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Welcome to summer!

 

The weather has been fantastic! Summer-mode has definitely arrived and is more than welcome. My hope is all of you are able to share some quality family/friend time and feel the transition of the seasons. We may have to wait for the calendar to declare summer has arrived however the sense of summer can arrive whenever we want.

 

This past week was declared Police Week and what a week a week it was. The position I hold at GSPS and the Community Mobilization Unit where I am housed are actually build on the work I was blessed to engage in during my years in the field of education. The specific events I was a part of resonated and reminded me life is about connection, engaging, and believing. No matter where I find myself for the remainder of my days on my path; I am convinced the activities and people will remind me a purposeful life is intentional and necessary for a healthy loving heart.

 

Throughout today’s missive highlights will be shared of my experiences and I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the individuals who masterfully organized each and every one of them. If you are a person who has organized an event, you are well aware of the time, energy, synchronization, struggle, patience, coordination, doubt, attention to detail, and last minute… To all of you who led, pitched in, and attended – Thank you.

 

The official opening was set on the football field at St. Charles College and included students from both St. Charles and Holy Trinity. Students had an opportunity to interact with members of the service, observe demonstrations, enjoy fun activities, share a meal, and have fun. Schools are still places to bring community and education together to ensure young people there is a possibility of an optimistic future.

 

Tuesday Mkwa students, officers, and community members celebrated the 11th year of the program. When the students arrived for orientation you could hear a pin drop in the line up room. They were present and ready to participate, yet a little hesitant to speak up. At the celebration evidence that the officers and the students bonded during the program was clearly evident. Sharing stories, laughter, and enthusiastic energy filled the room. Mkwa is one of those transitional opportunities that keeps on giving to what is possible for creating and building healthy hopeful relationships. As the Student Success Leader for Rainbow, I was selected by Superintendent Slywchuk along with Bonnie Depencier to work with Greater Sudbury Police Service and GSPS Aboriginal Police Advisory Committee to create the program. And to be frank and honest, Cst. Grant Dokis has been a driving force since its inception and most likely the primary reason Mkwa still thrives. Because of his commitment, effort, ability to engage people, and belief this program is a positive way to bring the Indigenous youth and police officers together, Mkwa is embedded in best practice for the Service. Thank you, Grant.

 

Friday morning, thanks to Paula Wharton and Bela Ravi I was once again a facilitator at table for new Canadian citizens. Before officially becoming Canadian citizens there is an opportunity for everyone to meet and chat. Listening to the stories captures the imagination and wonder. I am second generation and when I hear what brings people to Canada, I think of my grandparents choosing to leave their home to emigrate. Canada is a land of opportunity and each person in the room fully wants Canada to be their home. The reasons they came differ. For some, they now have two homes. For some, they now have a home. The weather became a source of humour at our table as everyone arrived from a warm or should I say hot country. All of the stories spoke of being welcome. One of the people who sat at my table last year was a facilitator this year. Three of the people who sat at my table last year are still in my life this year. (The others didn’t live in Sudbury-lol). With each new Canadian the fabric of our country becomes richer and I am so blessed to be a part of this celebration. Thanks again, Bela and Paula.

 

Now the moment I eluded to weeks ago – the Community Mobilization Unit practised for weeks to participate in Lockerby Composite School’s “So You Think You Can Lip Sync?” Contest. Three teams stepped up – students, teachers and CMU. Each team performed to two songs. What an absolute ball!! And I must point out, Confederation and Sudbury Secondary had a hand in the production. Lights, sound, video, judges!! Collaboration, Cooperation, Talent, Vision, Patience, Attention to Detail, Trust – some of the many factors in the success of the day! Our team’s first act began with ‘Bad Boys’ and morphed to ‘Sorry’. The second act truly showed our talent with Bruno Mars, ‘Uptown Funk’. And with all that said, the most important person in the audience for me was Leila who sat in the front row to watch her TiTi. Part of me wishes she had been with me during my education years, so she can get the true essence of my silly side to connect to young people and my inner child. The fact is she is with me when she is supposed to be, so she gets glimpses of what I did during my years in education and is exposed to different opportunities as I continue to grow and learn.

 

 

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About The Author

Anna Barsanti is a retired educator who is sharing the experiences of raising her niece.

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