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Are you aware of any innovative programs, legislation or initiatives that make a difference in the healthy development of children and youth?  Here's what to do:

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Alberta Registered Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship combines on-the-job training under the supervision of a qualified tradesperson (journeyman) and classroom instruction at a post-secondary training establishment.

Apprenticeship is a partnership. An employer, through a journeyman, provides most of the training to the apprentice so he or she can learn the skills of the trade. To help this partnership along, Advanced Education and Career Development, an Alberta government department, registers the apprentice, offers advice if it's needed and monitors the apprentice's progress. The Department also arranges for the formal (classroom) instruction part of the process at the right training establishment for that particular trade.

The website listed below provides further information pertaining to registration, types of trades available, length of training period and possibilities available for registered apprentices.

Contact: Apprenticeship and Industry Training, Advanced Education and Career Development, 10155 102 St. , Edmonton, Alberta, T5J 4L5, Tel 403.427.8765 Fax 403.422.7376 Email aitinfo@aecd.gov.ab.ca Website http://www.tradesecrets.org


Alexandra Park Residents’ Association

Through the efforts of the residents’ association, Alexandra Park has undergone a transformation — from a centre for drug trafficking, where residents were plagued by crime and violence—to a vibrant cohesive community where residents of all ages are involved in community life.

The Alexandra Park Residents’ Association underwent an extensive reorganization in 1990, when local residents became fed up with the poor quality of life in their neighbourhood and began a series of initiatives toward renewal. A new association executive strengthened the association’s ties with other community organizations, seeking assistance from local politicians, schools, the police, the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority (MTHA), city departments, and other local agencies.

With the assistance of the MTHA and City of Toronto officials, the association removed walls and shrubs that hid drug dealers, and improved lighting in the community. The association worked with the police and the MTHA to evict tenants operating crack houses and to increase the frequency of patrols to discourage gangs of drug traffickers.

In addition to these enforcement measures, the association worked with the MTHA and the City of Toronto Mayor’s Task Force on Drugs to develop a prevention program for young people. Through this project, a youth co-ordinator worked with a group of young people at high risk for drug abuse and drug trafficking.

The association has continued to devote resources to activities aimed at preventing substance abuse among young people. Current initiatives include an economic development project to help young people create small businesses and access job-readiness training; children’s recreational programming (for example, basketball); and youth dances and other social events at the community centre.

In keeping with its philosophy of empowering youth, the Alexandra Park Residents’ Association actively involves young people in association activities. Two young people are members of the association’s board of directors, which is made up exclusively of community members. In addition, the local community centre, which serves as the venue for association activities, maintains a policy of hiring local youth for jobs at the centre. Over the past year, eight young people have been employed in part-time or seasonal positions at the centre.

The work of the association has resulted in tangible changes in the community. Local residents are reportedly less suspicious of strangers in the community. The gangs of drug traffickers have been dispersed, and most of the crack houses have been eliminated. Local residents are currently negotiating with the MTHA to have their units turned into co-operative housing. In recognition of the positive changes its activities have fostered in the community, the Alexandra Park Residents’ Association received the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) Award of Distinction in 1995.

Funding for the youth program and other activities is generated by the association, which raises over $30,000 a year through activities such as bingo hall rentals and bake sales. A network of community partners also provides ongoing support for programming efforts. For example, the recreational programs for youth are offered in collaboration with a local school, which provides gym space, and the local housing authority, which provides staff and supplies.

Contact: Alexandra Parks Residents' Association, 105 Grange Crt., Toronto, ON, Tel 416.603.9603

Source for this description: Fralick, P. And Hyndman, B. Youth Substance Abuse and the Determinants of Health, 1996


ASAP: A School-based Antiviolence Program

ASAP was developed by the London Family Court Clinic in co-operation with London, Ontario educators and community members. It was originally designed as a violence prevention program for secondary schools focussing on gender issues in violence. Later, it grew to include elementary school initiatives including antibullying programs and gender- and culture-equity programs. Evaluations have shown positive results and the interventions have been well-documented in a manual and in videos. The program is now being replicated in several sites across Canada. In addition to local school, community and government resources, financial contributions to the development, evaluation and dissemination of the program included Health Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training, the London Free Press, the Ontario Hydro Corporate Citizenship Fund, the Richard and Jean Ivey Foundation and the Donner Canadian Foundation.

