Inspiring Resiliency

Stronger Than Before


Dr. Deanna Behnke-Cook Ph.D

Inspirational & Motivational Speaker, peer mentoring Program author & co-ordinator

Dr. Deanna Behnke-Cook earned her Ph.D from McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario where she focussed on youth risk behaviours, and how schools, communities, and families have an impact on the choices that youth make. She also completed a Post Doctoral Fellowship with the Faculty of Medicine, McMaster University, Population Health Research Institute, where she studied how poverty affects health outcomes for youth and their families. Her passion for supporting the young people she has the pleasure of working with allows for the amazing opportunity to turn academics into action!

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“I will not stand DOWN, rather I will STAND UP. I will not IGNORE YOU, rather, I will HEAR YOU. I will not GIVE UP ON YOU, rather I will come CLOSER to hear your whispers. I will ACKNOWLEDGE your fears, and understand as best I can. I will NOT JUDGE YOU, for who am I to judge? I will NOT operate out of FEAR, rather I will move through this space and send you LOVE.”
— Deanna

The Mission


Encouraging the development of resiliency in young people so that they may live inspired and authentic lives.


Deanna is available to speak at:


  • parent council meetings, parent information sessions & workshops

  • Schools, Graduating Class & Student Events/Assemblies

  • sports teams / athletes

  • Service Organization Events

  • Community & Fundraising Events

  • Women's Groups and Networking Events

Topic Areas

You're Right..Life's Not fair. Now what?

This talk focuses on overcoming adversity, and how we can recognize that challenges will come and go, and are in fact necessary in order for us to become more resilient. This talk is perfect for young people of all ages, including students, athletes, performers  as well as their parents, teachers, adult supporters and coaches who are looking to help young people develop strong habits such as self advocacy, empathy, and strong interpersonal and social  skills. If you have a specific topic ares/issue in mind, let us know! We will tailor this talk to meet your group's speciif needs. 


 Despite our best efforts and intentions, oftentimes we  find it difficult to talk to our teens/young adults about sex, drugs, nude selfies, and the proliferation of pornography on the internet. Yet, these hot topics are precisely the ones we need to be addressing given their impact on our young people.  Do you need to learn more about how to help your teen help themselves? Deanna provides parents, teachers, and teens with candidup to date, and frank information about what's going on, and how to talk to teens about making choicesDon't miss this topic! 


Are you Ready for Post-Secondary? Everything you need to know from a University Professor

During this dynamic and interactive session Deanna will answer questions about real issues facing young people in post secondary school. Participants will experience a “live” university course, discover first hand about workloads, methods of assessment, and about the services and supports in place for students should they face challenges once they arrive at college or university.

Parents will be provided with effective strategies they can immediately put in place to help support the development of resiliency and life skills in their young people.

Educators will be provided with recommendations that lay bare the specific skills young people should develop BEFORE they graduate from high school. 

Students will be provided with a detailed overview of what to expect as they transition to college/university. “What I Wished I Knew Before I Got Here” highlights how to get the most out of the college or university experience!

This topic has become increasingly significant given our awareness of the importance of supporting the mental health and wellness of our young people. Administrators, teachers, parents and students all benefit from participating.

The effects of Social Media and how to use it

Social media has changed the ways in which we communicate with one another. Not just for young people, but for virtually all of us. This exciting and interactive session acknowledges the challenges and concerns related to young people engaging with one another on–line, yet its focus is to provide participants with information about the power of social media, and how to skilfully and appropriately navigate the digital life. Social media is not going anywhere, and this powerful session lays out how to use it to ones benefit, not detriment!   

Parents will be provided with tips and strategies to help their young people set appropriate boundaries, and effectively navigate the digital world.

Students will benefit by learning more about the opportunities presented by social media use and the impact it has on their futures in both their personal and academic/professional lives.

Not just Surviving, but THRIVING in High School - Transitioning from Elementary to Secondary School

What does it mean to THRIVE in high school? It means more than just doing well academically, that's for certain (although that is important too!)  These 4 short years usher youth from being children to oftentimes moving away from home to attend post-secondary school. There are so many experiences to be had, skills to be developed, and opportunities for growth and achievement to enjoy in high school. 

This talk focuses on how we can encourage our young people to THRIVE during these years. Parents will discover ways in which they can further assist the development of life skills in their young people, and students will learn more about what high school is really like, and how they can truly engage in the experience so they can enjoy an amazingly successful high school career...and all that lies ahead!

Raising Resilient Young People! Resilience is not a trait, it's a skill!

Sometimes we mistakenly believe that resilience is a character trait, and that only some of us have it. This is not the case!

Resiliency is a key component of mental well-being, and is a skill that everyone can further develop. This illuminating and helpful talk details what resiliency is, why it matters, and provides a set of effective and easy-to-implement  strategies for parents, educators and students so that young people learn how to help themselves

Peer mentor ProgramS - designed to meet your needs

Youth risk behaviour interventions that utilize the peer mentor model are evidence informed and highly effective ways to address issues such as premature sexual involvement, drug use/misuse, academic engagement, social media use and peer relationships. Peer Mentors are especially effective when it comes to reaching young people because they are the student voice; authentic, relevant and real. Deanna's expertise in knowledge translation facilitates her skill  to design and develop a peer mentor program to meet the needs of your students and school community.



And many more! Do you have a topic area in mind? 

Please contact us for more information!



Book an Event

Deanna will travel to you!


    Upcoming and Past Speaking Engagements, Interviews, Program Design & Delivery, and Events.


    The MIND Project (Mentors Influencing New Directions)

    A Peer Mentor Program supporting Aboriginal Youth, Grand Erie District School Board, and Six Nations of the Grand River.



    Raising Resilient Young People

    Presented by The DVSS Parent Council at Dundas Valley Secondary School.



    Technology and the Modern Schoolgirl

    Social Media Awareness at St. Mildred's Lightbourn School.



    Youth Justice Ontario Summit

    Addressing the Strengths & Challenges facing the Youth Justice Sector.



    Are you ready for Post-Secondary School?

    "Everything you wanted to know from a University Professor": Presentation to Graduating Class of Georges P. Vanier School.


    The IDEAs Program

    Informed Decisions Empowering Adolescents

    A Peer Mentor Youth Risk Behaviour Intervention supporting the development of resiliency in young people: Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud, Conseil scolaire Viamonde. 



    Inspiring Resiliency

    Ladies Night, St. Thomas More Secondary School, Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board



    Youth Seminar Leader

    "What would you do if you knew you would not fail? Families in the 21st Century, Challenges and Strengths" 



    We would love to hear from you. Please fill in the fields below to request information and we will be happy to respond right away! 


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