It’s my understanding that Northern cardinals don’t migrate, which makes them a good bird to watch for signs of spring. Last weekend, a male cardinal sang outside my window all day. I figure the little guy was looking for a partner. Lucky him that he doesn’t have to physically distance. Meanwhile, our teens are being asked to stay away from one another in the name of safety, which means dating and making new friends are things that they are missing out on.
Dr. Marshall Korenblum, Medical Director at the SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health and a member of Greenwood’s Board of Directors, provided a session last week for staff regarding the impact that COVID-19 is having on teen mental health. It was incredibly informative and inspiring for staff, who continue giving it their all to make the best of very challenging circumstances for our students. Dr. Korenblum’s perspective gave us an even greater understanding of the challenges our students are going through, and provided additional tips for us to use to support students in the weeks ahead.
Dr. Korenblum also shared a letter from a 12 year old to her future self outlining all the lessons learned from the pandemic that she hopes to take with her moving ahead. While it can be hard to think about any positives to come out of COVID-19 while we’re in the thick of it, Audrey’s letter is one example of how young people’s perspectives have shifted based on their pandemic experiences.
Lori Houzer, our school social worker, has also played an integral role over this past year, particularly as a support to our students and their mental health. Lori has worked with Greenwood over the past 12 years and has been a key part of the caring team of adults supporting Greenwood students. Lori’s private practice continues to grow, and at the end of this school year, Lori will focus exclusively on her private practice. Lori cares deeply about our Greenwood students and asked me to relay the news of her departure so that it did not come as a surprise to anyone at the end of the school year. We are grateful to Lori for providing Greenwood with clinical knowledge, therapeutic skills, consultation and triage. Lori will continue her work with the students for the duration of the school year and will be sure to provide the students she works with the time and space for closure and transition.
The support Lori has provided to our students over the years has been invaluable. While Lori will leave big shoes to fill, we plan to bring a new social worker on board for 2021-2022 to continue to provide this critical support. I will update the community when I have news to share in this regard.