Contact: London Family Court Clinic, 254 Pall Mall St., Suite 200, London, ON, N6A 5P6, Tel 519.679.7250 Fax 519.675.7772 Email info@lfcc.ca

Publications Clerk at family@lon.hookup.net


The Baby Project

BABY is one of 21 Pregnancy Outreach Programs (POP) throughout BC, providing education and support to pregnant women who do not typically access traditional prenatal health services. To distinguish itself from other POP sites in the province of British Columbia, the Dze l K’ant Aboriginal Friendship Centre gave its program a name few expectant mothers could resist. BABY stands for Best Available Baby Yet.

The Dze l K’ant Aboriginal Friendship Centre is participating in a province-wide effort to provide helping services to women at risk of having low birthweight babies and other poor pregnancy outcomes such as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol effects (FAE). The BABY Project is the first British Columbia POP to offer services on reserves.

The BABY project offers a pregnancy outreach program to high-risk families, including Aboriginal and multicultural communities. In the first one-and-a-half years of program delivery, 67 percent of the clients were Aboriginal, 54 percent lived on reserves, 77 percent were low income and 31 percent were 19 years and under. The others were primarily between the ages of 19 and 25 years.

The objective of the BABY project is to encourage lifestyle changes that will help pregnant women have the healthiest babies possible. The program helps families learn how to eat foods that build a healthy baby, quit smoking and stop using drugs and alcohol, and encourages peer and community support. Other goals are to raise self-esteem, promote dental health, and encourage physical activity, early physician care and breastfeeding. Each POP is co-ordinated by a health professional (either a nurse or registered dietician/nutritionist), but the majority of direct client service is done by peer or lay counsellors who live in the local communities.

The success of the BABY program is due, in part, to support from the communities it serves. Donations of food, maternity and children’s clothing, educational materials, and furnishings, and referrals to and from agencies, health and education professionals and other individuals, sustain the program.

A program advisory board, composed of a community health nurse, physician, alcohol and drug counsellor, a former client, a social worker, a family support worker and the executive director of the Friendship Centre, meet regularly (every two months) to provide direction, review progress and anticipate changes.

Contact: Program Co-ordinator, The BABY Project, Dze l K’ant Aboriginal Friendship Centre, Box 2920, Smithers, BC, V0J 2N0, Tel 604.847.5211 Fax 604.847.5144


Bear Creek Park

Bear Creek Park is a success story of youth involvement in community planning and development. The Surrey Recreation Department challenged young people to become involved in designing Bear Creek Park. As a result they ended up with a skateboarding area, a climbing wall, an in-line skating track and a sports box with a half-court. Youths were involved in the planning throughout, and will be in charge of making sure that it runs smoothly once it is all built.

Contact: Gaston Royer, Surrey Parks and Recreation, 7452-132nd St, Surrey, BC, V3W 4M7, Tel  604.501.5065

Source for this description: National Crime Prevention Council, Preventing Crime by Investing in Families and Communities. Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old, May 1997.


Better Beginnings, Better Futures

Better Beginnings, Better Futures (BBBF) is a multi-ministry prevention program operating in eight high risk communities. An integral part of the program is longitudinal research to evaluate the effectiveness of the BBBF model of prevention. The programs operate in eight high risk, low income Ontario communities, including one First Nations community.

Programs are provided for children from birth to four-years-old in five communities, and, for four to eight-year-olds in three communities. In both types of programs, the objectives are: to reduce the incidence of preventable serious long-term emotional and behavioural problems in children, to promote the optimal social, physical, and cognitive development in children at the highest risk for such problems; and to strengthen the ability of communities to respond effectively to the social and economic needs of children and their families.

The programs provide homevisiting to expectant and new parents, high quality child care programs, and in-class and in-school assistance in primary schools. Family and community-identified components such as drop-in centres, recreational programs, breakfast/lunch programs, parent training and single parent support groups may also be offered.

The BBBF model is being extensively evaluated by researching the outcomes for children, families and communities by the Research Coordination Unit at Queen’s University. The demonstration phase of the project has ended and a comprehensive outcome report on this phase is expected in late fall 1999. The next step will be to undertake a twenty-year follow-up study to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of this model of prevention as the children grow into adulthood.

The research funding is provided to address three main questions:

Effectiveness – Is the model effective? Does the model produce positive outcomes for children?

