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MACMH Growing the Strengths of Youth: A Trauma-Sensitive Strength-Based Approach to Youth Development

Training Overview

Today’s youth report increasing levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, leading to a crisis in well-being. Youth need opportunities to identify and develop their strengths and fill their toolboxes with skills to handle life stressors. Research has indicated that youth who can name their strengths and values and affirm their positive characteristics have reduced stress levels and an increased positive outlook on life. They can aspire to growth and well-being with positive experiences to develop these skills for resilience. In this session, adults working with youth will learn how stress affects learning and the importance of connecting with students using positive characteristics. Participants will actively participate in activities they can take and use to teach youth the skills needed to lessen the stressors in their lives and identify their innate strengths.

This training will address working with clients between the ages of six-year-old to adulthood.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the three levels of stress and recognize the effects of stress on the systems of the body
  • Demonstrate one or more tools used for self-regulation
  • Identify strength-based strategies to assist youth in increased well-being

About the Presenter

Kathy Magnusson, M.Ed., is the visionary founding director of Wildewood Learning, a speaking and training company. As a respected speaker, trainer, and educator, Kathy has made a global impact by working with educators and youth service professionals worldwide. Kathy holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Minnesota and is a licensed middle and high school teacher. Over the years, she has pursued advanced training in trauma-sensitive practices, non-violent communication, and strengths-based education and leadership.

As a certified Sources of Strength trainer, Kathy has been instrumental in promoting mental health and well-being in youth. Additionally, she has been an approved expert trainer and course writer through Archive, delivering training to early childhood educators and daycare professionals in northwestern Minnesota since 2020. With a career spanning over 25 years, Kathy has dedicated herself to supporting young people and those who serve them. Her top five Strengths of Connectedness, Input, Learner, Ideation, and Arranger have driven her transformative work. One of Kathy’s primary missions is to create safe and effective learning environments that draw upon the strengths of both adults and youth. Her tailored, trauma-informed, strengths-based approach provides individuals with the knowledge and tools to uncover their unique brilliance.

Beyond empowering others, Kathy focuses on supporting education and youth service professionals in developing their own emotional intelligence and communication skills to foster positive relationships. She firmly believes that a ripple effect occurs when perceptions change, transforming the learning experience for all involved. Kathy lives on a farm in northern Minnesota with her husband and has four young adult children. When she is not hanging out with her family or dogs, you can find Kathy in her “calm place,” serenely kayaking or relaxing with a good book at the family lake cabin.

Register through MACMH


February 9
9:00 am - 11:00 am
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Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health
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