Shannon Smith

Program Founder and Director 

When my oldest daughter, Mira, was about 7 years old, I began my search for a girls specific program to help develop Mira’s confidence and give her some life skills. I found the programs scarce and often the programs didn’t encompass all that I was looking for.

A few years later and Mira is facing the sometimes bewildering transition from early adolescence into the teen/young adult years. Social media has now crept into our daily conversations. Concerns around body image have surfaced and mental health has became a topic of discussion. Now, more than ever, Mira needs peer support and positive influences outside the home reinforce a healthy mindset.

My goal is to bring our girls together, in a safe environment, to have honest and influential discussions. This will assist in eroding away some of the barriers girls encounter in order to achieve unconditional self-love, acceptance and ultimately, happiness and success.

As a mother of three, I understand how important that the values I teach and demonstrate be reinforced daily through all social mediums. Maintaining a healthy work/life/social balance can be difficult and it can be just as difficult for our young ones.

Credentials

Shannon has vast experience teaching both youth and adults since 2000, when she first started teaching outdoor education for the Toronto District School Board. Since then, she has really honed her ability to engage students in an array of learning environments. She enjoys teaching a range of important topics related to wellness, safety awareness, physical fitness. law enforcement tactics and mental health.

Working in a male-dominated profession for 15 years and being embedded in  a sport that is also predominantly male, has led Shannon to be a true advocate for gender equality in all facets of society. Stepping outside of her comfort zone to challenge stereotypes has provided her with a source of growth and a sense of empowerment. Through M Power, she wants to help the young ladies of the community achieve the same.

She has earned a Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies from the University of Waterloo. She has also completed her Teaching Effectiveness certificate through Humber College. 

Her other professional experiences include:

  • Officer Safety Instructor - Toronto Police College (current)

  • Special Needs Counsellor- Camp Robin Hood, Markham Ontario

  • Physical Training Instructor- Ontario Police College

  • Recreation Director- Ontario Police College

  • Assistant Physical Education facilitator- Peel Board of Education

  • Outdoor Education Instructor- Etobicoke Outdoor Education Centre

She has been certified by the Mental Health Commission of Canada in Road to Mental Readiness as well as qualified to teach ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and safeTALK.

For the past few years, Shannon has been involved in the Women in Motion Initiative through her police service. In 2018, she was a keynote speaker at this event, which is designed to educate women about policing and encourage them to consider a career in law enforcement.

In recent years, Shannon has earned her purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has continued her love of working out. Mira has joined Shannon on the mats and has been training in jiu jitsu for the past 2 years, earning her grey belt. Shannon has been a dedicated and competitive athlete since the age of 12. She continues to train and compete at the age of 40. She understands the challenges involved in balancing numerous demands throughout the lifespan, and has come to appreciate a healthy work/life balance.

M Power is a member of the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce. This offers us the ability to  contribute to the great work being done in our community, have a voice when it comes to decisions affecting our region and its members, and build strong partnerships in the Town of Halton Hills. As well, membership means our program is held to a higher standard and ensures a quality program for our Halton families.

Recent initiatives

Women in Policing

Shannon currently serves as an ambassador for women in her field by taking part in women only policing initiatives, serves as the first female team lead on her training team, and helps to encourage positive relationships among women serving by hosting mentoring meetings with new female recruits.

School Board

Shannon loves working in the local school system on her days off from the police service. Providing schools with access to her program fundamentals ensures that all girls can reap the benefits of M Power, regardless of their extracurricular commitments, homework and sports schedules, financial situation, or even family dynamics. She is currently working with a number of schools in multiple school boards in order to provide equal access to wellness, empowerment, and opportunity.

Town of Halton Hills Parks and Recreation Department

The Town of Halton Hills Parks and Recreation Department is working with M Power to develop a portion of their summer camp curriculum to include important body image and self esteem development activities. This is an exciting new venture for M Power and the ability to positively impact youth in the community.

The Body Positive Institute

Shannon has joined the facilitator program at The Body Positive organization, based out of California. There are three steps in the facilitator program:

  1. Fundamentals

  2. Facilitator Program.

  3. Master Class (In California)

Shannon feels extremely privileged to have the opportunity to train with the passionate and dedicated members of The Body Positive team. This group of individuals have pooled their resources, experiences, and expertise to provide top notch awareness training and mindset changing programs.

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“These girls teach me just as much as I teach them”

-Shannon Smith