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PRIDE Training Reviews

Sofie Stergianis is absolutely one of the best presenters that my husband and I have ever had the pleasure of learning from. The PRIDE course material seemed vast and hard to condense but Sofie and her excellent team of presenters brought the materials to life. They focused on what was important and provided such knowledge and empathy that this course truly enriched our lives.

As leaders, they really listened to the needs of the participants and were able to answer all our questions with wisdom, humour and sensitivity while staying on time and on topic. Sofie has deep integrity as a presenter and she is truly someone who is doing what she was meant to do.

As an adoptee, I found her seminar to be extremely accurate from an emotional and psychological perspective. Best of all, Sofie is able to create a sense of community amongst participants. Throughout the PRIDE training, she and her trainers, welcomed us all into the adoptive community with open arms. This workshop is a gem. 

Shelagh Adamson, Therapist/Teacher and Paul Moser, Loans Analyst


Sofie Stergianis and her team achieve the seemingly impossible - they take the words on the page (and there are a lot of pages in the PRIDE coursebook!) and make them truly come to life.   The approach is interactive, engaging and most of all underlaid with vast experience. In the session I attended, virtually all of us walked away with profound and unexpected insights on a variety of topics of major importance to our future plans as adoptive parents. Quite simply, we didn't know what we didn't know, and Sofie brought us all to a much deeper realization of the joys, challenges and inspiration to be derived from the adoption process. Her balance of technical expertise, personal experience and communication skills are unparalleled.

For those of you who don 't know much about PRIDE but have heard how challenging this new mandatory course imposed by the Ontario Ministry can be, all I can say is - PRIDE as taught by Sofie will never feel "mandatory", it will feel absolutely essential!  Other presenters may approach PRIDE differently, and do some justice to the challenging and very dry material, but only Sofie will make you feel truly privileged to have sat in her classroom.

Jana Machan, Healthcare Executive


Dear Sofie - We would like to thank you for making the PRIDE training so enjoyable! We believe that this was not an easy task to accomplish! We have been laughing that we even feel compelled to say thanks for something we were forced to do, and for a course we thought would be days of torture – ha! We learned a lot and got so much more out of the course than we ever expected. It truly is a merit to the teaching skills and friendliness of you and your co-trainers, that we are giving our heartfelt testimony to how much we really appreciated these last few days. If we only had the course book to go through and not your classes, it would have been dire indeed, (that book by the way will be great to put our baby to bed with at night). You managed to breathe life into an otherwise difficult topic, particularly with regards to the guest speakers that were brought in, putting faces and names to the situations we will find ourselves in one day. We are even more excited now about our adoption that ever. Thank you again.

Ronan Rogers, PhD Medical Sciences candidate and Julie Rogers, Event Planner


When I entered into the prospect of Adoption I actually had never heard of the Pride Training, so when my adoption practitioner told me I had to take the training, I thought, OK this is crazy why would I need to go? I have 3 grown children there is no way they could possibly teach me anything that I don’t already know. Well, I was wrong - by the end of the last day I was shocked at how much I did learn. The training isn’t just about how to deal with a child, it is about how to deal with an Adopted Child. With Pride, I learned….they are not the same.

The instructors were awesome, very caring people that answered all of our questions with their own personal experiences. Sofie and her team really made us all feel comfortable, while at the same time giving us the knowledge and confidence to continue down our paths to Adoption. I would recommend this training for anyone interested in adoption and/or foster parenting.

Connie McCulloch – President/Owner


A Pride team led by knowledgeable, compassionate and experienced trainers. Led by Sofie, and a team of professionals, all previous adopters, the Pride sessions are a must for anyone wishing to adopt or foster. The team was able to take an extensive binder full of curriculum and translate it into stimulating sessions. The team created a safe environment for all questions and concerns. The set up of the sessions is that that one has the opportunity to meet and interact with other perspective adopted parents. Plenty of materials with super valuable information is exhibited and shared with the whole class. As well, lots of great speakers are invited to relate their personal experiences. Overall an A+ for Sofie and her Pride team.