Organization – If the model is effective, what were the processes that produced those outcomes? How was the model organized and managed?

Cost – What are the costs, cost savings and costs effectiveness of the model?

Contact: Better Beginnings, Better Futures Research Coordination Unit, Queen's University, 98 Barrie Street, Kingston, ON, Canada, K7L 3N6   Tel 613.533.6672  Website: http://bbbf.queensu.ca/contact.html


Black Learners Advisory Committee

The Black Learners Advisory Committee in Nova Scotia noted that the school drop-out rate for young Black men was 57 percent compared to 42 percent for non-Black men between the ages of 15 and 18. Young Black women were 25 percent more likely to leave school than non-Black women. Black students often had more than one reason for leaving school. Many drop-outs—76 percent—said they did not relate to school or were bored. Sixty-nine percent needed to work, while almost half—42 percent—cited personal and family problems. Twelve percent indicated racism as a factor, while 4 percent were told to leave by school authorities.

The Black Learners Advisory Committee (BLAC) report found that schools must be far more sensitive to the particular needs of Black students. Many drop-outs spoke of an alienating school environment where they received little or no encouragement and guidance, and had to deal with insensitive and sometimes prejudiced teachers.

The BLAC report concluded that society and the schools must counter the hopelessness felt by many Black children, by providing positive reinforcement, praise and encouragement.

Contact: Council of African Canadian Education, 2021 Brunswick St., P.O. Box 528, Halifax, NS, B3J 2S9, Tel 902.424.2678,  Black Report on Education, Readdressing Inequity, Empowering Black Learners, 1994.

Source for this description: The Progress of Canada’s Children, 1996


Boys and Girls Club of Canada: Active Living Initiative

The Youth-At-Risk Program, which is part of the Boys and Girls Club of Canada Active Living Initiative, encourages participation in physical activity and provides opportunities for youth to develop new skills that enhance self-esteem, decision-making and leadership.

The Ottawa-Carleton club was one of three clubs to participate in the Youth-At-Risk pilot project in 1995. The other clubs were located in Red Deer, Alberta and St. John, New Brunswick. Here are some examples from the pilot project:

In Ottawa-Carleton, late-night basketball keeps kids off the streets and away from crime. Skills in leadership, conflict resolution and communication make this activity more than just a game. A Girls Support Leadership Program trains teenage girls to be game officials.

In Red Deer, the Outdoor Adventure Program featured hiking, cross-country skiing and other outdoor activities which helped kids learn new physical skills. Another aim of this project was to help youth build self-esteem and confidence in themselves.

In St. John, the Boys and Girls Club partnered with the school community to offer intramural activities to youth after school.

In Nova Scotia, the Cole Harbour Boys and Girls Club have proposed a program that includes physical activity, as well as opportunities for youth to speak out about issues of importance to them.

In Calgary, the Boys and Girls Club is developing a project to help teenage girls overcome barriers to regular participation in physical activity and recreation.

Contact: 412 Nepean St., Ottawa, ON, K1R 5G7, Tel 613.232.3951 ext 22 Fax 613.230.0891 Website http://www.boys-girls.com


Bridges Employability Project

The Bridges Employability Project discovered that women who have been abused as children or young adults and who have been on government assistance can attain financial independence but it will take longer than the six months generally allowed under Canada Employment funding guidelines. Further, this project shows that, if women who have been abused are to achieve "lasting independence from government financial assistance, their needs must be met through intensive one-to-one support, counselling and follow-up."

The profile of the women who used the Bridges program also suggests that women who have been abused and must utilize employability programs are more likely than other women on financial assistance to have a wide range of problems which contribute to their employment difficulties. These women are more likely to:

• have survived childhood abuse
• be single parents of young children needing childcare
• have less than Grade 12 education
• have had no previous job-related training
• have lived away from their parents from a younger age
• have been employed in the past for a short period of time
• have an unstable employment history
• be in poor health
• have a current or past substance abuse problem.

The co-ordinators of this project stress that the full range of problems that create barriers to the employability of women who are abused must be addressed if these women are to become financially independent over the long term.

The project produced Building Bridges: A Guide for Setting Up an Employability Project for Women Abuse Survivors in Your Community. This unique kit was authored by Arlene Wells and produced by the Bridges for Women Society, Victoria, British Columbia in 1994. It shows communities how to assist abused women in their quest for healing through personal and financial independence. The Bridges program works to improve the employability of women who have been abused. After comparing this program with another one designed to enhance employability in the general population, the evaluators concluded that women abuse survivors were not likely to be as effectively served by the general program, but required the extra services provided by the Bridges program.

