Dear 16 year old me…

Hey Again,
                  We began our first program with the grade 4/5 class at Rideau Elementary School in February. I could have never imagined I would establish such a wonderful relationship with these children in such a short amount of time. We focused a lot on the effects of smoking and ways to say no. In one of our concluding lessons I had the grade 4s write a letter to their 16 year-old-self to review everything they learned thus far. The students all took this task extremely seriously, and their teacher intends on recommending this idea to other teachers at Rideau. In their letters they explained the long term effects of smoking, they wrote how to say no if someone offered, and they reminded themselves they wanted to live long, smoke-free lives. One student wrote, “I hope you never smoke, I hope we don’t get lung cancer. We both don’t want that. So promise me you won’t smoke, please. We have been learning about smoking and I know I can trust you to remember.” These were very touching letters to read, if I have influenced just one student to never smoke, than that is enough for me! On our very first day Emily and I asked the class, what a healthy life meant to them. We decided to re-ask this question on the last lesson and found that their answers had changed dramatically. They included healthy relationships, not bullying, sleeping, eating well, exercising, and not smoking. QHO was very effective in this classroom and is welcomed back next year!
Bethany xoxoxo

Health Buddies Bid Farewell!

It is with great sadness to report that we said good bye to our wonderful health buddies at Central Elementary School last week. We started off the year with a strong nutrition focus, and then covered topics including smoking, substance abuse, and bullying. This class was extremely interested in discussion and always had incredible contributions to make. They were born performers, and loved to act out peer pressure scenarios. They were all so adamant that smoking was a habit they would never start! When discussing bullying, they learned the concept of ‘bystander.’ They admitted never realizing how important witnesses are, so we brainstormed ways bystanders could help. We also discussed conflict resolution; our theme was ‘two wrongs don’t make a right.” The bulling discussion was so successful we literally ran out of time, each student had so many things to say!  To end off the year we had two hip-hop dancers come to the class and teach them some sweeeeet moves. Each student was so excited to participate; there was a dancer inside each one of them! When we left the classroom, each student gave us a hug and demanded we come back to visit soon. Their teacher, Ms. Fitzgerald, pulled us aside after class and explained how effective the QHO program was for her class. Each student was so vibrant and unique, they have truly impacted Luzha and I. I honestly believe they will lead healthy and happy lives!
Much Love,

Farewell to Frontenac

Oh hey there!
We had a great year teaching health to our grade 6, 7 and 8’s at Frontenac Public School.
We taught several different topics such as Media Literacy, Body Image, Substance Use & Abuse, Stress Management, and Mental Health with a large focus on Self Esteem.
Last Thursday we had our last day with the kiddies and spent the hour playing a re-cap game of jeopardy.  We split them up into four teams and they easily showed how competitive they were and ready to work as a team to win some delicious gummy bears (treats are okay in moderation!!)!
We were really impressed with how much knowledge they had retained, even from the very first week of class in November.  Making learning a competition was very useful with this class and they were very eager to participate in the game. 
Next week we will be taking them to the Boiler Room to enjoy a morning of rock climbing and hanging around ;)!!!!
We had a BLAST this year with the kids and couldn’t have asked for a more rowdy, fun, and sassy bunch.  We can’t wait for all the fun we are going to have at rock climbing and hopefully again next year!

Kisses & Hugs,

Megan xo
With love from Ron & Julia 

A picture’s worth a thousand words

Paul and I hold our Limestone class very close to our hearts. As we look back on our time at Limestone, we feel that each and every student has taught us more than we could have imagined. It is with an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia that we highlight our past year with this wonderful class.
Our first day at Limestone: we had no idea what to expect. We taught nutrition and ways to eat healthy on a budget. We were nervous but Tammy (the teacher in the classroom we visit each week) and the students were welcoming and had a lot of good questions for us- some that even the health expert Paul had to look up! Our first day taught us that we need to prepare background information on every lesson we teach at Limestone, because are were going to have questions (and excellent questions at that)!
Another highlight of the year was when we discussed positive thinking and positive self-talk, an intro to mental health. It became apparent that we were perhaps “preaching” the importance of positive thinking with out realizing many of the students heard this all before –  in therapy.  We listened to some heartfelt stories we will never forget and we also learned a lot about preaching vs. peer educating. We came back from this lesson with a new spin on teaching, discussion-based learning and encouraging students to write down their personal stories rather than share them in front of others. This helped drive the discussion in a positive direction, rather than dwelling on hardships.
This class is so special because even though the students are all different ages and backgrounds, they all respect and care for each other. We spent many lessons discussing ways to improve one’s mental health, which incorporated a lot of physical health practices. They really appreciated learning simple tips and offered advice to whom ever was speaking about a challenge they faced in their every day lives. They even helped me quit my incessant diet coke drinking!
Paul and I found it so refreshing to see such cooperative teamwork and it is quite clear that Tammy, the teacher, has a lot to do with this. Tammy is a remarkable person because with her optimism, encouraging words and open-mindedness, she has a master key to each mind in her classroom. Her students trust her, appreciate her and without doubt, respect her. We are so grateful for all the teaching skills Tammy passed on to us, whether she intended to or not! Thank-you Tammy.
For our last lesson, we decided to put our health tips into action! We brought a huge canvas and painting supplies and let the students paint whatever they felt in an effort to provide the students with a healthy outlet for their emotions. They loved it. They gained confidence with each brush stroke and commented on how they felt like a kid again. It was funny to see them so quietly concentrated when they are usually a very talkative class! Word of our outreach project spread through the halls and some other teachers and staff members joined in. It was the perfect day. We will miss these students and Tammy more than we can put in words and we thank Maddy and Madison for the special opportunity to teach at Limestone. 

