Testimonials

j0433058My most heartfelt thanks to the extraordinary educators, business leaders, parents and volunteers for sharing their experience of the Social Media Fitness workshop and its impact on their children, and themselves. Thank you for your inspiration and support! It is, firstly, your words that reflect the true impact of this presentation in your life and in the lives of your students and children.

“Chris Vollum’s excellent presentation on social media opened up the thinking of our students, faculty and parents. His message was an empowering one. He emphasized that while we need to recognize the risks of social media, he encouraged us to “capture the future” and celebrate the possibilities available to us as we create our own online stories.”

Karrie Weinstock; Deputy Principal, Branksome Hall, (Toronto, ON)

“I have seen Chris Vollum’s presentation on Social Media three times over the last four years. The presentations are always so current and relevant, and teachers and students are fully engaged. His knowledge and humour are a perfect blend. As a teacher of senior students this presentation is a must-see. So much of what I dialogue about in my classes is authenticated by his expertise. It is a great way to learn how to make the power of Social Media a tool to learn, to connect and to make positive change.”

Myra Pierias; Dept. Of Religious Education, Corpus Christi CSS, (Burlington, ON)

“Chris’ presentation was exceptional – he provided facts, stories, and issues related to social media that are relevant to our boys’ lives. His message was clear, concise, and authentic. Our students were able to identify with the various scenarios he provided. Most all, Chris reinforced the importance of demonstrating safe online behaviour, not only for today, but for the future as well.”

Sabrina D’Angelo; Director of Middle School, St. Andrew’s College, (Aurora, ON)

“Chris delivers a message that encourages his audience [staff, parents and students] to reflect on the advantages of social media. It was very refreshing to hear such a balanced perspective that promotes users to strive to ‘control their content’ rather than ‘letting the content control you.’ Rather than messaging through a lens of ‘fear’, Chris delivers a presentation through a filter of respect and empowerment. He kept it engaging, appropriate and relevant for all of our students [grades 3-6] and came back in the evening to put on a separate interactive presentation for our parent community. Highly recommended.”

Gus Mihailovich; Principal, Lakeshore Public School, (Oakville, ON)

“Chris’ Social Media presentation for students, educators and parents is an absolute MUST SEE! If you are a Generation X parent with a child over the age of 9 and are not the daily Twitter/ Vine / Instagram / Facebook / YouTube/ Tumblr, kind of person, then arm your parental arsenal with Chris’ social media “Coles Notes.” Students at our school were hanging off Chris’ every word with a mixture of shock, enlightenment and probably a little remorse. Attendees at Chris’ Parent Lecture went home newly educated with a sense of urgency to make some serious changes.

Chris’ lecture is unique because he provides expertise on something that most parents and educators are just learning themselves and is not part of any formal curriculum. I firmly believe providing this unique social media education to our young students will give then an advantage over their peers in the future. Chris touches on how to protect your privacy, reputation management, self marketing for a bright future and how to maximize your social media experience in general. I am grateful as a parent to have learned from Chris so I can better guide my children in the future to make social media work for for them.”

Gina Lalani; School Council Chair, Sam Chapman Public School, (Markham, ON)

“As educators and parents, we all realize the importance of having our children computer-literate.
Their ability to connect and share ideas be it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat might be the difference between obtaining that dream position or not being considered.

Mr. Vollum presents in a highly interactive and relevant fashion, the need for all of us – students, educators and parents to become more actively aware of what we post and comment to online as the consequences of our actions may be life-long and not what we may have intended. During Chris’ presentation, I found many students and parents clearly shocked in response to the real-life personal stories of individuals who lost their promotion or dream college due to what they believed to be simply an ‘innocent’ post or picture. For us educators in the audience we were surprised at the overwhelming numbers of our pupils with Facebook, Twitter or Youtube accounts.

In the end, Chris offers timely advice on how we all can protect our privacy and virtual identities and by doing so offers a message of empowerment and a way forward. He argues that we can and need to be engaged in this global digital community and that its advantages far exceed the risks once we are aware of them!

I highly recommend any school and parental community to invite Chris to speak on this important topic.”

Tom Prugo; Vice Principal, St. Raymond Cath. Elem. School, (Mississauga, ON)

“Chris Vollum presented his Social Media Fitness presentation at our school on December 11, 2013. It was tremendously informative and most importantly recast the issue of children and social media as a matter of digital citizenship. It really challenged my underlying assumptions about the role of social media in the lives of our kids and its capacity to enable them to become engaged global citizens.

