Wed, Oct 20 | Online Event

Hacking the Holidays, How to Support Meaningful Cultural Rituals with System Involved Youth

Shoshana Phoenixx
Hacking the Holidays, How to Support Meaningful Cultural Rituals with System Involved Youth

Time & Location

Oct 20, 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Online Event

About the Event

Shoshana Phoenixx

Training Description

There are many internal and external expectations of showing up correctly around the upcoming holidays. For system-involved youth, there is an added pressure of managing their competing feelings and issues around belonging and celebrating life. This session will teach training participants how to engage culturally significant holidays, anniversaries and milestones holidays and their effects on our system involved youth. We will take a a particular focus on the challenging effects of the social issues involved in the current pandemic, political and racial upheaval, immigration and identity politics while trying to find joyfulness in their lives.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to use and teach creative strategies to enhance their rapport work with system involved youth and families
  • Develop strategies for designing, structuring and learning about culturally relevant significant holidays and rituals with system involved youth and families they support
  • Explore ways of helping system involved youth identify and honour difficult feelings associated with holidays and other cultural celebrations
  • Develop practices for promoting engagement in holiday-related discussions with youth


9:30-10:15am Instructor and Group introduces selves and discuss relationship to holidays and personal family dynamics as well as positive and negative experiences with engaging system involved youth with holiday celebrations

10:15 – 11:15am Teaching: understanding the non-neurotypical brain, coping strategies and the role of relationship to belonging to a group or family.

11:15-11:45pm Small group activity: Identify specific challenges around the holiday season that your system involved youth have faced in your work with them and how you handled them successfully or unsuccessfully

11:45-1:00pm Large group process: Brainstorm list of holidays, anniversaries, cultural, spiritual, ethnic, relationship to biofamily and extended caregivers and the rituals they do/don’t/cant engage in due to their current situation. Discuss ways to develop your ability to work with clients to blend personal truths with traditional holidays and how to develop a meaning making reflection.

1:00-1:30pm   Lunch break (CEUs will not be issued during this time)

1:30 -2:30pm  Teaching: Looking at ways to speak to the social issues involved in the current pandemic, political and racial upheaval, immigration and identity politics in our country at this time while trying to find joyfulness.

2:30-3:15pm  Large group practice:  Using the materials discussed today, what specific methods will you engage to support and acknowledge the competing feelings and issues around belonging and celebrating life while living in their current home/school/mental health situation.

3:15-4:15pm  Final questions, reflections and group appreciations ritual

4:15-4:30pm  Evaluations

Meet Our Trainer

“We can create together. We can heal together. We can mark the moments of ritual together. May the work of our hearts and hands speak together the truth of our lives.”

Shoshana has been working with communities and professional caregivers educating and training on the issues and challenges around progressive illness, trauma, death and bereavement for families for over 36 years. In that work she has supported people in many ways and forms as they experience illness, grief, healing, recovery, and transformation.

She began her grief and loss professional journey during the illness and death of both of her parents when she was a teenager. She subsequently served a residency in Berkeley to become an interfaith chaplain and now describes herself as “a Jewish chaplain, who works from an interfaith perspective”.

She has trained, counselled, and supported adults and children dealing with terminal illnesses, (and students/volunteers wanting to learn) using art modalities and non-traditional approaches

The thread that stitches together all the pieces of her work life is care, compassion and comfort for suffering people who find themselves outside the system of norms in American mainstream culture.

As a person who has lived outside those norms all her life, Mama Shoshana says with conviction, “We have our unconventional ways, and I am here to tell you that they are valid. There are many roads up this mountain called life, and we survive the unimaginable by stitching together all that we learn from one another.”

Shoshana has developed a range of learning interventions and activities including:

  • Developing an ethical will
  • Developing a "spiritual toolbox" for journeying through life's deepest challenges,
  • Bereavement training programs for social workers, care aides, case managers and paraprofessionals
  • Grief support programs for groups and teams
  • Needs assessment tool for anticipatory grief and loss in clients and families
  • Art-therapy based grief support for children

She is also the author of The Phoenixx Haggadah.

This course meets the qualifications for (5.5) BBS CEUs for LCSWs, LMFTs, LPCCs, and LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences & is provided by Fred Finch Youth Center, CAMFT Provider #045295.

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