intergenerational trauma on children and their caregivers.
Brenda provided the team with tools and strategies for self care, self regulation, emotional coaching and to be aware of our own triggers when advocating for families. Overall it was an enlightening experience packed with resources to be effective and relevant to our respective communities.
My only regret is not staying for the socials on Saturday evening. The reviews and feedback suggest a great time of bonding with karaoke, games and general fun time!