Thank you to all the presenters who joined us at Empower Youth 2020!

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Dr. Kristin Buhr

•  November 21, 10:00 am  |  Opening Keynote: Effective Strategies and Resources for Helping Youth Manage Anxiety

Dr. Kristin Buhr is a Registered Psychologist and Director at the North Shore Stress and Anxiety Clinic.  She specializes in the evidence-based treatment of anxiety and mood disorders in adolescents and adults, and regularly provides workshops on mental health issues.  Dr. Buhr is a lead consultant for Anxiety Canada, where she has developed numerous self-help resources for adults, parents, and teens coping with anxiety problems, including My Anxiety Plan (MAP), an on-line anxiety management course, and MindShift CBT, a comprehensive anxiety management app.

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Jeff Willis

•  November 21, 3:00 pm  |  Taming Tigers and Slowing Down the Tasmanian Devils - Tools for Tough Times


•  November 22, 10:00 am  |  Keynote: The Characters We Play and Inspire - A Reality Check Story

As a skilled energetic facilitator, storyteller, youth worker and speaker, Jeff has spent nearly 30 years working with a variety of organizations using supportive, innovative and experiential techniques to improve team collaboration and community connections. His passion is derived from his breadth of understanding of experiential education, his various senior roles within the outdoor recreation industry, entrepreneurial endeavors and a committed community advocate.

Jeff currently resides in Richmond, and is the Owner and General Manager of Fireside Adventures, and is Course Director at Vancouver Outdoor School.

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Alyson Quinn

•  November 21, 1:00 pm  |  Trauma Informed Practices

Alyson has been an Adjunct Professor at UBC School of Social Work for 7 years, and has been a counselor for 30 years specializing in group therapy, trauma therapy, and conflict resolution. She is a Clinical Counselor with a Master’s degree from the University of British Columbia and a Diploma in Conflict Resolution from Royal Roads University. Alyson has taught students in a Trauma informed Counseling class, in a Group work class and also in an Integrative Seminar and has a great deal of experience as an Individual and Couples Counselor.

She is an author of 3 published books and a chapter. Alyson’s Pedagogy for an Integrative Practice is published in the text book Holistic Engagement: Transformative Social Work Education in the 21st Century. Her text book Experiential Unity Theory and Model: Reclaiming Your Soul published in 2012 is aligned with the principles of a Trauma Informed Practice.

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Brian Aasebo

•  November 22, 11:15 am  |  Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment (SAFE) Program

Brian is the City of Surrey's Community Safety Manager. He provides oversight for a few initiatives, most notably the Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment Program. Prior to his current role, he managed operations of the Youth Intervention Program, Restorative Justice Program, and Victim Services Unit with the Surrey RCMP. Before a career in management, Brian enjoyed a rewarding 10 years as a youth and family counsellor.

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Ibrahim Bolow

•  November 21, 11:15 am  |  Engaging Immigrant and Refugee Youth

Ibrahim is the co-founder and a youth leader of EdMeCo. He designs programs and leads initiatives such as mentorship programs so that young people can finish their schooling and get a head start on their career paths. He is also a student studying criminology at Douglas College.

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Robin Schooley

•  November 21, 2:00 pm  |  Keeping Young Workers Safe - In and Out of a Pandemic

Robin Schooley is part of the Young & New Worker team in Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) Consultation & Education Services at WorkSafeBC. Robin has a background in journalism and communications and brings those skills to educate youth and their influencers. Together with her team, Robin works to reduce injuries among new and young workers by raising awareness, creating empowerment and developing resources for youth, educators, employers and parents.

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Sheldon Franken

•  November 22, 2:00 pm  | The Beauty of Coping

Sheldon Franken (B.Ed, M.A.) is a school counsellor for the Vancouver School Board and the workshop facilitator and owner of Inquiry Adventures. Sheldon has presented workshops and Keynotes on active and experiential social-emotional learning to educational and wellness organizations across North America.


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Surrey Leadership Youth Council

•  November 22, 1:00 pm  |  Youth Engagement in Changing Times

Surrey Leadership Youth Council (SLYC) members Aisha Kausar, Anmol Parhar, Neil Imada and Simar Vashisht will share their ideas on ways to keep youth engaged.

SLYC is an awesome youth leadership group that helps youth speak up and have their voices heard, with the support of the City of Surrey. Members of SLYC are motivated to empower young people to share their thoughts, opinions, and ideas about their community.

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Tamara Sykes-Yarwood

•  November 22, 2:00 pm  |  Engaging with Apps, Avoiding the Traps (co-presenting with Yvonne Gomez)

Tamara Sykes-Yarwood, Dipl. CYCC, is a student at Douglas college and an activity leader for the Boys and Girls Club of South Coast BC. Tamara actively looks for new ways to engage with and support the young people she works with while trying to incorporate digital platforms into her practice.

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Yvonne Gomez

•  November 22, 2:00 pm  |  Engaging with Apps, Avoiding the Traps (co-presenting with Tamara Sykes-Yarwood)

Yvonne Gomez M.S.W.,  is Faculty at Douglas College in the Child and Youth Care program.  She describes herself as both tech-curious and phobic!  Yvonne sees the value of developing practitioner's understanding of digital citizenship - particular with the children and youth we work and support.