My approach to managing my children’s engagement with social media has up to this point been solely designed to minimize its impact on them, rather than helping them to develop a relationship to it that goes beyond status updates and pictures of cats. I think the emphasis on respect, reputation and context are an excellent way to recast the issue.

Encouraging students to develop meaningful, engaged and affirming online personas is more likely to result in positive outcomes than is only telling them to be careful and warning them about the negative possibilities associated with careless social media activity.”

Upper School Faculty; The Waldorf School, (Thornhill, ON)

“On November 12, 2013 Chris Vollum presented to our grade 4-8 students and later in the evening to parents. Chris supported our goal of reviewing, reflecting and gaining a better understanding of Social Media and how it impacts our reputations, personal safety and engagement with others.

Our students gained insight into why adults try to guide them in their decision making around Social Media. Our parent community learned much about the perils of unsupervised Social Media engagement for their child. As a school, we are better prepared to continue to dialogue about the use of Social Media.

Chris is a dynamic speaker who captures the attention of his audience no matter what age group. A must-have presenter in your school!”

Cheryl Hayles; Vice Principal, Ecolé Forest Trail Public School, (Oakville, ON)

“Today’s (Sept, 2013) assembly for parents, teachers, administrators and all Grade 5-8 students was definitely one-of-a-kind. Chris Vollum is not only a great guy, he is extremely well informed about the Social Media circus our students are all performing in. There was not a person who left today’s workshop who didn’t say to me, “I’m going to change my settings when I get home.” The lessons taught, the stories told and the expertise that Chris brings to the table are all spectacular. The information shared is relevant, it speaks to the children, in their vernacular, and helps to wake up parents. The footprints we leave online will hopefully help and carve out a passage for others to follow…because today we learned that these ‘footprints’ are here to stay.”

Michael Levinsky; Middle School Coordinator (North Campus), The Leo Baeck Day School (Thornhill, ON)

“I have known Chris Vollum now for more than six years. In that time I have had the opportunity to sit in on a number of his Facebook 101 presentations. What has impressed me is that the presentation never remains static and is continually revised, even in name changes and scope, to reflect current information that is relevant to students, school staff and parents. As a Halton Police and in-school Education Officer, my first priority when speaking with students is emphasizing the importance of safety, recognizing and minimizing danger risks and increasing privacy awareness, online.

What resonates strongly with me is that while Chris addresses these same topics, he takes it to the next level in a user-friendly, balanced and understandable way using language and real-world examples that are instantly identifiable with students. Facebook is still a predominant part of student life, however, I invited Chris this summer (2013) to speak with our Youth in Policing Initiative (YiPi) secondary school students to present a broader perspective of social media and to illustrate sites popular with students such as Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and SnapChat.

I found the new presentation, renamed “Social Media Fitness,” updated to reflect current student issues, challenges and, what I found refreshing, opportunities for them to use social media to their personal and professional advantage. In closing, I highly recommend that all schools and their communities strongly consider having Chris and his “Social Media Fitness” presentation made available to students, staff, administrators and parents.”

Constable Drew Scott; Halton Regional Police Services (in-school DARE, B.R.A.V.O. and Education Officer)

“Thank you for sharing this important message with our school community. It was obvious by the students’ rapt attention that this information is extremely relevant to their lives. What a great perspective you presented to our students. Your presentation is definitely a must-see.”

Heather Harris; Principal, Kakabeka Falls District Public School (Kakabeka Falls, ON)

“WOW!! Such a powerful, timely and informative presentation to our students and parent community. You have left our Markville community buzzing! With your Social Media wisdom it has been an absolute pleasure to work with you and we definitely look forward to another visit.”

Ann Cape; Teacher-Librarian (Dept. Head), Markville Secondary School (Markham, ON)

“Chris mobilized our community to think more critically about our online footprint and provided thought provoking examples of the importance of people taking responsibility for how they represent themselves online.”

Kelly Stenton; Guidance Counsellor, Havergal College (Toronto, ON)

“Thank you, Chris, for your excellent “Social Web 101″ presentation. The students really appreciated that you were acknowledging them as social media users and not setting Facebook out as a major “taboo” (which as we know makes it all that much more desirable). They also appreciated how knowledgeable you were and that you demonstrated what you were talking about so they could see it in real-time. I find that many students are risk-takers and they like to follow along with what is happening. It seems that social media is changing so quickly that some students are taking risks with what they are posting and where they are lurking because they don’t really know the mechanics of how to do it otherwise. To me this was the real learning for many: How to protect their privacy and the real implications if they don’t.

