This is a question that was put forward in the February 2016 edition of “The Villager”.  At that time I had just returned from spending three amazing days with Dr. Shelley Hymel from UBC, where we collectively finished developing five surveys aimed at student, staff and parent perspectives.  This was created in order for me to evaluate the effectiveness of this program that I am so passionate about.  The compilation of results was prepared for Life Synergy for Youth by Dr. Shelley Hymel and the Social Emotional and Educational Development (SEED) Lab of the University of British Columbia, 2016.  The surveys were conducted in schools between February and May of 2016.

I have had a few conversations with educators at all levels about programs they have had in their schools during their careers.  One question I ask them is “what are the numbers they needed to see before they will look further into hosting a program in their schools or school districts?”  Some indicated that if it was above 50% they would look further, the most common number I heard was 75% or above.  Please keep that in mind as you read through this abbreviated version of the Survey Results.

A huge thank you to Dr. Shelley Hymel for believing in me and what I do; to her team for supporting her through this process and the thousands of comments they had to process;  and to all the staff and students that allowed me to conduct this questionnaire within their schools.  I hope that with this information more schools will now see the change that can be made within their community.  I have always had plenty of qualitative information to provide to inquiring schools, and now, I have the quantitative information to support the program’s success.

 

STUDENTS FOLLOWING THE ASSEMBLY:

Compared to other assemblies, the vast majority of participating students agreed or strongly agreed that the Life Synergy workshop was valuable (97%), thought-provoking (95%), provided important information (97%), and helped them to realize that they have autonomy in making decisions about their own lives (94%).

Overall, the majority of participating students rated the Life Synergy workshop as effective (agree or strongly agree) in addressing real student concerns (96%), creating more respect among students (91%), creating more respect between students and teachers (85%), helping students to see each other differently (92%) and helping individual students realize that they have autonomy in making decisions about their own lives (94%).

Most students who attended the Life Synergy workshop reported that they were more likely to make changes in their life based on what they learned in the workshop (87%). Similarly, most students indicated that they would be more likely to seek out an adult for help at school (78%), and would be more likely to support other students in need whether or not they knew them well (93%).

Most youth indicated that they would recommend the Life Synergy workshop for other schools (95%), and would want to have more assemblies like this for their own school (87%). Youth were somewhat more likely to indicate willingness to attend similar sessions on drugs (81%) and alcohol (80%) compared to tobacco (73%).

 

STUDENTS FOLLOWING THE SMALL GROUP SESSION:

A majority of participating students agreed or strongly agreed that the small group session was valuable (98%), thought-provoking (98%), provided important information (99%), and helped them to realize that they have autonomy in making decisions about their own lives (97%).

Overall, the vast majority of participating students rated the small group session as effective in creating the foundation for school change (98%), improving the culture of their school (97%), creating more respect among students (99%), creating more respect between students and teachers (99%), and helping students to see each other differently (98%).

Most students who attended the small group session reported that they were more likely (agree or strongly agree) to make changes in their life based on what they learned in the session (94%). Similarly, most students indicated (agree or strongly agree) that they would be more likely to seek out an adult for help at school (88%), and would be more likely to support other students in need whether or not they knew them well (97%).

Most youth indicated that they would recommend the small group session for other schools (99%), would like to attend a similar small group session (89%), and that other students should have the opportunity to attend a small group session in the future (99%). Students also agreed that they believed that if all students in their school attended a small group session it would have a major impact on their school (97%).

 

STAFF FOLLOWING THE ASSEMBLY:

All participating staff members agreed or strongly agreed that the Life Synergy workshop was valuable (100%), thought-provoking (100%), and provided important information (99%). Few teachers found the workshop boring (9%).

A majority of staff rated the Life Synergy workshop as effective (agree or strongly agree) in addressing real student concerns (100%), creating more respect among students (98%), creating more respect between students and teachers (95%), and helping school staff to see each other differently (85%).

Most staff indicated (agree or strongly agree) that they would recommend the Life Synergy workshop for other schools (98%), and would want to have more assemblies like this for their own school (97%). Similar to students, staff members were more likely to indicate willingness to attend similar sessions on drugs (96%) and alcohol (98%) compared to tobacco (82%).

 

STAFF FOLLOWING THE SMALL GROUP SESSION:

All participating staff members agreed or strongly agreed that the Life Synergy small group session was valuable (100%), thought-provoking (100%), and provided important information (100%). Few teachers found the small group session boring (7%).

All of the participating staff rated the Life Synergy small group session as effective (agree or strongly agree) in addressing creating the foundations for school change (100%), improving the culture of their school (100%), creating more respect among students (100%), creating more respect between students and teachers (100%), and helping school staff to see each students differently (98%).

After attending the small group session, a majority of participating staff members indicated (agree or strongly agree) that they would be more likely to make changes in how they relate to students (99%), and other staff (93%).

All of the participating staff indicated that they would recommend the Life Synergy small group session for other schools (100%), would like to attend another small group session (100%), and the majority agreed that all students should have the opportunity to attend a similar small group session in the future (100%). All participating staff indicated that they felt their school would be substantially impacted if every student had the opportunity to participate in the Life Synergy small group session (100%).

PARENTS / GUARDIANS FOLLOWING THE PARENT PRESENTATION:

The options provided to this group were as follows: Not At All, Somewhat, Moderately, Extremely

A majority of workshop attendees rated the parent/guardian workshop as moderately to extremely valuable (99%).

The options provided for this question was a simple Yes or No.

Participants overwhelmingly indicated that the parent/guardian workshop provided information that would help them to be better caregivers (99%), were happy that their school hosted the workshops for parents (100%) and students (100%), and would recommend the workshop to other schools (99%).

 

Coming soon: 

www.gofundme.com/lifesynergy – This Go-Fund-Me (GFM) was initiated by Heather McMillan in November and has now hit the web. There are two things that prevent Life Synergy from getting into schools, financial reasons and giving up class time.  If this fund can take care of the financial issue then giving up class time becomes an easier decision for schools to make.  All donations big and small will make a huge difference.  If everyone who saw the GFM initiative gave only $2.00 and then passed it on to all of their contacts recommending or challenging them to match their $2.00 donation then the fees could be reduced to a point where schools could not say no.  100% of the funds received will ONLY be used to offset school session fees.  Please help me help others.

 

Did you know?

Just before Christmas I was contacted by Alexandra Roberts, a college student here in Calgary who was looking for a practicum opportunity.  Following our conversation she is now a practicum student with Life Synergy for Youth, so you will see some changes coming soon with the presentations, slides, statistics, etc.  We are both really excited to be working together.

 

Family time:

As a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) I have the opportunity to listen to some amazing people.  I was able to meet one such person and asked her for permission to share the following as it really struck me.  These are things that we can all change in our day to day lives in the family and our workplaces.

When you were growing up did you ever hear any of the following?

Don’t be a know it all              Be happy with what you have             Be quiet

Keep peace at any cost            Don’t be too bright                                Be good

Do what you are told to do     You think you are so smart                 Why would you do that

You can’t do that                     We can’t afford it

What if you were raised hearing the following:

Be proud of who you are and what you know                        You make a difference

You are wise                            You are amazing                        You count

Trust that you will know what to do next                                Think big

You are amazing                      That was a great decision        Speak your truth

 

Testimonial of the month:

In January our Principal is meeting with our parent council and will propose to them that the money they raise from our Fun Lunch program be used to address mental health issues here at our school. One excellent way to address mental health issues is to have you do your sessions with our grade 8 students. So we would like to present to them what you do and why we think this is a great mental health initiative.

Teacher at a Junior High School