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Onarga Academy’s Youth Council has been busy at work. From planning trick-or- treating events to handling the hard issues on campus, the group of youth representatives have been collaborating with staff to increase fun and safety among clients. Youth Council, led by Youth Care Professionals Luis Medina and Abby Weaver, organized a trunk-or-treating event the Friday before Halloween. Rain forced the event indoors; instead of going from trunk to trunk of each car in the parking lot, program staff decorated conference room tables for youth to visit for sweet treats. “As long as the kids are safe, I want them to have more opportunities to just have fun and be kids,” said Medina. In the past couple of months, Youth Council also hosted an empowerment speaker, as well as a picnic complete with inflatables on the quad. A main goal of the group is to bridge the gap across programs and increase understanding; beyond the school day, youth typically only interact with peers on their programs. Youth Council hopes to plan fun, cross-program activities that all youth can participate in. In addition to pure fun, Youth Council also focuses on decreasing bullying among youth, and helping youth understand safety plans. It is also a venue for youth to bring concerns forward. “I wanted to give the boys a voice and an opportunity to bring concerns to staff,” said Medina. “We need to help them learn to communicate problems without bashing anyone, and instead, work to find solutions.” ONA CELEBRATES EMPLOYEES WITH WELLNESS WEEK Onarga Academy staff followed the yellow brick road to health during Staff Wellness Week. Staff participated in various activities, from the quarterly Birthday Bash to a catered lunch. Once again, the chair massages proved to be the most popular activity for staff, allowing them time to sit back and relax. Administrative staff delivered surprise goodie baskets to each department throughout the week, and the activities ended with drawings for multiple wellness-themed raffle prizes. 15 | NOV/DEC 2018 Youth Council Brings Big Fun EMDR TRAINING PART II COMING TO ONARGA PDI The second part of the two-part Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy Training will be coming back to the Professional Development Institute on March 8, 9, and 10, 2019. Keep an eye on www.OnargaPDI.org for more information. Rain didn’t stop the Halloween fun at ONA. Staff set up and decorated conference room tables, and the kids went from station to station, receiving treats. Administrative Director Mike Tilstra showed a youth how to play one of the Halloween games. Staff pose as characters from the Wizard of Oz during Wellness Week.


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