BEautiful ME

Sunday, March 17, 2019
Sturgeon Composite High School
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Welcome to Plugged In Community Centre. We’re a charitable organization out to make a difference!

Plugged In Community Centre Organization is working towards creating a facility that will house Plugged In programs and events that we are proud to bring to the community.  As well as provide affordable space to local organizations that offer inclusive programs and initiatives.

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How did you spend your Valentine’s Day?

February 15, 2019
How did you spend your Valentine’s Day? This is how mine went… My husband gave me $20 and said do something good. I thought it was a joke and a really lazy gift….but I carried on with my day and went to work. My first scheduled appointment was with a severe and complex needs family. I sat down at the kitchen table and listened to the mom and how her life is going, from financial stresses to BIG worries about the future for her son and how life feels like she is treading water in an uncertain ocean.  We shared, we laughed, and when she popped out to take her other kiddos to the bus I stayed behind with her son. I started to think about my husband’s challenge to do something good as an act of love on Valentine’s day. I began by doing her dishes, straightening up the toys and the living room, and then I sat down to spend time with her son and just be with him, without judgment and without a plan to work on his skills or behaviour, to just let him be him! Later on I headed out for my next visit at a daycare in small-town Alberta and decided I desperately needed a coffee. I ran into the gas station and found myself watching a gentleman who was clearly struggling, shaking and slightly unkempt as he went to pay for his two refillable coffee cups and was counting out change. I caught myself again hearing my husband’s challenge to do something good, a loving act for Valentine’s Day, so I stepped forward and said, “Stop, I’d like to pay for your coffee for Valentine’s Day.” He hesitated, then quietly said,  “Thank you.” He shrugged and looked at me and said nothing else but his whole being indicated he wanted to say thanks with a hug so I said “yes a hug for sure I’ll take a hug,” and as we hugged he apologized – I’m not sure for what; I imagine it was for not being what society deems as the norm.  He thanked me again and left. The clerk in the store thanked me and told me he was in there two times a day for coffee to keep warm, that he suffers from a brain injury and wanders about during the day.  I thanked her and asked her to take ten dollars to pay for his coffees until it runs out. She was grateful and assured me it would be gifted to him from his Valentine, and we smiled and wished each other well and to stay warm. I made it to the daycare and I laughed and played, entertained and challenged the kids to make marshmallow snowman… but what I also did was provide the extraordinary staff the opportunity to breathe and enjoy the extra set of hands. To me, it was another “Valentine’s gift” of appreciating what they do, who they are, and how they are giving their

8th Annual BEautiful ME

February 8, 2019
  Download the PDF LINK for more information.    

An Incredible Experience from Community Conversations

December 5, 2018
I just want to share the incredible experience that was Community Conversations tonight. Bailey shared her story the journey of losing her identical twin and then walking that dark road from self-destruction, self-medicating to self-awareness and opening up – healing is found in conversations with people that are really LISTENING, not to find words to make it better but to hear the pain and loss. She shared the impact that BEautiful ME had on her, allowing her to smile, dance and shine for the first time since the loss of her sister. Bailey expressed the missing in the supports and aftercare of someone that has lost a sibling to suicide and the unwillingness of the “professionals” to even provide an understanding about what suicide means, what happened to her sister! She shared the “what would make a difference” in the school systems about how to have those awkward and scary conversations, and also how to validate that this young person is really dealing with something, they are not a faceless, nameless problem – a thing to be swept away. A curriculum on mental health, bullying, suicide, is needed to start the conversations at a level where there is real daily struggles, comparisons and not fitting anywhere issues. She answered questions from the guests and shared how anxious she was, always checking in with her greatest supports her mom Natasha and her dad Greg, it is clear that they have all come on this journey together and they make it possible each day to survive their loss as a family. And even more incredible to share the reality and the pain so that their commitment to change things for youth can be heard and acknowledged! Jeremy Cummins was real and honest and authentically shared what circumstances lead up to a mental break down. He witnessed the aftermath of war while abroad helping to build a school in Africa, then when he came home he was on scene at not one but two fatal car accidents — he didn’t realize at the time what this would do to him emotionally! Jeremy was able to share what he saw as available in the community as a resource for him when he was struggling with his mental health and how he went from walking on the high-level bridge to end his life to a 4-week stay in the hospital. He shared that initial point of contact with a nurse that set aside the task of intake and really got connected to him and what he was going through, was the first bit of maybe there is hope! Jeremy shared the hospital stay and how so much of the work they did helped connect him to sides of himself he was unaware of; the mindfulness programs opened up a creativity and the connection to talking to others in the hospital that shared such similar stories, and the real concrete exit plan that the caregivers provided made Jeremy believe he had a story to share that

