The Wolf Willow Well-being Team
Larisa has provided counselling support to youth and their families in a variety of professional settings for the 22 years. Compassionately supporting people who have experienced trauma, addiction, sexual abuse, exploitation and pain has been a passion of Larisa’s. She believes all people have a unique story, deserve to know they belong and to experience who they are beyond their story. She uses a cross-cultural, relational, mindful approach to support clients. She developed this approach borrowing from many field experts, Child and Youth Care practice, personal experiences with anxiety, depression, trauma and burnout, nature hikes, reiki teachings, meditations, yoga practices, academic literature, experiential insight from engaging with youth and their families, working with and exploring her own mindfulness practices and awareness. All of the aforementioned experiences helped Larisa to create her own mindfulness counselling methodology used in the Wolf Willow Well-being curriculum.
Nicole has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia University College of Alberta and a Bachelor of Education degree from University of Alberta. She has been employed as a classroom teacher in Carstairs, Alberta in Chinook’s Edge School Division for the past decade. Teaching is her calling and passion.
Her experience in the community includes working with special needs children through the YWCA of Edmonton and providing outdoor education to a variety of demographics for Shekinah Retreat Centre in Saskatchewan.
In 2014, Nicole experienced the burnout common to many teachers due to the high-energy-output teaching requires but is one of the causes of compassion fatigue and difficulty in achieving a sustainable work/life balance. She faced the difficult decision of quitting her calling or finding a way to make classroom teaching sustainable. Choosing the latter she sought help from a variety of health professionals along with engaging in self-study to find well-being practices to support her in her endeavor to teach AND maintain her health and well-being.
Nicole joined Wolf-Willow in 2015 to share these teacher-specific wellness practices with other teachers to help prevent their burnout.
Her personal goal is: “To live life fully and help others do the same in any way that I can.”
Jon has spent the better part of his adult life working with children, youth, and young adults. Professionally, he has spent the last eleven years working as the Director of Camp Valaqua, a non-profit camp committed to making a safe space for kids to play and grow. Jon’s decade of experience in mentoring young staff and working with a wide range of constituents has helped him hone his skills as a communicator. His deep commitment to community building has led him to serve as the President of the Alberta Camping Association, Treasurer of the Cremona School Enhancement Society, President of The Cremona Soccer Club and President of the Cremona Fire and Rescue Association. Jon also strives to better his community by working as a Volunteer Firefighter in his local department. Jon joined Wolf Willow Well-being to help First Responders to be better equipped to handle the challenges and stress associated with emergency situations.
Jon uses his gifts as a communicator and his experience as a first responder to help people identify signs of distress and to give simple and effective strategies to combat these difficulties.