Smiles for miles & miles,

Paul & Julia 

Hey Everyone! 

My name is Bethany and I am a proud peer educator for a grade 4/5 class at Rideau Public School! Afterour first lesson we decided the students would benefit from splitting up the grades in order to satisfytheir grade requirements more effectively. This smaller student-to-teacher ratio has made the lessonsso valuable because we get to know each of the children we teach. I am teaching the grade 4s andwe have been working hard to learn all the harmful effects of smoking. Last week we discussed howsmoking companies persuade youth to buy cigarettes. By examining numerous smoking advertisements we concluded no matter what they say, SMOKING IS NOT COOL! The students are so eager to show how much they know about smoking that they worked in groups to produce wonderful anti-smoking posters. These posters will be completed this week and will be posted up in the hallways of Rideau Elementary School. This week we will be practising how to say NO, with different role playing activities. This class isfull of leaders, and are excited to teach others about everything they know about leading a healthy life. One student promised to not include any scenes of smoking in his future movie producing career, haha! While another promised to discourage his little siblings from smoking. I look forward to spending time with this vibrant class every week and can’t wait to see how they respond to the next lessons with me!!

My name is Emily and I am a Peer Educator with Bethany in a grade 4/5 class at Rideau Public School.  I just joined the project about a month ago and I’m so happy to already have the opportunity to meet students.  Currently, I have been teaching the small group of grade 5’s in the the class about alcohol.  It’s been really great to get to know all of the kids well.  Last week we talked about the effects of alcohol on the body.  The kids got to experience how alcohol can make people lose control of their actions by wearing some homemade “drunk goggles” and trying to do some normally easy tasks while they were dizzy or had impaired vision.  We also played a matching game where the students categorized the effects of alcohol into “long term”, “short term” or “both” and talked about what all of the effects meant.  This week, we learned about why some people choose to drink, and how we can safely and assertively decline alcohol if someone is offering it to us.  The students acted out different scenarios where they were being pressured to drink alcohol but successfully declined.  These lessons were the first introduction the students had to this topic and they were really involved in learning about it and were really keen to show the different ways they could turn down drinking.  Next week we’re bringing the grades back together to start their introduction to puberty; stay tuned for updates !!

Hi guys!

Hello There! 

Welcome to our first blog post from Central 4/5! Our names are Alison and Liora and we’ve been working with the great kids of a Central Public School 4/5 classroom since October. Topics we have already covered with the kids are nutrition and hygiene. For teaching about nutrition, we focused in on healthy foods vs. ‘sometimes’ foods and portion control. As an activity, the kids drew their favourite healthy meals on paper plates and we all took turns presenting! The classes that we taught hygiene were related to puberty. One fun activity that we did with the kids was when we talked about the importance of washing hands! The kids wore rudder gloves and we gave them a dab of paint, which we all pretended was soap! The kids then pretended to wash their hands, covering their whole hands with the paint! They were amazed at how hard it is to cover both hands with ‘soap’!
The kids always have amazing questions, and whatever we do not have time to answer in class, we let the kids write their questions in an anonymous question box and we answer all of their questions at the beginning of the following class.
 In the next few weeks we are excited to be teaching the kids about a topic that they have not been taught in school yet- smoking cessation and tobacco! Topics that we will cover include second-hand smoking, ingredients in a cigarette, and addictive properties.
Goodbye for now!

Alison & Liora


Limestone Continuing Education

Hello everyone!
My name is Julia and I am a M.Sc Genetics candidate and my co-writer Paul is a fourth year health major, both at Queen’s University. We are peer educators for Limestone Community Education Centre, a place where people of all ages and abilities can earn their secondary school diplomas and other life skills.  
Our lessons are focused on health education for adults and tips for improving the quality of one’s life. Because health encompasses many different topics, we mainly focus on nutrition, mental and sexual health. Our style of teaching is more discussion-based than lecture-based because we find it more effective for adults to contribute their ideas and brainstorm. This also allows us to gauge where there may be gaps in their health education background, so we can strive to fill in those gaps in future lessons. This past week we taught the power of positive thinking, and we had a good response from the class. Some sub-topics included the health benefits of positive thinking and how to think in a more positive way.
The health benefits of positive thinking
Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. 
  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
How to behave in a more positive and optimistic way:
  • Identify areas to change.
  • Check yourself periodically during the day.
  • Be open to humor.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Practice positive self-talk.
Next lesson we plan on diving a bit deeper into mental health and overcoming stigmas associated with mental health disorders.
Smile at yourself today J
Until next time,
Julia and Paul  

