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HomeNewsHazelton Secondary and the power of paint

Hazelton Secondary and the power of paint

Photo Courtesy: CMSD82 Quarterly Bulletin

No matter where you are in the Bulkley Valley and Lakes District, life can be stressful at times, especially for students.

That is why First Nations Support Worker, John Alexander, has implemented the Student Painting Therapy Program.

“In my role as a First Nations Support Worker at Hazelton Secondary School, I work with students who have distractions that prevent them from focusing on their education in a formal manner. These distractions can range from chronic depression to a death in the family or a difficult home environment that impedes family members to render support for these students. With my traditional background in the Gitxsan way of life including spirituality to support these students, we reached out to them through painting Gitxsan designs, which I drew for them, while following the strict guidelines to complete top quality Gitxsan designs.”

Alexander says since implementing this program, he has received nothing but good feedback.

“It was an ideal situation to discuss their issues amongst one another; a place for students to sort out feelings and express experiences in a creative way. If students felt more comfortable, they would confide in me. Through this calming and spiritual process, I was able to help students understand their personal barriers that prevented them from moving forward in life.”

Alexander provided a story in which a students life was impacted by this program.

“One of my students was grieving for a loved one. Through Gitxsan spirituality learnings, I was able to point out to this student that her loved one’s spirit is always with her, building and protecting her towards success, and to no longer feel abandoned. Another student wondered why she was always depressed from an early age. Ensuing conversations and spiritual reflection enabled this student to become aware of the root of her depression and why she suffered from this debilitating condition. She took control of her depression and moved forward focusing on her education. Now she is fully functional in all her classes and plans on pursuing a career in the Culinary Arts.”

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