Jon Zinman, Teacher and Allison Denver, Social Worker


We wanted to thank you, Magda and Darby for the excellent Pride training we received. I can honestly say that we thoroughly enjoyed our days with the three of you. We also found the course a lot more interesting than anticipated I guess because all the prior reading material was very dry and, for lack of better words, boring and not motivating. Markus was originally not completely on board with the adoption process but he can now say that after your Pride training course he is more confident and sure that we are doing the right thing for us as a couple and our birth daughter. We as a family are even more excited about our new adventure and can’t wait to complete our home study so that we can move forward with the adoption agency.

Una and Markus Bond


Like many couples, we have found the adoption process at times difficult, intimidating and isolating. In contrast, we found the PRIDE training offered by Sofie to be energizing, fun, engaging, and very informative. We came away feeling like we are much farther down the path in terms of knowledge and comfort, and feel more reassured about many of our worries. Through the course, we have become part of a community of people who we can rely on throughout the process and afterwards. Sofie and her associates made the PRIDE course much more personal, with pertinent examples and real-life experiences that they have all had. They helped build a very trusting and supportive environment - we would highly recommend Sofie as an instructor for this course to any potential adoptive parent.

Nick and Kyla McTien


We had a wonderful experience with Sofie and her expert team of presenters.  Initially we had felt like the PRIDE training was unnecessary and was more of a hinderance since it involved so much of our time.  But once we took this set of sessions with Sofie, it was amazing how much we learned and discovered, both of the adoption process and about ourselves.  The discussions with other perspective families brought new insights to both of us, and we will cherish the opportunity for connecting that the PRIDE team gave us.  Equally valuable were the personal experiences shared by the team.  This set of sessions opened up many avenues for us on our adoption journey, and we have Sofie Stergianis and the PRIDE team to thank for that.  Highly recommend them!!

Monica Maniar, Chiropodist and Bharat Maniar, Accountant


Sofie and her experienced panel of professionals showed us the greatest sensitivity and compassion in our decision to pursue PRIDE training not long after losing our twin boys prematurely.  All the leaders used their own adoptive experience to show us the realities of adoption, not only for the adoptive parents, but the children and the birth families in all types of adoptive situations.  Their empathy and ability to work through all our questions with sensitivity and much needed humour, raises Sofie and her team to the status of heroes in our view, and we highly recommend her program to anyone considering domestic, private or international adoption.

Elise C. Cole, Teen Services Librarian and David Hook, Manager, Operations Information


Sofie, we really enjoyed the PRIDE training. Although it was quite intensive, it was very informative. All the facilitators, who are also adoptive parents, shared their real life experience with us and did a great job in keeping us engaged and attentive through the multimedia presentations and group discussions. We particularly found the sharings of the birth mother, and the Korean and Canadian adopted ladies, very helpful and inspiring in the last day of training. PRIDE is also a great place to network and exchange ideas with other perspective adoptive parents. Thanks for the hard work from you and your co-workers!

Simon and Catherine Siu


We would without reservation recommend the PRIDE training led by Sofie Stergianis. Her team was able to speak not only from vast knowledge, but from their personal experiences. Every one of the presenters brought their own unique stories and a love for their work. Throughout the training Sofie’s team asked for feedback and worked to continuously improve the format and environment of the course. We are now looking forward to attending the Family and Friends seminar.

Tasha and Miguel Aburto


I am so glad that PRIDE is a mandatory course because I would not have wanted to miss this opportunity! It provided me with an invaluable and very in-depth look at adoption from many different angles, some of which I had never considered. A number of the class discussions triggered the need for me reflect on some critical psycho-social issues -- such as attachment, loss, and interracial families -- that will impact my family in the short and longer term. Ultimately I left the training feeling more confident, and better equipped to continue in the adoption journey. The network of practitioners and other adoptive families was a very intimate one by the end of our days together, and I know I will continue to stay connected with many of these individuals for a very long time.

Val Duffey, CHRP

After seeing the PRIDE binder, what we came to refer ominously to as "The Materials", we truly dreaded what we were sure would be a government-mandated colossal waste of time and money. By the first half-day, Sofie, Darby, and Magda had completely won our attention, our respect, and our hearts. As a university instructor myself (and a hard critic of presentations), I cannot stress enough how their seminar was presented with consummate skill and humor, always keeping everyone interested and engaged. Never did we feel as if we were being lectured to. All being adoptive parents, Sofie, Darby and Magda all had very personal experiences to bring to the seminar, and truly brought the material to life. The interaction they encouraged through active participation helped the participants to understand the important concepts being covered, enabled us to feel as we all were contributing valuable knowledge to the learning process by sharing our own varied experiences, and made us feel very comfortable with discussing what are essentially very personal thoughts and beliefs. We not only found Sofie’s seminar wonderfully enlightening, but it was exciting watching the lights come on among our fellow participants as well, many of whom leaving the seminar with very different perspectives then they had coming in.

