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Reaching Out conference building bridges among youth

Published on

Tara Jeffrey

A one-day, youth-led conference focused on mental health and wellness, now in its fourth year, is returning to Sarnia this month.

“The attendance every year just keeps growing, word of mouth is spreading, and people want to come back,” said Andraya MacMillan, event coordinator for Reaching Out, presented by Sarnia-Lambton Rebound.

“There’s so many people involved in the day — parents, caregivers, allies, professionals — but it’s really a youth-led, youth-engagement event. I’m just there to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.”

The youth and adult ally conference, held Saturday, March 18 at Great Lakes Secondary School for ages 12 and older, includes workshops, speakers and more — all with a focus on mental health, wellness, suicide prevention, local resources, and enhancing relationships with youth and caring adults.

“The youth have been planning eight different rooms with a focus on wellness,” said MacMillan, pointing to sessions on art, horticulture, dance and more, including a ‘Next Five Minutes’ room.

“Life gets tough, and it’s hard to get through those couple of minutes of being in a negative space,” she said. “So if we can get through that, in five minutes, we can really help change our focus.”

The event also includes guest speakers who will be sharing their personal stories, as part of Lambton College’s Let’s Face It group.

“That’s what makes the day really unique, because it’s youth ideas, so it’s really focused and dedicated to the concerns today from their viewpoint.”


What: Reaching Out conference

Where: Great Lakes Secondary School, 275 Wellington St.

When: Saturday, March 18, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Details: RSVP to Andraya MacMillan by March 15 at [email protected] or 519-344-2841


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