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:
Hay River Family Support Centre and Safe Home Network
Hay River, Northwest Territories
- Target Group:
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal teen girls up to the age of 20.
- Contact Name:
Michelle Schmitz, Executive Director
The Hay River women's shelter and safe home network was established in 1985. A second stage home (transition home) was acquired in the early '90s. The Youth Scrapbooking program started in 2010. The Hay River Family Support Centre and Safe Home Network is the oldest women's shelter in the NWT and has added and expanded programs and resources over its 27 year history. Women from all over the NWT and Nunavut have used this shelter, and many have re-located permanently to Hay River. This shelter has always maintained an outreach program with women and girls in the nearby First Nation reserve.
- Goals & Objectives:
To teach clients that violence in a relationship is not normal. To build an awareness of available services and to connect clients to a wider supportive women's community.
- Traditional/Indigenous ways:
- Components of program:
The program holds weekly scrapbooking sessions at the K'atl'odeeche First Nation reserve's youth centre. The program introduces teen girls from Hay River to teen girls on the reserve helping them to build a network of supportive women their own ages. Videos concerning family violence, healthy relationships and health issues are viewed. There is also individual in person or phone crisis intervention counselling available to those girls in need of it. The scrapbooking activity focuses on knowing and honouring one's family history.
- Services/How they work:
Services are provided on site at the facility.
Funding provided by the Government of the Northwest Territories.
Relationships and Stakeholders
- Involvement of Target Groups:
The Youth Scrapbooking program is delivered by women who work at the Hay River Family Support Centre. The board of the Hay River Family Support Centre are all women. The program is supported by the K'atl'odeeche First Nation, who make their Youth Centre available for this activity.
K'atl'odeeche First Nation
- Other relationships:
Local service providers as needed
Details of Program Evaluation
No evaluation has been completed.
- Highlights of Evaluation Findings:
- Measures of Success:
Success is measured by the increased health and safety of teen girls in the Hay River area. Teen girls are now coming to (and phoning) the women's shelter for counselling and/or information related to family violence, addictions, bullying etc.
The Youth Scrapbooking program has provided a safe venue to bring teen girls together to learn more about their own health and safety. The program is very popular and the girls often call the shelter to make sure it is 'on' each week. The shelter has experienced an increase in teen girls 'dropping in' for support, information and counselling. One of the biggest overall accomplishments is that the Family Support Centre has had the same staff for the last 5 years (5 full time, 2 part time and 5 casuals). This has lead to greater program stability. The community is very supportive with donations of buffalo meat and other food.
It's important to keep the scrapbooking and other supplies organized and ready-to-go. These supplies are kept in large containers for easy transport to the reserve. When there is no ice road to the reserve it takes longer to drive so the staff person has to allow enough time to get there in the late spring, summer and early fall.
Things to Know to Replicate
- Replication Advice:
The program is considered replicable. If you want to attract teen girls don't say the program is about family violence. Think of an activity that they will enjoy, such as scrapbooking or cosmetology (hair and makeup), and then incorporate information about healthy relationships and local resources in a subtle way. The girls will naturally talk about their boyfriends, family issues, and their fears and hopes; all while being involved in the activity.
Sufficient funding and appropriately trained staff are necessary to deliver the program effectively.
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