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Volunteer of the Month

Hi!  My name is Sian and I've been a volunteer here at Nova's Ark since the spring of this year. working mainly with the co-op students who are brought on to look after the animals as part of their college or high school work programs.
To give you an idea of my background so you better understand why at my age I would have chosen to spend my time here, horse riding was my passion when I was growing up.  I spent 14 years riding, competing and coaching as well as working weekends as a stable hand.  I've always had pets from fish to guinea pigs to rabbits to cats to dogs and yes, horses.  I currently foster cats and kittens until they find their forever homes.
I'm the the proud mother of a daughter who has followed in my horsey footprints.
After leaving the horsey world, I put in over 25 years in the corporate world without much time for anything else.  Upon departing that life, I had the opportunity to look at what I really wanted to do with my time and decided it was time to give back to the world and its people by volunteering my time.
Nova's Ark provided me the perfect opportunity to not only surround myself with a variety of amazing animals which I could communicate with, care for, and touch but also the honour of being around children, youth and adults of varied abilities. The environment I find for the most part very soothing and I'm proud to be part of Nova's Ark product offering, for it is run by an incredible team of volunteers, facilitators, placement students and of course Mary-Ann herself at the helm.
I know that my efforts here are appreciated and the outcome of my experiences are that I go home appreciating more than ever what I have.
Nova's Ark and its wonderful workers, guests and animals have taught me a great deal about myself and provided me with a happy place to spend my time.  My life has been forever changed by having the honour of volunteering at Nova's Ark.

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Communicating Emotions...

Just as our words communicate our thoughts and needs, emotions are also a form of communication.

Our actions and behaviours are reflective of what we are trying to communicate emotionally.  Communication can be effective or ineffective depending on how we use it and understanding of how words effect  others.  Emotional communication is the same.  Expressing emotions in a way that helps us to understand what we are feeling and why we are feeling that way can help to solve problems and deal with issues in a positive manner.

Nova's Ark is teaching our mentors and our guests how to recognize and express their emotions by using  Zones of Regulation.  The Zones are broken down into colours blue, green, yellow and red that reflect different types of emotions.  Guests and mentors are learning to develop emotional intelligence by naming their emotions by the colour, blue for tired and sad emotions, green for calm and ready to learn, yellow for anxious and overwhelmed  and red for anger and defensive emotions   Emotions can help us to understand what we are feeling, why we are feeling that way (our triggers) and ultimately to make good decisions that we assist us to deal with emotions in a positive way.

In "Emotions Matter" an article written by M. Brackett and D. Simmons (ASCD , Educational Leadership/ December 2015) the authors speak about "Emotional Intelligence". Teaching emotional awareness can according to the authors provide students with more positive outcomes in social functioning, psychological well being and higher cognitive performance.

In the article the authors ask 5 questions to discover emotional intelligence for educators:
  • Recognizing emotion.  How often do you pay attention to your emotions. What do you do to teach students to recognize emotions in the face, body and voice.
  • Understanding emotion. Are you aware of your emotional triggers? What makes you feel angry worried or joyful? How do you help students understand the causes and consequences of their emotions?
  • Labelling emotion.  How sophisticated is your emotion vocabulary?  How do you infuse emotion vocabulary into your teaching?
  • Expressing emotion.  Are you confortable expressing the full range of emotions - including happiness, sadness, anger and calmness- with your students?
  • Regulating emotion.  Which ineffective strategies do you use to regulate your feelings? How often do you teach your students helpful strategies to regulate emotions such as stress so that they can achieve goals.
Nova's Ark "Zones of Regulation "  is working to assist guests and mentors to develop these skills and support each other with skills of emotional intelligence.  Our goal is to  instill the necessary emotional skills to reach our guests full potential at Nova's Ark, in school, at home and in the community. 

Don't look now...

Daphne the Red Kangaroo
Hello! My name is Daphne and I live in "Australia" here with my friends. We are all different colours, shapes and ages, but we all live here together. In the winter we live in this great big house that is nice and cozy and warm and in the summer the doors open and we can play outside as well. We love to eat carrot tops, hay and grass. You may have noticed something a little different about me from the other kangaroos in here. I am missing my right foot. It had to be removed after I broke it really badly. Usually travelling to the vet as much as I had to would be too stressful for a kangaroo, but because of how safe I feel at Nova's Ark and how relaxed I am as a kangaroo, I was able to pull through. I can still get around now, but I much prefer to lie around in the sun and cuddle with guests who need me. 

Thank you for believing in and caring for Nova's Ark.

You have made a difference for so many.

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