Sofie, Darby, and Magda have had an impact on our lives… for that we cannot thank them enough.

Denis Tetreault, Ph.D., University Professor


The PRIDE course as taught by Sofie, Magda and Darby reached far beyond the rather dry boundaries of the regulatory requirements of the adoption process. It was incredible to feel how, during the sessions of the PRIDE course, a special bond was growing between us and Sofie, Magda and Darby. Adoptive parents themselves, they guided us with patience, humor and wit along the intricacies of the adoption process. They provided the best professional advice in the warmest and most confident manner.

For reasons that I lately gave up trying to understand, as part of a more positive attitude (thanks to Sofie for this!), the first steps of our adoption journey have been too many times quite hurtful. I had the feeling that I was surrounded by impenetrable walls that separate me from my own goals and dreams. The magical power of Sofie was to make me realize that those walls are there, indeed, but it only takes hope, love and strength to go through them and reach our goals. Nothing is impossible when there are will, understanding and good professional advice.  Sofie, Magda and Darby gave us all of these during the PRIDE training. Thank you for everything!

Monica Radulescu, Ph.D, P.Geo, Hydrogeologist


The adoption process can be an overwhelming experience. There are so many steps to take that it’s hard to get your bearings. Taking Sofie’s PRIDE training not only helped set our minds at ease but helped us focus on our ultimate goal: to start our family. We can’t thank her and her team enough for giving us such valuable information and support on our road to realizing that goal. Thanks for everything Sofie.

Evan Sue-Ping, Director of Production and Design


The delivery of the training was way beyond our initial expectations... Based on the material (binder) we had received ahead of the session, we were expecting a dull, mandatory and dry training, focusing on the legalities or only telling us things we knew already, or platitudes around children.... The complete opposite! The training was really enriching, we learnt a lot and became aware of things that we did not even suspect we needed to know….. the training had a fantastic energy….probably because we were fortunate to be in such a friendly group of smart and fun people attending the course, but mostly thanks to Sofie’s impeccable teaching skills and incredible experience. Sofie, as well as Magda and Darby could not have been better pedagogues and their combined experience as adoptive parents added a lot of value to the course. The way the course was organized, the choice of guest speakers...the constant interactivity...everything was exactly as a course should be, with the right dose of theory, discussions, seriousness and fun.

Some of the videos used during the course could have gained in being updated and less US-centric...but even that sometimes added some fun to very serious subject matters…...In a nutshell, we found the course perfect and feel somewhat nostalgic about it... To top it up, even the food was great!

Laurent Papaix, Human Resource Professional & David Toto, Managing Director, Advertising


Before taking the PRIDE course, we grumbled to ourselves about the fact that pregnant couples are not expected to take a mandatory course on parenting. After completing the first day of training, we'd already changed our tune ~ we realized that we are, in fact, the lucky ones. All parents (and most people in general) could vastly benefit from this course. It cannot be expressed how much we enjoyed it. Naturally there were some emotionally difficult moments for us, with relation to the challenges we've faced (and continue to face) in our journey to become parents.
 
 Adoption is something with which we are both very familiar... Jenn has an adopted brother in her family, and Roy and his sister were both adopted into their family. Roy felt that he explored and analyzed his own adoption more within the four-day course period than he had within his entire life. This was positive in some ways, difficult in others. One of the guest speakers, an international adoptee, helped Roy tremendously by validating his feelings about his own birth family. Even when particular topics proved challenging, they ultimately helped us understand, clarify, and come to terms with our feelings.
 
 Sofie and her team made everything fun and interesting. They were very approachable, patient, encouraging, and extremely entertaining... but still professional. We both feel that we learned a huge amount. Although we came home exhausted each day, and were glad to complete the training, we were in fact a bit sorry to see it come to an end. After discovering the wealth of valuable information that Sofie can offer, we're very much looking forward to taking more courses with her in future. We're so pleased to have had such a helpful, fascinating, and rewarding experience.
  
 Jenn and Roy Griffin, Web Designer & Pilot


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