Contact: Box 5732, Stn. B, 519 Pandora St., Victoria, BC, V8R 6S8, Tel 250.385.7410 Fax 250.385.7459


The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program

The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program was announced in July 1994. This ongoing federal program is delivered through the Community Action Program for Children, a component of the Brighter Futures Initiative.

The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program is a comprehensive program designed to provide food supplementation, nutrition counselling, support, education, referral and counselling on lifestyle issues to pregnant women who are most likely to have unhealthy babies.

The program, delivered through Health Canada regional offices, funds community groups to establish and deliver services that address the needs of low income pregnant women. Long-term financial assistance is provided through contributions to support these services.

The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program supports comprehensive community based services, especially designed to build upon existing prenatal health programs across Canada. It offers resources, based on population (number of births) to provinces and territories to expand prenatal nutrition programs, and in cases where they do not exist, to assist in setting them up. The program establishes and enhances services but does not duplicate or replace other government services.

Targets include:

  • pregnant adolescents
  • youth at risk of becoming pregnant
  • pregnant women who abuse alcohol or other substances
  • pregnant women living in violent situations
  • off-reserve Aboriginals and Inuits
  • refugees
  • pregnant women living in isolation or not having access to services.

Contact:  Judy Watson, Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program, Childhood & Youth Division, Health Promotion & Programs Branch, Health Canada, Finance Building, Tunney's Pasture, Ottawa, ON K1A 1B5, Tel 613.952.0240, Email  capc-cpnp@www.hc-sc.gc.ca  Website  http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hppb/childhood-youth/cbp/cpnp/


The Canadian Home and School Federation

CHSF is a national, non-profit and non-partisan umbrella organization for ten provincial affiliates representing parents committed to improving the quality of education available to their children.

The CHSF provides a variety of information resources for parents. Brochures, book reviews, bibliographies, publications and document extracts are available, as well as parent resource kits and access to a monthly newsletter.

Contact: CHSF, Suite 1240-427 Laurier Ave., Ottawa, ON, K1R 7Y2, Tel 613.234.7292 Fax 613.234.3913 Email chsptf@cyberus.ca  Website http://cnet.unb.ca/cap/partners/chsptf/


Canadian Mothercraft’s Birth Companion

Contact: Kim Hiscott, 475 Evered, Ottawa, ON, K1Z 5K9, Tel 613.728.1839 Fax 613.728.0097


CAPSLE - Community Alternative Program for Suspended Learners in Etobicoke

CAPSLE is a voluntary program that offers intensive support to learners between the ages of 10 and 18 who are under long-term school suspension (6 to 20 days). The goal of CAPSLE is to help the learner return to the school, family and community with positive alternatives to their current behaviour and new strategies for overall success. Program staff liaise with community service providers, school personnel and local police to provide learners with academic support, life skills, individual counselling, career development support, extracurricular programs, information workshops and parental outreach. The program provides a wide network of ongoing support to the learner, their family, and their schools. This process commences at intake and continues throughout the learner’s stay in the program and during the re-entry process to the receiving school.

Contact: Etobicoke Board of Education, 1 Civic Centre Court, Etobicoke, ON M9C 2B3, Tel   416.394.4953   Fax 416.394.4965

Source for this description: National Crime Prevention Council, Preventing Crime by Investing in Families and Communities. Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old, May 1997



CATCH works within East Hamilton and Stoney Creek and is a community-based program to:

  • Involve the community in becoming active decision-makers in planning strategies to bring changes in their environment.
  • Promote healthy child, family and community life through improving community support and caregiving systems.
  • Provide safer environments for children (both inside and outside the home).

Contact: Project Co-ordinator Tel  905.546.4295 or Heather Thomas Tel  905.525.9140 ext 22404, Fax 905.546.4389


Change Your Future

Change Your Future (CYF) which operates in twelve Ontario school boards is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship Anti-Racism Secretariat and administered by the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training. CYF targets visible-minority students considered to be at risk of dropping out of school. Mentoring in the form of individual counselling with a CYF counsellor and group sessions are used to improve students’ marks and interest in school, and reduce dropout and transfer rates. Alternative schooling methods are also used. A two-year evaluation by the Toronto Board of Education showed a nine percent dropout rate compared with a 19 percent dropout rate for a comparison group. While CYF is designed for visible minority students, participants believe that the program has much to offer to all students.

