Grade 12 EMCS student Emma Hornsby, poses at the EMCS Community Theatre in Sooke, where she will be speaking at the Sooke Talks event on Feb. 21. Hornsby has learned to transform her anxiety in to a learning experience, and is hoping to share some of her coping skills with the community. (Dawn Gibson/Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke Talks event to debut at EMCS Community Theatre

Event will feature insights and stories from some of the region’s most interesting people

The Sooke Region is home to many people with colourful backgrounds and interesting stories to share.

The Edward Milne Community School Society and the Sooke Harbour Toastmasters Club are aiming to showcase some of these people at the upcoming Sooke Talks debut on Feb. 21 at the EMCS Community Theatre.

The event runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m., where local people will share their insights, stories, and experiences.

One of the speakers planned for the evening is Emma Hornsby, a Grade 12 EMCS student who has learned to transform her anxiety in to a learning experience, and is hoping to share some of her coping skills.

She first gave her speech to the Toastmasters club.

“For me, learning to cope with anxiety was like turning this big obstacle I was facing into something that was good for me,” said Hornsby. “I changed myself for the better by learning more about myself.”

Hornsby’s anxiety first began in Grade 8, with all the big changes she was going through like entering high school and having drama with friends, she started to feel overwhelmed.

When Hornsby realized she was worrying an unhealthy amount, she finally spoke up to her parents and they set her up with a counsellor. From counselling, Hornsby learned ways to take care of herself when she starts to feel anxious.

“I kind of go through a three-step process. First, I recognize what’s going on with my body, for me it’s usually shaky hands or I have trouble breathing. Second, I try to find out what the problem is, if there is one, and why I’m feeling that way, because sometimes anxiety creeps up for no reason. The third step is to just focus on what’s in front of me and on my breathing, to eventually calm myself down,” said Hornsby. “It’s a slow process but for me it works.”

Hornsby hopes her Sooke Talk will help other people who struggle with anxiety learn to cope, as well as educate the public a little bit more on mental health and how anxiety works.

“I feel like even today there is still a stigma around mental health, that if you can’t see it it isn’t there. So I just want to be a voice for mental health, and to keep building awareness and understanding around it,” she said.

She added that she is excited about Sooke Talks because it will give the community an inside look at some of the interesting people living within the area.

Other speakers will include Marjorie Baskerville, Christine Bossi, Don Brown, Phoebe Dunbar, Parvez Kumar, Finn and Chloe Unger, Tracy Waters, and the night’s MC, Tania Ehman.

Tickets for the event cost $15 and can be purchased at Stick in the Mud Cafe, Shoppers Drug Mart or at the EMCS Society office at the school, or online at canadahelps.org.

All proceeds from the event go towards funding for lighting and sound upgrades for the EMCS theatre.

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