Welcome to the first blog post by Central Public School’s ¾ class, we are the health buddies! Our names are Bethany and Luzha and we’ve been having a wonderful time planning lessons and interacting with our class since October. Originating from the wonderful university of Queens, we are both in third year and have smoothly been accepted into the circle of ¾-dom thanks to Bethany’s long blonde hair and my ( Luzha’s) on/off wearing of glasses, truly stimulating topics for our buddies.
            Our focus in the classroom has been on topics like healthy eating, nutrition and maintaining physical activity in order to stay healthy and fit. This has involved leading discussions about Canada’s food guide, the four food groups and doing activities like drawing healthy and balanced meals. We have been working in conjunction with the ¾ Health and Science teacher and much of our activities have been complementing nutrition lessons that have been taugh. We reinforce concepts in easy and fun ways, for example we played nutrition jeopardy in class today.
            Our last lesson introduced food nutrition labels and we played a matching game with everything that can be found on a label. It was a fun way incorporate their previous knowledge on labels and introduce some new concepts like calories, saturated and unsaturated fats! Can you think of something more fun than knowing how healthy your snacks from Metro are? We DEFINITELY CAN’T ! And our buddies felt the same passion for these topic as us.

Our next class is shaping up (currently in the planning process) to be just as thrilling and informative

Luzzi and Beth!

Hey there! 

 My name’s Megan & I’m a third year health and psychology student here at Queen’s! Since joining QHO in October I’ve been hard at work preparing lessons, practicing teaching and starting up teaching lessons in a combined 6/7 & 7/8 classroom at Frontenac Public School. Along with two of my colleagues (Kayleigh and Ron), I’ve been heading into FPS once a week since the middle of November – we’ve been having fun and learning how to living healthy! 

Last week we did a very basic overview of Substance Abuse focusing on the knowledge the students already had.  We began with a discussion on illegal, legal or substances that became legal at a certain age.  We then looked at specific substances and categorized them.  We spent a large portion of the class playing “Substance Abuse Bingo” which involved substance names, or ways of administering drugs.  After each word was called students categorized it and told us any information that they already knew about it.  This helped us all familiarize ourselves with the terminology.  Class ended with the question box.

This week we focused on the definitions and differences between Use, Abuse, Addiction, Tolerance, Withdrawal and Overdose.  We worked in six discussion groups.  Each group was given a word that they had to define and provide examples of.  One student would present this to the class and then the PE’s would elaborate.  We moved onto a scenario activity.  Groups were given 10 different scenarios and had to discuss whether this depicted USE, ABUSE or ADDICTION; we then presented and discussed.  The rest of the lesson involved discussions between the PEs, teachers and students around Prescription Drug Abuse and Steroids with connections to the media, celebrities and sport.  Class ended with the question box which gave GREAT feedback.
In the next few weeks we will be delving further into the general topic of substance abuse, with specific lessons dedicated towards illegal substances and their effect on the body and differences between them.

I’ll keep you posted!

It’s Nice To Meet You…


Welcome to the Queen’s Health Outreach Kingston Project blog for the 2012-2013 school year. It’s here that you’ll find out about all the exciting lessons, events and workshops our amazing Peer Educators (or PE’s as we like to call them) have been planning and implementing in six Kingston schools and community groups. Check back with us regularly so you don’t miss out on all the awesome. 

So, who are the fine folks that run the QHO Kingston Project? Well there’s us, Madison & Maddy (or Madsas we often refer to ourselves), the Project Directors. Aside from the logistical and managerial aspect of the Project, we’re also the ones who selected 10 of Queen’s University’s finest to be Peer Educators throughout the 2012-2013 school year. It’s thanks to this dedicated bunch that QHO Kingston is able to have such a profound impact on the youth in the Kingston community.

(Top Left) Peer Educators: Ron, Bethany, Megan, Alison, Luzha (Middle) Vivian, Kayleigh, Paul, Liora (Bottom) Project Directors: Maddy, Madison (Missing) Julia

These guys and gals have been hard at work since the middle of October coming up with interactivefun and effective ways to approach health education in classrooms at Central Public School, Frontenac Public School,  Rideau Public School, Limestone Continuing Education and a Girl Guides group. Through discussion, activities and games, the PE’s provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions regarding their personal health and lifestyle both now, and in the future.

Like we said, our PE’s will be filling you guys in regularly about all the teaching, learning and project happenings throughout the year – and trust us, they will have lots to say!! 

On that note, we would just like to say thank you for stopping by, we really appreciate your interest. All the QHO projects are made possible thanks to the enormous out pour of support from community members, sponsors, donors, friends and family – you guys rock!

That’s all for now,


P.S If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail us at