Also, how to actually use their social media profiles to enhance their reputation, highlight their finest attributes and skills, and to be intentionally discovered by future influencers in their life. It is clear that you have developed a real understanding for how to talk so that students will listen. We really appreciate the work you are doing in this important area.”

Dr. Heike Bronson; Vice Principal, Humberview Secondary School (Bolton, ON)

“Chris’s presentations are current, relevant and proactive for the many students involved in social media activity without the proper knowledge and skills. His real life examples of students involved in cyber-bullying and the negative impact on life resonates with our Middle School population as it is a practice that is becoming rampant. The more factual stories that students hear, the greater the learning for them on what is appropriate and inappropriate. I am pleased that Chris emphasized the positive uses of social media and how students can be safe on the Internet.
His presentations are absolutely enlightening and rewarding.”

Annesia Khan; Principal, Dolphin Senior Public School (Mississauga, ON)

“Thank you for your presentation on Facebook 101 and the Tips for Parents. Your presentation was informative and captured the attention of our students, staff and parents. This is certainly a timely topic as we need to teach our students and parents how to use this valuable communication tool safely and avoid risks to students. We received very positive feedback from our schools and parents on your presentation.”

Terry Grand; Superintendent of Education, London Catholic District School Board (London, ON)

“On June 6, 2012 the London District Catholic School Council and Parent Involvement Committee hosted Chris Vollum as a guest speaker for two sessions. With the use of live video streaming we were able to offer the presentation to all of our students from grade 6 to grade ten for the afternoon session. An evening session for parents was offered at one of our local high schools and again with the use of live video stream we were able to offer the presentation for home viewing to parents who were unable to make to the event in person.

Feedback on this event was nothing but positive. Students who viewed the presentation live were interested and engaged by Chris in the presentation. The feedback from teachers and principals who participated was that the presentation was invaluable to both themselves and the students. The evening session for parents was well attended with several parents participating through the live video stream. Audience surveys were all positive indicating that 100% of the audience felt Chris was well informed and adept at presenting the material in a manner that was easily understood. All felt he did a good job of outlining the risks of social media and of demonstrating the use of the various tools available to properly manage risk on various social media sites.

One parent commented that; ‘Chris showed me that properly used and with appropriate consideration for privacy and safety, social media can be a fun and exciting tool to keep up with family and friends across the country. I feel more confident in my ability to protect my children online after this presentation.’

We have had nothing but positive feedback about this presenter and highly recommend Facebook 101 for learning communities to incorporate in their special events for their year.”

Mary-Lou VanBerkel; Chair, London Catholic District School Board & PIC (London, ON)

“We have had the good fortune to have Chris Vollum present to students, parents and teachers over the past two years on the benefits and perils of Social Media. Strong positive feedback confirms that many were not fully aware of the impact of the different privacy settings. With ongoing changes to Social Media, we will continue to bring Chris back to provide a balanced, honest and appropriately targeted message to our community.”

Donald Kawasoe; Head of the Prep & Upper Schools, Upper Canada College (Toronto, ON)

“Effective educators face difference audiences each and every day. Chris Vollum is one of these individuals. Facilitating an educational programme based on the fast-paced world of social media with a focus on facts, safety and authentic feedback allows for an optimal learning opportunity. Chris Vollum is so successful in accomplishing this task for students, parents and faculty. As an educator who was present for both the student and parent sessions, I could feel the engagement that the audience had with Chris in both venues.

Our student body and parent community walked away with a sense of new-found knowledge, a hunger for more information in this area and an awareness that Facebook 101 allowed them to be better informed participants as they go forward. I highly recommend Chris Vollum as a leader of leaders for educators, students, and parents as we continue to use Facebook in our daily lives.”

Cheryl Diefenbacher; Director of Student Services, Hillfield Strathallan College (Hamilton, ON)

“Chris Vollum strikes the right tone and message for both parents and student audiences with his highly informative and interactive Facebook 101 presentation.
Chris reassures parents and validates for students that Facebook is an excellent communication medium if used properly with the necessary privacy settings and content.

He speaks as a caring, helpful father of two children and develops a wonderful rapport and dialogue with his audiences. Eyes pop open when he goes on Facebook in real-time and people see what is accessible to the world.

Both parents and students spoke to me after attending Chris Vollum’s Facebook 101 presentation to say ‘that was so interesting, informative and helpful. I kept wanting to hear more and see what is actually posted for the world to see.’ One student said “I was scared at times about university admissions and jobs but he helped me to know how to manage my settings and content.”