Contact: 1 Dundas Street West, P.O. Box 79, Toronto, ON, M5J 1Z3 Tel   416.204.4478  Fax 416.204.4378  Email info@tlp.on.ca   Website http://www.tlp.on.ca/cyf/whatis.html  

Source for this description: Anisef, P. Making the Transition from School to Employment, 1996


Chicago Child-Parent Center Program

The Chicago Child-Parent Program provides comprehensive education, family, and health services to low-income children enrolled in alternative early childhood programs in 25 sites in Chicago, Illinois. The program includes half-day pre-school at ages three to four years, half- or full-day kindergarten, and scholl-age services in linked elementary schools at ages six to nine years.

A 15-year follow-up study has now been completed on the long-term effects of the Child-Parent Center Program on educational achievement and juvenile arrests. This study is important, in part, because it is the first study of the long-term effects of a pre-school program implemented on a wide-spread basis by school districts and human service agencies. Until now, such studies have focused on the effects of model demonstarion programs rather than large-scale institutionalized programs supported by the state and federal investments.

Findings from the study indicated that, relative to the pre-school comparision group, children who participated in the pre-school intervention for one or two years had a higher rate of high school completion, more years of completed education, and lower rates of juvenile arrest, violent arrests, and school drop-out. The authors came to the conclusion that "participation in an established early childhood intervention for low-income children was associated with better educational and social outcomes up to age 20 years. These findings are among the strongest evidence that established programs administrated through public schools can promote children's long term success."

Contact: (for information on the research) Arthur J. reynolds, Waisman Center on Mental Retardation and Human Development, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1500 Highland Ave., Madison, WI, 53705; Email ajreynol@facstaff.wisc.edu


Child Friendly Calgary’s Youth Volunteer Corps and Youth Advisory Council to the Mayor

Advising the mayor on city policy, reviewing a museum display, evaluating a restaurant, assisting in a senior’s residence — these are typical activities for the teens who take part in Child Friendly Calgary’s Youth Volunteer Corps and Youth Advisory Council to the Mayor. The Child Friendly Calgary program is designed to make the city more attuned to children’s needs and to involve youth in the community.

The non-profit, proactive organization is an umbrella group for several initiatives. In addition to the 250-member Youth Volunteer Corps and 30-member Advisory Council, they have a teen-led Youth Foundation that raises money for philanthropic causes, a Peace Heroes Program that fosters a peaceful learning environment in the schools, an accreditation program that uses teen volunteers to carry out inspections of businesses that want a "child-friendly" designation, and a convention package for children who come to Calgary with parents who are attending conventions.

Making children a community priority has had visible results. The community is much more aware of the needs of its children and actively seeks out the youth perspective on issues that affect them. The members of the Youth Volunteer Corps work at 50 non-profit agencies throughout the community and their efforts and energy have been well-received.

For the teens involved, Child Friendly Calgary programs give them opportunities to have a voice in civic affairs, a sense of ownership about their community, and a much better idea of how much work is involved in running a city.

Contact: Child Friendly Calgary, #720 Lancaster Building, 304-8th Ave S.W., Calgary, AB, T2P 1C2, Tel  403.266.5448  Fax   403.265.1932 Website http://www.calcna.ab.ca/populati/communit/friendly/friendly.html

Source for this description: Canada’s Children, 1996


City of Vancouver Civic Youth Strategy

The Civic Youth Strategy is co-chaired by the Child and Youth Advocate and Manager of Youth Services, Vancouver Parks and Recreation. The purpose of the program is to provide support services for children and youth. The project involves youths as active partners in the development and delivery of civic services that have a direct impact on young people. It supports youth-driven groups as a consultation source for city planners.

Contact: Social Planning Department, 250 West Heritage Building, City Square, Box 96, 555 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5Z 3X7, Tel 604.871.6032

Source for this description: National Crime Prevention Council, Preventing Crime by Investing in Families and Communities. Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old, May 1997

Children Learning for Living

Children Learning For Living (CLFL) is a program of the Ottawa Board of Education that includes classroom curricula on topics such as feelings, communication and problem-solving for children from kindergarten to grade five, and the Amigo program which teaches children in grades five and six playground games that they teach to younger students. Informal evaluations show positive results. Teachers say they spend less time dealing with social problems. Schools report happier playgrounds, fewer school suspensions and a shift in emphasis from disciplining to dealing with problems, with the help of children.

