Life in Balance

Through this online art blog/gallery we can encourage, inspire and share hope with one another…We invite who you to share your “NAPS” (News, Art ,Poetry, Songs) or inspirations. Email if you would like to share inspirations. Please note we can not post advice with regards to nutrition and exercise.

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Celebrate inaugural First Responders Day

Source: MPP Frank Klees website

Mark April 30 and May 1 on your calendar and plan to participate in one or all of the events that have been scheduled in support of the inaugural First Responders Day.

Why? Because if you believe as I do, that first responders deserve to be honoured, recognized and supported for their service to our community, then you will want to be part of these inaugural events.

You may recall that I proposed a Private Member’s Bill in the last session of Parliament to proclaim May 1st of each year as First Responders Day. The purpose of that Bill was to raise awareness of the daily sacrifices these men and women and their families make, to ensure that our communities, our province and our country is the safest place in the world to live and to raise a family.

I’m pleased to report that the bill, “An Act to Proclaim First Responders Day” received Royal Assent on December 12th, 2013Bill 15 designates May 1st of each year as “First Responders Day” in the Province of Ontario.                              

Queen’s Park Tributes

A number of events have been planned for the inaugural First Responders Day. At Queen’s Park, time will be set aside immediately following Question Period when a representative of each of the three political parties will pay tribute to first responders. I will have the honour of presenting the tribute on behalf of the PC Caucus.

Invitations have been extended to all first responder services in the province to send representatives to be present in the legislature when the tribute statements are presented. We have already received many responses from across the province confirming attendance and we expect that the galleries will be at capacity for this special parliamentary tribute.

Jazz Bistro Event in Support of First Responders

On April 30th, the Eve of First Responders Day, a special celebration of first responders will take place at the popular The Jass Bistro Details. The event has been organized by “United by Trauma”, an amazing group of volunteers who are raising funds to sponsor trauma therapy dogs for First Responders who have been affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Pace Credit Union is sponsoring this event that will not only kick off the inaugural First Responders Day celebrations, but will also raise funds for a most worthy cause.  

York Region First Responders Day Celebrations

On May 1st, Boston Pizza Flyer in Newmarket will be hosting a First Responders Evening, also in cooperation with “United by Trauma”. This event will begin at 6 pm and will feature live entertainment, a special menu and the opportunity to meet many of the men and women who serve as first responders in our community.

Among the special guests will be the winners of the student essay contest that I announced a number of weeks ago. Students in the three categories – elementary, secondary and college/university were asked to submit their thoughts on why first responders are important to our communities. The contest rules were distributed through the York Region school boards and essays will be judged by a panel of first responders. The winners will be awarded their prizes at the event.

I want to thank Brock Weir, Editor of The Auroran for offering to print the winning essays in a future edition of this newspaper. Watch for them.

Many community leaders have already confirmed that they will be attending this event, and I encourage you to join with them to express your personal support to the men and women whose dedication to our safety and security is too often taken for granted.

Second Annual iRunAndRock Event – Saturday May 31st 

The second annual 2014 I Run and Rock fundraiser is set to take place on Saturday May 31, 2014 at the Ray Twinney Arena in Newmarket, Ontario.

The event is being organized by “United By Trauma” and PACE Savings and Credit Union will once again provide the title sponsor support.

The goal is to build outreach programs and awareness about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the impact it has on first responders, medical services, military members and their families.  The 2014 I Run and Rock event will consist of a 1, 5 and 10km run, live entertainment and fun activities for the whole family. Registration forms are now available at

I look forward to seeing you at these events in support of our first responders.

More details can be found on my website at or directly at  I look forward to seeing you at these celebrations.

– MPP Frank Klees from

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School Visit Reflection


Riverwalk Wellness Centre had a successful visit to Jean Vanier Catholic High School in Richmond Hill yesterday. We met four groups of grade nine religion students where we held workshops focusing on the connection between mental health and eating disorders. The students had the opportunity to think deeply about the way in which they can support family, friends, and peers that might be suffering. Each class brainstormed the various factors that may influence one to think negatively about their body image or self worth. The students also developed and shared solutions to change negative feelings into positive ones, not only for themselves, but for others too. We quickly learn how talented Jean Vanier students are and how they use their strengths within their community, which in turn, allows them to achieve personal growth. The first thing that each group noted was the importance of being present and available for someone who needs support. The students learned how important a circle of care is and they knew of various supports in school and within their own circles.

Thank you to the grade nine students and teachers at Jean Vanier. We know that you’ll make a positive impact in changing stigmas around mental health and eating disorders!

by Carina Cappuccitti, EDOYR Student Intern

For more about our school visits, see our School Connections page!

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Toronto Star: Program uses play and art to help abused kids

When children start treatment at the York Region Abuse Program, they get to choose their very own stuffed bear.

The 30-centimetre-tall knitted toys are called “bravery bears,” and each one is unique. The child’s chosen bear will stay with him or her throughout the Newmarket-based program, which treats victims of child sexual abuse.