Tam Matthews; Headmaster, Ashbury College (Ottawa, ON)

“Chris Vollum was an extremely knowledgeable and engaging speaker on this topical subject. He gave his audiences a great deal to think about and to take away. If you have not yet seen the Facebook 101 presentation, I strongly recommend that you do so soon.”

Barry Hughes; Head of School, Holy Trinity School (Richmond Hill, ON)

“Chris Vollum delivered to our middle school students his Facebook 101 presentation. It was simply outstanding and all of our students were engaged and learned new information on how to set custom settings, friend’s lists, where and how information is stored and can be accessed and what Facebook users need to do to protect themselves. The presentation also tapped into how many employers and universities/colleges are researching potential candidates on Facebook. Real life examples and stories shared really left quite an impression on our students and staff. The content was very relative, simple to understand and the presentation was very well paced.

This is a MUST see presentation for all elementary and secondary schools.”

Roula Skordakis; Principal, C R Marchant Middle School (Toronto, ON)

“Our students and parent community were very engaged in the presentation by Chris Vollum! FACEBOOK 101 is extraordinarily relevant to the lives of our students as they heard about the benefits and drawbacks to FACEBOOK. In addition, our parents had the opportunity to enjoy an informative and engaging evening with Chris. Everyone involved learned about various responsible use tips with great ideas for using FACEBOOK in a positive way. Our school community was extremely engaged in this presentation and had great questions for Chris.

I found Chris to have a very engaging manner with our students and parents and he provided a valuable service to our community. Thanks for a terrific presentation Chris, it was a pleasure to have you visit our school community!”

John Legere; Principal, Aurora Grove Public School (Aurora, ON)

“The presentation by Chris Vollum was outstanding! Both parents and students learned so much about FACEBOOK and the impact it is having on our students. Safety tips presented on a student handout provided the children and their parents with great ideas for using FACEBOOK in a positive way. Our students were totally engaged in this presentation and had great questions for Chris. The parents have already asked for Chris to return to our school for part two! Thanks for a great educational programme, Chris!”

Marni Collier; Principal, Rosedale Heights Public School (Thornhill, ON)

“Our students were very engaged with Chris’s Facebook 101 presentation since it was so relevant to what they deal with on a day-to-day basis. Clearly, the challenges and concerns related to using Facebook were addressed in a most appropriate and direct manner. As a result, our students gained a far better understanding of what the implication could be if Facebook was used inappropriately or in a manner that could be questionable. Chris addressed the students in a calm and poised manner, and created a very informative and invitational environment that facilitated extensive student involvement and interest in the presentation.”

Sheldon Diamond; General Studies Principal, Associated Hebrew Schools (Toronto, ON)

“The Facebook 101 workshop allows me as Principal to help protect and educate our kids and community for a future that is forever changing and redefining itself. Facebook 101 teaches kids about the social media and the dangers that face us when sharing personal information on the web. We are grateful to have Facebook 101 support kids and families so that when they use Facebook, they are using it with safety parameters and with the knowledge that they are posting personal photos and information that are no longer their property, or in their control. Facebook 101 teaches kids how to make wise choices! We are grateful!”

Em Del Sordo; Principal, Westdale Secondary School (Hamilton, ON)

“As part of the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan at GDHS, we asked Chris to conduct his Facebook 101 workshop with both our students and parents. From the questions raised during the presentations, it was clear that the workshops were both revealing and thought provoking. Chris is truly an expert in Facebook, and a great public speaker. His message about social media is very telling about the technological world we now live in, and a must see for any parent and student who currently uses Facebook.”

Nicholas Varricchio; Principal, Georgetown District High School (Georgetown, ON)

“We were extremely fortunate to have Chris Vollum present Facebook 101 to our Grade 9 students during Bullying Awareness Week. As the world of technology continues to evolve at a staggering pace, it’s imperative that we’re familiar and prepared with ways to keep ourselves safe. The presentation was both extremely informative and interesting, and definitely opened up the eyes of everyone in the audience, both students and staff alike.

Thank you Chris for helping to educate the future leaders of tomorrow, that what the students “post” today, may have a negative impact on their future. I strongly encourage everyone, whether or not they are currently using Facebook, to understand how this social media actually works.”

Gord McCarles; Vice Principal, Corpus Christi Catholic Secondary School (Burlington, ON)

“Chris Vollum spoke to our students and presented at our first School Council meeting of this 2010 year. When we asked our students, “How many of you have a FACEBOOK account,” it appeared that virtually every student raised their hand. Chris then, focusing on FACEBOOK, proceeded to educate our students on the pitfalls and safety issues of using any social networking site. Our students learned that both universities/colleges and some employers are now routinely looking at FACEBOOK pages before offering employment or acceptance to a program.

