Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Workshops to Support Adolescents Adopted from China

by Tracey Smith-Diggs
On January18, 2014, Wellness W.R.K.S. L.L.C. by referral of Elizabeth Venart director and founder of The Resiliency Center LLC, started our series of workshops for adopted Chinese tween girls and their parents. Working with this population and their families has always been a passion of mine. Over 81,000 Chinese children, almost all of them girls, have been adopted and placed in the United States during the last two decades. Adolescent girls in general, often experience risk factors and challenges such as peer pressure, low self-esteem and preoccupation with body image however; adopted teens are also faced with issues such as bonding, attachment, identity and race. In doing the research, I have found that a high level of wellness helps these girls to improve school performance, develop life skills, practice positive behaviors and improve their interactions with their family and friends. In the workshops presented we are excited to explore issues of the self; self-esteem, self-care, self-identity, self-respect, self- image, self-confidence and self-love. Wellness Wrks LLC infuses four areas into workshops; Recreational Therapy, Wellness Education, 40 Developmental Assets and Restorative Principle Practices. Our holistic model aims to help teens by using the creative and healing arts to address: educational, emotional, social, physical, spiritual, environmental, and character development. 
The workshops are highly interactive, simulating the senses, mind, body and spirit toward healing. There are four workshops for the teens, two workshops for the parents, one workshop for both parents and their children, and one culminating event. The experiences presented are culturally competent and trauma sensitive. The experiences promote a “Safe Space” atmosphere where participants can explore their own issues of self-care, self-esteem, emotional maturity, personal growth, character development, social skills and resiliency. This can assist in enabling the girls to become better sisters, daughters, friends, and community members. The recreation and leisure activities help to put the girls at ease, encouraging creative learning and discussions that address individual challenges. The workshops promote self-expression through music, art, movement, crafts and social games, to name a few. A strong emphasis is placed on cultural awareness. Cultural artifacts are often shared with the group. Active participation is encouraged with self-evaluation, peer feedback and affirmations. We strongly encourage the girls to practice skills and techniques presented in the home, church, school and in the community. The workshops are designed for empowerment, social-emotional skill building, and character development. Wellness Wrks LLC is committed to increasing caring environments, well-being, and healing for children, youth, families and communities. It all starts with a Girl.


** All the workshops are designed to be interactive stimulating the senses, and awakening the mind, body and spirit to new awareness. Introduction and information provided for most of the Healing Arts not actual service. Participation is strongly encouraged. Participation in techniques and exercises are at participants will. The techniques and exercises are not intended to replace medical care. Wellness Wrks LLC and associates disclaim any liability or loss in connection with presented techniques, exercises, or advice herein. All participants will be required to sign a Physical Activity Liability form Be Well!
Additional Services

Individual Coaching and Transformation sessions, Parenting Education, Professional Employee Development trainings and agency referrals available upon request.

Bibliography-China, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, International Institute for Restorative Practices, Bethlehem Pa. 18016, Smith-Diggs, Tracey A., Wellness Wrks, LLC Phila. Pa. 19118
Supporting Links: Linkedin – Tracey A. Smith**** Facebook – Wellness W.R.K.S. LLC, – Recreational Therapy                                     ( Restorative Practices (  - 40 Developmental Assets

Couple Relationship Tune-Up

By Laura Eubanks Gambrel, Ph.D., LMFT

With February upon us, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. One day a year is not enough to focus on your relationship! As research suggests, small daily acts matter more to the health of a relationship than grand gestures at anniversaries, holidays, or birthdays. Just like we take cars for their 50,000 mile tune-up to make sure everything is working properly, it is much easier to “tune-up” your relationship, than to fix it after it is broken.  So, while love is in the air, take the time to recommit to working on your relationship every day, not just February 14th. Here are a just few suggestions to keep your relationship going strong:

1. Appreciate the Positive – Consciously focus on the good things your partner does and acknowledge at least two of them every day. The more your partner feels appreciated for the little things he or she does – making you coffee in the morning, washing the dishes, working hard to provide for the family – the more he or she will continue to do those things.

2. Set a Weekly Date Night – Research has shown that couples who have dinner together once a week and focus on their relationship (not the kids, or bills, or work) are happier and stay together longer. Though it may be difficult, carve the time out of your schedule to spend together.  Even if you can’t go out every week, order pizza, light some candles, and enjoy reconnecting with each other - it will make a difference.  

3. Engage in New Activities Together – Remember the spark you felt when you first met your partner or spouse? Bring it back by doing something novel and exciting together – take a painting class, go snowboarding, try out that new whiskey bar, attend a lecture at an art museum, or take dancing lessons. By doing fun and interesting things together you’ll see each other in a new way, keeping your relationship fresh and fun.

4. Limit Technology – The constant distraction of cell phones, texting, e-mail, and TV can make it hard to be present for one another and connect deeply. Try setting up “no screen time” every evening or for a few hours on the weekends so that you have time to talk without distractions.  Most couples who I work with that have done this are amazed at how much closer they feel after only a week of implementing this rule.

5. Assess your Strengths and Weaknesses - You can do this by taking relationship quizzes or visiting with a professional. Knowing from an objective view where you stand can help you to make minor adjustments before they become big problems. For the month of February I’m offering a discount on the PREPARE/ENRICH relationship inventory and consultation. For $100 (usually $200) you and your partner take the relationship inventory that is tailored to your relationship type and from those results you receive a comprehensive analysis of your relationship that is based on thousands of other couples’ responses. Then we meet for an hour to review your report and discuss tools and strategies to improve your relationship. This small investment of time can lead to big changes - what more could you ask for this Valentine’s Day? Contact me if you have questions or to set up your assessment and consultation at or 267-518-8035.