Family Violence Initiative

COMPENDIUM OF PROMISING PRACTICES TO REDUCE VIOLENCE AND INCREASE SAFETY OF ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN CANADA – COMPENDIUM ANNEX: DETAILED PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS

INTERACTIONS WITHIN COMMUNITIES

Healthy Relationships: Children and Youth

Program name:

Reclaiming Our Own Spirit

Organization:

Creating Hope Society

Location:

Edmonton, Alberta

Target Group:

Aboriginal Youth (Ages 12 – 15)

Contact Name:

Bernadette Lahtail

Phone:

1-780-477-7961

Email:

Pmanager@creatinghopesociety.ca

Website:

www.creatinghopesociety.ca

Program Overview
History:

The program began in 2009. The program was originally a mixed group, but then the girls and boys were separated because the boys were bullying the girls.

Program Description:
Goals & Objectives:

To provide a safe environment and peer support for Aboriginal at risk youth.

Traditional/Indigenous ways:

The team utilizes smudging, has used sweat-lodges, cultural camps, and has taken the boys to pipe ceremonies. Elders are involved in the program and provide teachings. Women Elders are brought in to teach the girls women's teachings, and moss bag teachings.

Components of program:

Through recreational, cultural, and educational activities, the program attempts to keep at risk youth in safe after school activities, make better choices, and stay away from harmful activities.

Services/How they work:

The program offers services on site as well as taking youth out on supervised trips.

Funding:

Funding is received through the Department of Public Safety Canada's National Crime Prevention Centre.

Relationships and Stakeholders
Involvement of Target Groups:

Youth become involved through word of mouth by staff visiting the schools and speaking with them.

Partners:

The Rosslyn School, the John Humphrey School, the Edmonton Police Service, the Canadian Red Cross's Respect Ed program and the Racism Free Edmonton program.

Other relationships:

The program team attempts to work with parents, families, school principals, teachers, and the local drug coalition organizations.

Details of Program Evaluation
Evaluation:

An evaluation has been completed (Available on request).

Highlights of Evaluation Findings:

Obstacles relating to successful school attendance are connected to an absence of good parenting skills which can become an even greater obstacle in a single parent household lacking parenting skills. Participants had poor perceptions of self-worth which made them more vulnerable to peer pressure. Another major contributor to the problem was identified as the loss of cultural identity.

Program Outcomes
Measures of Success:

There are high numbers in the program because participants have the lunch and field trip incentives. There are evaluations performed after the each program, with pre and post intake forms. Through these intake forms, there is a marked increase in success and participation in the program. Parents' comments relate to success of student participants.

Achievements:

Through attending the program youth are no longer on the streets. Being able to offer a healthy and safe environment has been another achievement of the program.

Challenges:

Getting the parents involved with the program presents challenges. Working with the school staff has also been challenging at times. Sometimes families don't show up for events, and consent forms are often not signed and returned. Obtaining funding and sustainability of the program is always a constant challenge. If ongoing funding is not found, the program will end in October of 2012.

Things to Know to Replicate
Replication Advice:

The program can be replicated. Youth workers must be highly screened and bring a positive outlook each and every day.

Resources:

Training of youth workers in cultural knowledge and history is very important. It is important for youth workers to be Aboriginal so that the youth can identify with them.

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