What I learned from guest speaker Vik Maraj at the Mini Conference: Shaping Conversations

November 9, 2018
From an attendee at our recent mini-conference featuring guest speaker Vik Maraj: I didn’t know what to expect from Tuesday night’s presentation. But I went in with an open mind, bringing my partner along to see if we could learn a fresh perspective on communication issues in our own relationship. Vik’s presentation was both down-to-earth and earth-shaking. He hit a few nails on the head: we all judge. We all think we ‘know’ another person and thus expect certain behaviours from them based on that knowledge. We don’t listen to understand but rather just wait until it’s our turn to talk so we can throw our opinion into the fold. So how do we change that? We actually approach communication from an authentic place that involves not only listening to the other person, but truly trying to understand where they’re coming from, even if we don’t agree. In essence, we “get it” -“it” being the nature of their point, the essence of their world view. He talked about authenticity and being honest. Other people can read your B.S. meter from a mile away. So don’t fake it. He explained why children are so free-they are constantly discovering things about the world without any preconceived notions, no judgements, no barriers. There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ question for a child to ask, yet we are constantly shushing them, embarrassed that they would have the gall to say ‘that woman is round.’ What is merely the observation of a curious mind becomes altogether something negative because of us. Instead of saying ‘that’s bad’ we need to change the conversation to ‘yes, you made an observation, but saying so out loud doesn’t work. Why? Because it can hurt a person’s feelings.’ You’ve not only made your point, but escaped the social constructs of shame and guilt. I am now much more aware of how I need to model my behaviour for my children’s’ sake, and how I need to approach disagreements with my husband from a perspective other than “I knew he was going to do that because that’s just how he is.” Perhaps if we all stopped for a moment to really practice some of Vik’s suggestions, we would be happier and more honest people. I encourage everyone to go online and watch his videos or see him in person. You will be surprised at how much you can learn about yourself. I, for one, am going to try my best to put what I’ve learned into motion.

BrainChild Event Date Announced!

October 29, 2018
  An annual event that offers children-in-need, whether vulnerable, disempowered or disengaged, the opportunity to discover a love of learning through multifaceted activities and community interactions. January 26, 2019 Servus Place, 400 Campbell Rd, St. Albert Plugged In is hosting our third annual BrainChild event January 26, 2019, in St. Albert at Servus Place!  This event provides 100 children-in-need, a one-day fall in love with learning through a series of hands-on activities.  This year will feature a variety of activities that will stimulate learning through, sports, mindfulness, cooking and guest experts to create hands-on academic fun!  The students will be treated to morning and afternoon snacks, lunch and a swag bag to continue building their curiosity in learning. We provide an inclusive and supportive environment for all children to experience success at this event. To register https://goo.gl/forms/HVLuYPN1bXXBCHiN2 100% of camp expenses will be paid for by the Sturgeon County, St. Albert, Edmonton, and area business community. You can sponsor children at $150/student. Sponsorship Levels: Gold: $2,250           •   Sponsors 15 kids           •   15 swag bags           •   AM/PM snacks           •   Lunch           •   Website Feature           •   Cheque Presentation           •   Nomination for Decal Award Silver: $1,500           •   Sponsors 10 kids           •   10 swag bags           •   AM/PM snacks           •   Lunch           •   Nomination for Decal Award           •   Website feature Bronze: $750           •   Sponsors 5 kids           •   5 swag bags           •   AM/PM snacks           •   Lunch           •   Nomination for Decal Award           •   Website feature Download pdf for more information > BrainChild pdf #PluggedIn #BrainChild