“Letting go of the hand of a caregiver and grabbing the hand of a therapist and toddling down the hall into a room can be overwhelming,” Alison Peck, YRAP’s executive director, says while sitting in a black leather chair in the centre’s dimly lit library.

“I call it ‘bearing witness,’ ” she says softly, looking down at the two bears she holds in her hands.

YRAP opened its doors 25 years ago and, although still a tiny organization, it has become a cornerstone of York Region’s social programs, providing free services to those who face a potentially debilitating setback so early in life.

As many as one in three girls and one in four boys suffer child and sexual abuse before they turn 18, although an exact figure is hard to nail down because of low rates of reporting. Peck says victims may consequently suffer eating disorders, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress, homelessness and suicidal ideation “to end the pain.”


“Programming is very intensive trauma-focused work,” says Peck. “You’re doing actual processing of the traumatic event while making sure people are safe and secure . . . and then work on reintegration into society.

“A number of our youth and adult clients will literally talk about the organization as life-saving, and they don’t mean that in a soft way. They mean that ‘if I wasn’t here, doing the work I’ve done with you, I wouldn’t be living.’ ”

For young children, treatment is largely play- and art-based, and a couple of rooms at YRAP are filled to the brim with toys and craft materials.


“You can help kids identify the different characters in their lives and construct a narrative,” she says.


Going forward, Peck says YRAP is focused on eliminating its six-month wait list for the child and youth program. Adults no longer need to wait to get in, something Peck says is critical for treatment.


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Relieving Stress Through Art

“Art is a wonderful diversion from the ordinary cares of the day.  If I find my mind is stressed, focusing on my art helps me to relax.  I will often do this before I fall asleep each night.  The worries of the day simply vanish.” – Helen

Many people do art just for the sake of doing art and view the creative process as a good unto itself. However, many also find art to be a powerful stress-relieving tool. It can be used as a diversion, distracting us from ruminating unhelpfully on stressful events and thoughts. It can also be used as an outlet, a channel for our negative thoughts and emotions. Creating something can help us feel better about ourselves, because there’s nothing like standing back from an artwork and saying, “I did this.” The artwork needn’t be a masterpiece – sometimes just producing something can help us feel like more effective and productive human beings. Whatever the motivation, art can be a powerful wellness tool that can help get us through our more difficult moments. 

Leave a comment ‘Tears of Color’ art exhibit displays struggles of Israeli patients with eating disorders

The “Tears of Color” exhibit at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv.

“This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.”

So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders.

Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the collection’s paintings, the exhibit provides a window into the minds of individuals struggling with eating disorders. Each image is accompanied by an explanation of the patient’s treatments and trials during their time at Reuth Medical Center’s Machon Agam center for eating disorders. Agam, located in the Tel Aviv area, is the largest and busiest outpatient eating disorder clinic in Israel.

“Eating disorder patients are often among the most articulate people,” explained Yehudit Arad, exhibit curator and a renowned Israeli art therapist. “But when it comes to talking about their eating disorders, they cannot express themselves, or they have learned what they are supposed to say.”

Art, Arad said, helps these patients to open up. Through Arad’s guidance and a series of exercises, the patients are able to tap into the gap between what they show on the outside and what they feel on the inside. When used in conjunction with other therapies such as counseling, medication, and nutritional support, art therapy can serve a vital role in eating-disorder patients’ recovery, according to Arad.

For the full story, click here:

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Medscape: Men With Eating Disorders Don’t Seek Help

The misperception that eating disorders (EDs) are largely a female problem is preventing men with these problems from getting the help they need, new research shows.

A small, qualitative interview study of young men between the ages of 16 and 25 years with EDs, including anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN), showed that men were slow to recognize that their experiences and behaviors were potential signs and symptoms of an ED. In addition, none of the study participants were even aware of what ED symptoms entail.

The study also showed that friends, family, teachers, and even healthcare professionals were also slow to recognize these symptoms.


“Clinicians need to be aware that men also do suffer from eating disorders, they may be far more common in men than has been thought, and [clinicians need to be] sensitive to diagnosing eating disorders in patients presenting to them, regardless of their gender.”


“They also delayed seeking help because they feared they wouldn’t be taken seriously by healthcare professionals, or didn’t know where to go for support,” they add.

The participants described mixed experiences with health services. Most had to wait for long periods for a specialist referral, several were misdiagnosed (including for depression), and 1 reported being told to “man up” by a physician.

The researchers note that delays in diagnosing and treating EDs may be caused by a “lack of understanding and training among health professionals.”

The participants also reported that they received very little information targeted specifically toward men about EDs, and were told that was because it did not really exist.

“Men with EDs are underdiagnosed, undertreated and under-researched,” write the investigators.

