The Advisors are mentors who will provide Life Synergy for Youth with guidance in various areas when required. Some of these areas include but are not limited to: collection of quantitative data, funding sources & recipients, public relations campaigns, and much more.
I just wanted you to know, that today’s safety meeting was an absolute success!! Your presentation was incredibly touching, informative and eye opening. I believe his inspiring passion for this topic, was felt by all that listened to him today. I wish you could have been there! Dwayne, just a personal thank you from me, and from all of us who were lucky enough to hear you speak today, thank you very much.
Dwayne was able to create an amazing response within our entire school and especially within the groups of students that we worked with in the small-group sessions.
The program format that Dwayne uses is very simple, but as it is with many large-scale operations, these good results only come with a set of comprehensive and very carefully laid-out plans. Dwayne was involved in preparing us for what he hoped to accomplish in his week at Lindsay Thurber, for putting on an amazing week of work with the kids, and for answering questions and providing post-program support.
Our teaching staff reported a number of positive results that they were able to observe from this presentation. As an example, one teacher wrote, “Please know your efforts are appreciated. Working as I do with a minority population in our school, I am so proud you have chosen to take action. I am just a bit protective of ‘our kids’ and know that a lot of what Dwayne talked about affects them. We would be silly to think all of the things he talked about don’t happen in our school and within our community.” This program rings true with teachers and kids because the things Dwayne talks about DO happen.
Following the school-wide presentation, Dwayne worked in a small group format for the next four days. In groups of 25 students, which were prepared mostly in advance of Dwayne’s arrival, the main message of, “You don’t need to know someone’s story to have compassion, understanding and respect for that person,” was promoted. One participating student wrote me a note after spending a day with us in the small-group session, “First I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart! Today was really amazing! Feeling the group dynamic switch from strangers to friends was phenomenal. I feel such a connection with everyone who was in our group today, and I am really glad they’ve been brought into my life.” As a further testament to the power of these sessions, I had over one hundred student-contacts, looking for my counselling services, as a follow-up to these sessions. Remarkable!
If the results of the good work which was done in our small-group sessions was limited to impacting the small-group participants only, then this program might not have the potency that I am attributing to it. In contrast, I believe meaningful school-wide change came from this activity. In a follow-up to the program we had hundreds of “Random Acts of Kindness” recorded in our school, as we took note of what could happen in a community of 1700 students and adults if a positive focus was made.
Just as powerful was our student body’s reaction to a disgusting act of callousness which was promoted on the internet as kick-a-ginger day. On a school-wide announcement, one of our small group participants read the following words, “Yesterday we congratulated the students and staff of our school for recording 113 Random Acts of Kindness. Yesterday, as well, we are saddened to say that one student in our school reported that he was kicked by a multitude of students in what has been promoted as kick-a-ginger day. These acts of violence remind all of us that it is of utmost importance to RE-THINK our actions on a daily basis. Today, in the final day of our RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS campaign, we ask that you continue to promote kindness in our school, and that you take the time to record the wonderful things students and staff do for each other on a regular basis.” The school responded by recording over 200 acts of kindness.
I continued to receive a great number of e-mails, comments, and feedback from students, teachers, administration, parents, and staff about the differences that were being noticed in the students’ behaviours, demeanour, and in their choices. Following the Remembrance Day ceremony, it was noted that because of the work which was done with Dwayne Peace that our students’ behaviour at the assembly was better than ever. I cannot remember a presentation receiving so much feedback from such a wide array of staff, students, or parents.
– Brian J. Madill (B.Ed.; M.A.C.P.)
Counsellor Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School
Hello, just a quick note to say I appreciated the presentation. It is good to let the kids know that we as adults realize the difficulties of growing up in a complicated world and we acknowledge the challenges but we do not have to bend under these pressures if we are willing to recognize these situations and we are willing to change or get involved in making our school better than it was as we found it. Your presentation had high energy, laughter and music, 3 components that are essential in holding your audience’s attention.
I made you a promise that I would email you about everything going on in my life… I should most likely remind you who I am first though. My name is [name] you came and spoke at my High School on Thursday. I came up to you afterwards and you told me that you had your eye on me the whole time. The presentation you gave was mind blowing, everything you said to us, really sunk in. Usually we don’t bother to listen to speakers who come because they all say the same thing, but you really made everyone get into your speech. It was outstanding. I am sorry this email took so long, I guess I just put it off to long but I knew you were waiting for it, so here I am.
I just want to thank you (and school council) for having Dwayne Peace speak tonight. I was shocked and amazed by some things, I laughed and I cried (alot)… He is a wonderful speaker, and I really think that you should have him speak again. I wish I knew how great he was going to be, I would have brought friends. It is an incredibly tough topic but he presented it so well and I am glad the kids saw and heard what they did today too. Drugs are not something to sugarcoat or step around. My son, Erik, came home and was very emotional talking about the presentation. He said it really “hit his heart”, and it took a lot for him not to cry at school – but he sure did when we were talking… Thank you… so much.
Dwayne Peace is not named the way he is for no reason – This man has chosen such a path that delivers eye-opening, heart-changing and mind-washing ideas and fundamentals of peace to the peers he so exuberantly exerts himself towards. His enthusiastic and well-approachable words and context give glimpses of what life would and should be like, as a student, to have a harmonious and completely positive background to learn, and really, flourish in. School should be a place no one is afraid to attend!
Not only is he giving absolutely wonderful help, advice, and direction to students and even adults he presents to, he stresses that the choice of the person is the person’s to make..which really challenges one’s ability to look inside oneself for the right and good answer. It may be true, that through this challenge, peers may end up feeling atoned and even as new people!
