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Pride staff complete counselling programme

Trained up: Samantha Smith, left, Lisa Brewster, Marina Sousa

Staff at a drug prevention charity have completed an international training course designed to help youngsters cope better at school.

Lisa Brewster, Marina Sousa and Samantha Smith of Pride completed the affiliate trainer course in the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies Programme and are now qualified to train school staff to help pupils with behaviour problems.

Ms Brewster, a programme co-ordinator, said she was introduced to the Paths curriculum when she started work at the charity three years ago.

She added: “The programme is evidence-based and proven in many jurisdictions across many countries. I attended a Paths conference and I realised how impactful the curriculum can be if it is embraced by the whole school.

“It becomes a culture for the school where custodians, teachers, administrators and students are all speaking the same language.

“This language produces kind, caring individuals who exercise self-control, empathy, and a thirst for being the best that they can be at whatever they set out to do.

“Training others and coaching them is like being the pebble dropped in the sea. The philosophy and practices will spread, just like the ripples in the ocean.”

Ms Sousa, programme facilitator and evaluator, explained that the Paths programme taught pupils how to speak about their feelings rather than have a physical reaction.

She said: “It gives them a voice.” Ms Sousa added: “My next step is to attain the next level of training so that I can train others in other jurisdictions all over the world.”

Ms Smith, programme supervisor, said: “I was able to see how important it was for the programme to be run by teachers, as opposed to an external agency.

“The power of the programme, when delivered as per design, is to change the culture of a school for the better. It will positively impact students, teachers and support staff alike.

“Knowing this I was really keen to work with the Pride team to make school-wide implementation happen in an economical and sustainable way.

“It is our goal to make Bermuda aware that Pride, as a substance abuse prevention organisation, is committed to building resilient, empathetic, social-emotionally aware, positive decision-makers.”

Truell Landy, interim executive director for Pride, said: “This means we have even more people who are able to teach the programme in more schools. It already exists in three and we have seen how it has a positive effect on students.”