Our students left the presentations with the knowledge to ensure that their information is safe when accessing a social networking site – our parents learned how to keep their children safe! During one of the presentations, I observed some senior students managing their privacy settings as Chris walked them through the privacy settings for FACEBOOK. Thank you, Chris, for a wonderful presentation.”

Virginia Bregg; Vice Principal, Pierre Elliott Trudeau High School (Markham, ON)

“Although Facebook is not an educational media yet, schools would be naive to think its usage is not widespread amongst all of our stakeholders. Therefore, it is vitally important to educate ourselves on the risks, cautions and implications of using this powerful social outlet. Educating our school community so that they can make informed decisions is the logical and proactive thing to do.

I would like to thank our School Council and our principal, Violet Neheli, for their insight on bringing in someone like Chris Vollum to present this topic to our school community. His knowledge of this global ‘epidemic’ is amazing. Our students, parents and staff are now considerably more knowledgeable on the safeguards regarding the necessary precautions when using this communication tool. His anecdotes were very real and practical, providing insight to our kids on what could go wrong. Often, advancing technology is ahead of an ethical code of conduct on how to use it. Thank you Chris for helping prepare the future leaders of our community on this important current and futuristic issue.”

Robert Majdell; Vice Principal, St. Mary Secondary School (Cobourg, ON)

“Chris Vollum’s Facebook 101 presentations were extremely informative and useful. Chris geared his student workshops to each age level and as a result, the information was impactful and relevant. His parent workshop allowed parents to discuss and question what students are dealing with on a day-to-day basis through Facebook and the latest privacy and policy issues.”

Debbie Bell; Head of School (Primary Division), Fern Hill School (Oakville, ON)

“Mr. Vollum delivered a very relevant and insightful Facebook Presentation to our Grade 9 and 10 students. This target market sat quietly listening to the ways their own Facebook profiles could be violated by sexual predators or used against them in an attempt to besmirch their reputation. Chris’ examples were eye-opening to staff and students. It was very clear due to their attentiveness that our students appreciated his profile safeguarding tips. We used Mr. Vollum’s services as part of our Anti-Bullying Prevention and Progressive Discipline strategies. Chris articulated in a manner that was congruent with our students’ Facebook vernacular. I will have him back every year.”

David DeSantis; Principal, Christ the King Catholic Secondary School (Georgetown, ON)

“Chris Vollum’s ‘Facebook 101′ presentation is dynamic and engaging for all students. The message he delivers is incredibly important, as it directly impacts students’ lives both immediately and well into the future. Facebook has become a pervasive media presence that many, many people use as a social connection tool, and Chris informs students about the dangers and hazards involved, and how they can use Facebook safely and effectively. Chris’s presentation style is warm and direct and students are immediately taken with his message— they are attentive throughout his talk.

As well, his message leads to immediate action. After his Facebook 101 assembly, large numbers of students go home after school and immediately edit their Facebook pages and increase their personal security on-line. Every school needs to hear Chris’s presentation. Facebook is here to stay, and all students need effective strategies for dealing with it. Chris Vollum provides those strategies. I highly recommend his presentation.”

Nigel Scott; Vice Principal, Robert Bateman High School (Burlington, ON)

“I have had the pleasure of hearing Chris Vollum’s presentation, ‘Facebook 101,’ on three occasions, once as a parent and then twice in my professional capacity as Principal. The message to both students and parents is informative, clear and highly engaging. In all three instances Chris had the audience’s attention for almost two hours. The message Chris conveys is of high importance in today’s high technology society. The fact that 150 Grade 6 to 8 students sat in silence for the entire presentation listening to Chris and his message about how to keep themselves safe, while still having fun on Facebook speaks volumes to the importance and relevance of ‘Facebook 101.’ They appreciated the step-by-step guidelines that Chris provided on using Facebook in a positive, safe way.”

Heather Kempff; Principal, Brookville Public School (Brookville, ON)

“Chris Vollum’s FACEBOOK 101 Workshop is a must-see for all teenagers and adults who use FACEBOOK and social media in general. The students, staff and parents in our school are all now well equipped with the tools and know-how to ensure their safety and privacy when using Facebook. I would recommend that all school administrators and PTA groups contact Chris and book him ASAP!”

Netta Greenblatt; Co-Chair Parents Assn., Ann & Max Tanenbaum Hebrew Academy of Toronto

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