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Supporting Students with Safe Spaces

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With the new school year underway, the students are faced with new challenges. Fortunately, they have many opportunities and resources on campus if they are feeling overwhelmed. Ms. Dawn Nordin, School Counsellor, is someone the Middle and Senior School students can reach out to when they have questions or concerns.  “School counselling can look a lot of different ways, and I’m learning this,” she said. “It can be talking about the big stuff that is happening and working through that, or come and tell me about your day. This is a safe space. Come and tell me about your successes or things you don’t feel successful about…sometimes it’s just chatting and sometimes it is leaving something heavy here where I can hold it.”  This year there are two student-led initiatives in the Senior School that Ms. Nordin is sponsoring. These are the Pride and Equality Club and the Wellness Club.  “With the Pride and Equality Club, we are building on our strengths and bringing more information into the school to support all students from the LGBTQ2S+ community and their allies. This will be an action based club and social club within the framework of SOGI 123” she explained.  “The group is also working on projects to promote social justice and awareness of other important topics.”  The Wellness Club have their first meeting next week.  This aims to be action-oriented with students engaging and educating their peers about mental health, wellness and stress reduction.  “The Wellness Club is hoping to share resources within the school…they may do small workshops on stress relieving techniques as well as continuing our commitment to the destigmatization of mental illness,” she said.  Ms. Nordin is also going into some classrooms to offer skills-based lessons on stress reduction and how to cope with uncertainty.  It is COVID-19 specific, in that it addresses challenges related to the experiences of disconnection from one another and from the larger community. Students are always welcome to come and chat with Ms. Nordin. If they have questions, concerns or are looking for resources, she is always here to help.  “I try to make this space as accessible as possible,” she said. “If my door is open and I’m here, please come on in. Otherwise students, parents, caregivers and teachers can contact me by email or by phone.”    Ms. Nordin can be reached via email at,  or by phone at 250-370-6827.  Additional resources can be found on the GNS Wellness Website that was created and is maintained by Ms. Nordin and Ms. Lara Feldman (School Counsellor, Junior School).