Read the full article:


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Huffington Post: Why Photoshopping Is a Matter of Life and Death for Many Girls

Article by Lori DayEducational psychologist and consultant, Lori Day Consulting

Posted from:

1995 was a fateful year on the island of Fiji. For the first time, satellites began beaming western television shows to the region, and Fijian girls could watch Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place just like American girls. Suddenly, in a culture where having a well-nourished and curvy figure was traditionally considered beautiful and healthy, and where being too thin was considered unattractive and worrisome, young girls began to diet excessively and develop eating disorders. No longer did they dream of resembling their mothers and other women in their own communities, but rather they began to take their cues from uber-thin Hollywood starlets for how their bodies should look.

These girls knew that television was not real, and that the society represented in these programs existed thousands of miles away from them, yet the girls developed psychological and physical ailments nonetheless.

How many of our daughters today admire actress Jennifer Lawrence, who played Katniss Everdeen in the two recent film adaptations of The Hunger Games? She’s well known in Hollywood for refusing to lose weight, and she looks great! But after posing for some ads in Dior’s new handbag campaign, Lawrence said, “That doesn’t look like me at all… of course it’s Photoshop, people don’t look like that.”

It’s true. Most people who are able to stand upright and walk have 24 ribs, a full set of internal organs, and enough weight on their bodies to allow the presence of muscles that propel the human skeleton.


Model Filippa Hamilton, size 8, on the catwalk in the image to the left; photoshopped to the brink of death in the advertisement on the right. Women don’t actually have waists that are smaller than their heads.

When we talk about the need for truth in advertising, many people point to digitally emaciated images of females like the one above and say, “but everyone knows they’re fake.” I think that’s arguable in either direction, but it doesn’t matter, because studies show that human beings are greatly influenced by this media, especially children. Interestingly, most people demonstrate the Third-Person Effect: they falsely perceive that mass communicated messages like these photoshopped images fool other people but not themselves.

As parents, we like to imagine our daughters to be third-person-effect exceptions who will remain out of the reach of these purveyors of anorexic beauty ideals because we, as parents, try to be exceptions in our parenting. But even for those of us who deliberately teach media literacy — which is so very important — it is not enough. Unless you live in cave, these ubiquitous photographs of the famished female form will negatively affect most kids to some degree. The popular narrative that says otherwise is wrong, and is not supported by research.

Science matters. In 2011, the American Medical Association announced its adoption of a new policy to discourage the rampant use of photoshopping by advertisers because studies have established a connection between the practice, the subsequent distribution of altered/unrealistic images, and adolescent health problems, particularly body image and eating disorders.


It’s not just characters from Disney’s “Frozen” that have wrists smaller than their eyes. These ads are from the teen swimsuit section of a Target catalog. As if this model, Tanya Marie Keller, is not already skinny enough in real life or in her digitally altered form, disastrously aggressive Photoshop efforts to create a thigh gap leave her without a vagina. (You can see Ellen DeGeneres’s hilarious spoof of these images here.)

In light of the ads above, and hundreds of thousands of others like them that may be less extreme but still act as subtle conditioning, the AMA is right to be concerned. Many studies provide crucial data that connect these ads to negative outcomes for girls. Trust me, this is the short list:

Three of the most common mental-health problems among girls (eating disorders, depression or depressed mood/self-esteem) are linked to the presentation of women in the media.
Forty two percent of girls in grades 1-3 want to be thinner.
Fifty three percent of 13-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies.
By the time they’re 17, girls have seen 250,000 TV commercials telling them they should be aspire to be a sex object or have a body size they can never achieve.
Seventy eight percent of 17-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies.
Thirty percent of high school girls and 16 percent of high school boys suffer from disordered eating.
• (Get ready… this one’s mind-blowing). Adolescent girls are more afraid of gaining weight than getting cancer, losing their parents or nuclear war.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses.

Truth in advertising matters because the widespread practice of routinely and materially misrepresenting the appearance of models in order to sell products and services is creating false and unrealistic expectations about what people should, can, and do look like. Advertisers don’t even have the tip of a fig leaf over themselves on this issue. This is deceptive and damaging to our daughters (and to our sons, who are also influenced to believe girls can and should look like these advertisements, and who are starting to see male models photoshopped to unrealistic muscular proportions as well).

In addition to teaching your children to deconstruct false and harmful advertising messages and feel good about the bodies they are in, what can you do to attack this problem at the societal level?

1. Support the Truth In Advertising Act (HR4341) by calling or emailing your Congressmen and women.

2. Speak up. Let stores and the publishers of clothing catalogs and fashion magazines know that as a consumer and a parent, you do not approve of imagery that is known to lead to emotional and physical health issues for children.

3. Sign the Truth in Ads petition.

4. For more information or to become a supporter of #TruthInAds, check out theBrave Girls Alliance.

5. Let your community know about what’s going on, and ask them to (re)tweet, post, and pin — as well as sign the materials posted on the Brave Girls site — so the FTC and our US House (and soon Senate) sponsors know people are paying attention and care.

I’ve worked with teens who were hospitalized with eating disorders, and it is heartbreaking. Today’s anorexic girls look to photoshopped images in magazines and online for the “thinspiration” they need to starve themselves. This is slow-motion suicide. Please, let’s stop handing them the weapon.