Re­bound fo­cus­ing on teens, healthy re­la­tion­ships

The Observer (Sarnia) - - NEWS - LOUIS PIN [email protected]­

As Cana­dian teens fully lean into dig­i­tal con­nec­tiv­ity with smart­phones and so­cial me­dia, the lo­cal youth drop-in “r.Lounge” through Re­bound is fo­cus­ing on build­ing healthy re­la­tion­ships.

Next Mon­day, the cen­tre will hold a drop-in event for teens ages 12 to 15 to ex­plore healthy re­la­tion­ships. With help from the Sar­nia-based Sex­ual As­sault Sur­vivors’ Cen­tre, lead­ers from Re­bound will help young teens iden­tify warn­ing signs in re­la­tion­ships, in per­son and on­line, and will give them tools to han­dle un­healthy re­la­tion­ships.

That could be be­tween teens or in fam­ily sit­u­a­tions said Sami Kameka, pro­gram co-or­di­na­tor with Re­bound.

“It can re­ally go from a fam­ily re­la­tion­ship to friends to a ro­man­tic (re­la­tion­ship). It doesn’t re­ally mat­ter,” Kameka said. “It’s just about hav­ing those guide­lines of what is healthy and what is not.”

The pro­gram fits into the theme of r.Lounge, which pro­vides a safe space for young teens in dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions. Kameka, 23, of­ten talks with those teens about is­sues they might feel un­com­fort­able telling their par­ents. The goal is to pro­vide them a safe space and to give them valu­able tools in the mean­time.

Un­der­stand­ing so­cial me­dia, in­clud­ing dat­ing apps, is im­por­tant to stay­ing safe on­line, Kameka said.

“It’s ba­si­cally, what I like to say, is ‘harm re­duc­tion,’” she added. “So giv­ing that in­for­ma­tion first hand and then youths are able to use that in their daily lives.”

Car­rie McEachran, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor with Re­bound, noted that on­line re­la­tion­ships don’t of­ten help build “valu­able life skills.”

“When you’re at home and you’re on the in­ter­net all the time, how are you build­ing those skills?” she said.

The healthy re­la­tion­ships work­shop will take place from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Mon­day af­ter­noon. The r.Lounge is open to all teens be­tween 12 and 15 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on week­days.

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