Dwayne has the awesome power to make people see, and realize the goodness, compassion and understanding- everything good that must be replaced with the hate and negativity that is all-too-common throughout a considerable amount of schools and people’s lives today. Many people undoubtedly will be affected in different ways by Dwayne Peace, whether more or less intensely- it’s completely up to one’s ability to take in what he has to say. The way I see it- If used to its fullest, his words can be truly heart-altering in power, and completely enlightening. He proclaims compassion, for everyone, to anyone… Why, in most cases, must we only hold compassion and care for someone only when we know what they’ve been through, or who they are? One of the many fundamentals Mr. Peace sees through is the act of showing these qualities towards anyone, no matter who they are, if we know them or not.
The life lessons, the concepts for students and people to build upon… Everything that Dwayne Peace shows his peers has the potential to truly change and save lives- he truly acts as a beautifully strong light in the darkness. A visit and presentation from him holds this, and so much more..it is time amazingly well spent!
We invited Dwayne Peace to one of our schools in 2012 and in 2013 to speak with our grade 7 to 12 students. The three hour presentation was interactive and thought – provoking. What a positive impact on the students ! On top of that, the small group sessions were professional and solution-focused. The whole process has enabled the staff and students to have more authentic conversations and as a result, we established structures and processes in place to ensure regular student feedback and involvement. Students have demonstrated a higher degree of involvement and commitment to their school life and they are taking ownership of their learning.
September 10 was World Wide Suicide Prevention Day.
Thanks to a partnership with Cold Lake Bully Free and Assumption Jr./Sr. High School, Life Synergy for Youth’s Dwayne Peace facilitated an eye-opening presentation that shone a light on the sensitive subjects of bullying and suicide.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2009 Alberta had the fifth highest provincial suicide rate in Canada, behind Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Quebec.
The Alberta Center for Injury Control reported that in 2010 suicide was the leading cause of injury and death in Alberta, with just over 500 suicides.
Peace presented to students and teachers in the morning at Assumption and provided parents with a similar session in the evening at the Cold Lake and District Family and Community Support Services.
Peace touched upon various issues surrounding the topic of bullying. He focused on the different types of bullying, the traumatic short-term and long-term effects that victims endure and the extreme cases that lead to suicide or attempted suicide.
He also discussed the Amanda Todd case and other cases that reflected the detrimental effects of bullying.
“I think in Alberta it’s around the 500 mark every year for suicides. And that’s not just youth, but that’s the total number of suicides among all age groups,” said Peace.
Peace explained to his audiences that the most important message they can take away from the presentation is to understand that everyone has a story and they need to take the time to get to know that person’s story.
“If they really took the time to get to know another student’s story they’d have more compassion and understanding and respect for them. The problem is that they just don’t take the time. We need to come together as a community and we need to support each other,” said Peace.
Peace shared with his listeners the acronym THINK which he explained is an easy tool to increase empathy and reduce bullying.
“THINK is an acronym that stands for ‘is what you’re saying to somebody true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind’,” said Peace. “And if the answer is yes to all five of those, then go ahead and say what you were going to say. If the answer is no to one of them then don’t say it because you aren’t lifting up or supporting that person and there’s going to be a dig in there.”
Peace has been a facilitator with the Dare to Care program for the last 12 years. Prior to that, he was a police officer in Calgary for 25 years. Peace says that he has saved more lives within one year of doing these presentations than he did in his 25 years with the police.
“When you change and save as many lives as I have. How can you not do this? When you get calls from parents that are like ‘you saved my child’s life’ – it doesn’t get any better than that,” said Peace.
Peace hopes that his listeners continue to reflect on his presentation and help to spread the word and put an end to bullying and help prevent suicide.
“I think that parents spend a lot of time with a lot things in their lives and I know they’re all very busy but I would like to see parents more engaged, especially with the older kids. Right now the kids need them and they don’t think that they do but they do,” said Peace.
CREDIT: Written by Celina Ip., Circulated by the Cold Lake Sun on September 14, 2015
Our school is a small, special-setting school for students who are struggling with issues such as addictions, family conflicts, damaging peer pressures , and/or a variety of illnesses. During the past ten years, we have invited Mr. Dwayne Peace to speak to our students many times, and his presentations have always had a powerful impact on the youth. he talks to students about their choices and the effect those choices will have on their lives. Dwayne connects effortlessly with students, and they find it easy to listen to Dwayne’s message because of his dynamic and inclusive speaking style. Following a presentation, I frequently hear students around the school or in classrooms cuing each other on behaviour and choices by using some of the very same vocabulary used during the presentations. I am confident that Dwayne has been responsible for positive changes in the lives of many of our youth and that they will remember his words well into adulthood.More
Dwayne, Thank you so much for your efforts, caring and support for GHS. It is always an amazing week with you here. I know that the year will now be off to a good start and that many conflicts are on the way to being resolved. Much has changed here at GHS in the last ten years and it is because of people like you who do all you can to support and appreciate teenagers. Aren’t they truly wonderful beings – exasperating at times too! Please know that your words will live on this year as we get our new group going and have our reminder posters around the school. Do let us know when you are in our area again…we would love a visit and a reminder session! I will definitely remind our administrators of your amazing work.
Know that I so appreciate your positive nature and your optimism. You touch so many lives in such a remarkable way! Thank you for making a difference in all of my passion and efforts at GHS
– Aleeta Ploc, Principal