NARAMATA—In mid-February, 58 teens, young adults and adult volunteers gathered in Naramata to experience the Motivating the Teen Spirit (MTS) workshop, thanks to sponsorship from CUPE 608, Okanagan Mainline District Council and the CUPE BC Women’s Committee. Participants of all ages and backgrounds – youth in care, youth in crisis, peer counsellors and ‘A-students’ – came from throughout the Okanagan. They left happier with themselves and with skills to improve their lives, behaviors, choices and futures.
CUPE members Lisa Gilhooey (CUPE 608), Jean Frolek, (CUPE 523), Brent Soroka (CUPE 338) and Kim Sarada (OMDC/CUPE BC Women’s Committee) volunteered their time and energy for the condensed 4.5 hour workshop.
MTS has been running in the United States for 17 years. The program was created by world-renowned transformational speaker Lisa Nichols. CUPE 608 member Marilyn Mottola was the first Canadian certified to facilitate the program. Since the first two workshops in 2009, demand has been high for more. It’s a constant struggle to raise needed funds and Mottola is grateful to CUPE.
“CUPE members have once again stepped up and demonstrated active involvement in making a positive difference,” says Mottola. “Youth in crisis find a voice and find hope.” Mottola has worked on the program with teens and families for over 30 years and says that results of the program are remarkable.
“Over and over again I hear from parents, social workers, teachers, school counsellors how attending our workshops has created unmistakable positive changes for their youth. Teens (and adults too!) share things in the safety of our rooms that they have never shared before.
“Youth who are doing well improve their communication and leadership skills. I have witnessed so many life changes.”
The program is adaptable for all needs and populations. Community Living BC sponsored two workshops in the Okanagan last year for special needs young adults.
With funding support from CUPE BC, plans are in the works to present this workshop in Prince George and Vancouver this May.
If you are interested in helping to organize a workshop in your community, getting a teen to a workshop or sponsoring a workshop contact Marilyn at [email protected] or 250-488-0656.