After suffering mental and emotional trauma as a child, Rachel Weinstock promised herself that she would help other children in the future. And so today, as a bullying prevention speaker and coach, Rachel now helps young people identify and deal with mental health issues of their own.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
As a child, I grew up being bullied from grade one until the end of high school. I use to look up at the stars at night and promise that I would grow up and be the person I needed to protect as many kids as I can.
Since then, I have made good on that promise and been a teacher for over 20 years, a bullying prevention expert and speaker, and a transformational coach for pre-teen and teens. I also am a professional artist and hold both a Fine Arts Degree and a Bachelor Of Education.
What kind of work does your role involve?
Pre-pandemic, I was working as a substitute teacher and focused on social-emotional learning. Once the pandemic hit, I immediately got back to the drawing board with my business coach and pivoted my business fully online. From there, I ran a pilot program for pre-teens based on mindfulness and creativity but specializing in kids who have been bullied, deal with anxiety or even depression and a year later, we have two cohorts running! I also launched my online coaching business that supports pre-teens and teens through mindfulness social-emotional learning, and it has been a dream come true!
What gets you excited about your industry?
I am so excited to support pre-teens and teens TRULY shifting their lives by learning how to have healthy boundaries with their friends and family. I have been deeply moved that in my private coaching practice and running my Pre-Teen Club for the past year have felt safe enough that I have had 20 kids come out to me on the LGBTQ plus spectrum. Witnessing the youth I work with step into and own their power to be unapologetically themselves inspires and informs all the work I do.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Hmm, I don't know if it's advice, but like I said, I live by the saying "be who you needed when you were younger." I have suffered deeply both mental health-wise and physically from the impact of the abuse and trauma I went through. Using this pain to turn it into something beautiful and help other people somehow gives this pain a purpose. Also, I remember Oprah saying something about how people show you who they are and when they do to believe them. I think words are important, but one's actions need to be aligned!
How do you support aspiring leaders in your field?
In terms of supporting others in my field, I make a lot of content on TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram to share how I do my work. I've also taken the time to talk with people and set up meetings to answer, support and guide those interested in doing similar work. The path is definitely not laid out; it is one that you need to create.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
I follow my intuition and heart in terms of people who are doing similar work to me and create connections simply by reaching out and forming alliances and friendships. I have a learning disability which makes research challenging. Finding ways to make these connections organically has worked the best for me over the years and led to some pretty magical connections.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
I have had to overcome my anxiety regarding my learning disability and the challenges I have with technology, research and other ways I am impacted. I have the most amazing coach who empowers me to take small steps and support me in the ways I need to reach my dreams. I used to feel so blocked and limited with my learning disability and unable to reach my dreams, but now I feel unlimited with the support of my coach and the team I have built this year!
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
I would buy a condo to house the homeless people in Toronto during the pandemic and hire mental health workers to help get them back on their feet. I would also work on supporting clean water to First Nations people across Canada and see whatever else I could do to help support reconciliation.
Lastly, I would ensure proper training for teachers and admin on social-emotional learning, conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques. I would then conduct research on why it is so important to heal from early childhood trauma and do everything we can to implement these practices to support children's mental health in schools.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
I have dedicated my life to this work, so I am always working on this somehow. But recently, I am spending a lot of time on TikTok exploring other creators' content and making my own.
Outside of that, I spend my time reading books, hanging out with my cat, meditating, spending time with my family, going to the beach, walking in the forest or spending time with friends.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
That the impact of childhood trauma was TRULY understood, and that we implement proper training for educators and admin who work with children.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
I am never a one answer kind of person, so what I will say is I have put together an amazing recourse in my bio on Tiktok of my favourite and most influential books and videos. You can check it out at rachelweinstock_
How should people connect with you?
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