Contact: Supervisor, CLLP, Ottawa Board of Education


Colorado Task Force on Parent Education and Involvement

The Governor’s Task Force on Parent Education and Involvement is an initiative to promote parent education, support and involvement in Colorado. The Governor’s Task Force offers several recommendations which are reviewed in detail to begin framing the discussion about what is needed and from whom. Individuals, employers, schools, civic, community and religious organizations, health care providers, the media and government at every level have a role to play in making sure that the job of parenting is valued and supported. To view the recommendations in full refer to the website below.

Contact: Governor, 136 State Capitol, Denver, CO, 80203-1791, Tel 303.866.2471 Email romer@governor.state.co.us   Website http://governor.state.co.us/gov_dir/govnr_dir/parent/intro.htm  

Communities in Schools

Communities in Schools (CIS) develops partnerships that brings resources from business, social agencies, foundations and volunteer organizations into the school to serve youth at risk for dropping out of high school. The CIS team provides a highly supportive learning experience and lowers the stress of social and emotional problems using small teams of caring adults working within the school, which provides the necessary supports.The program, which was started in the USA, claims  it can lower the drop-out rate, increase the number of high school graduations and give at-risk students the skills they need to join the workforce. Two pilot projects which were held in North York, Ontario retained 75 percent of the 259 students enrolled in the program.

Contact: Communities In Schools, National Office - 277 S. Washington Street, Suite 210, Alexandria, VA, 22314, Tel 703.519.8999 Fax 703.519.7213 Website http://www.cisnet.org


Communities Together for Children

This non-profit group has a mission to support families to find quality child care for their children. Their focus is on the family and the child. They provide consumer education and a one-stop shopping point for all forms of child care support. They work with health, education and social services systems to heighten community awareness of needs of young children and to improve and extend the services available to meet the needs of young families.

Contact: 200 South Syndicate Ave., Suite 501, Thunder Bay, ON, P7E 1C9, Tel 807.622.3980 or Heather Exeley Tel   807.624.5690


Compliance for Kids

The Compliance for Kids initiative – an Alberta, community-based program – is an example of how communities and governments can foster social and physical environments that encourage young people to make health promoting choices. The Compliance for Kids program consists of two main approaches: a lobbying effort to enact a city bylaw against tobacco sales to minors, and an educational program aimed at tobacco retailers. The latter initiative is based on the assumption that merchants’ behaviour will be influenced by their familiarity with, and acceptance of, the program. All tobacco vendors in participating communities receive signs, decals, copies of the relevant legislation, a letter from the mayor, staff training materials and other resources designed to curb tobacco sales to minors.

Vendor knowledge increased significantly in one community (from 43 percent to 86 percent) and modest increases in knowledge were obtained in the other communities. Significant reductions were seen in the percentage of vendors willing to sell cigarettes to minors who had a note from their parents or another adult.


Curé-Antoine-Labelle Secondary School

This is a school-based program that offers support and assistance to students between the ages of 13 and 16 who lack an interest in learning and are struggling with long-term, chronic problems in their lives. A team of supportive adults (including a special education teacher, psychologist, associate director, etc.) is brought together to address the multiple personal and social development needs of the students. The academic part of the program is customized to each student’s needs and abilities. A physical education and technical skills development program are also offered. The goals of the program are to teach young people self-responsibility and to create supportive relationships between themselves and adult helpers. Staff meet with parents at the beginning of the program and encourage them to be involved throughout. Every effort is made to keep the learning environment positive and relevant to the needs of students.

Contact: Claudine Moreau, psychologist, Commission scolaire des Mille-Îles, 2275 Rue Honoré-Mercier, Laval, QC, H7L 2T1, Tel 514.625.2042

Source for this description: National Crime Prevention Council, Preventing Crime by Investing in Families and Communities. Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old, May 1997


Dads Canada Initiative

The Dads Canada Initiative is a fledgling innovative program which began in London, Ontario in 1996. This program evolved out of the Dad Classes – a series of community-based sessions for expectant and new fathers – which have been running since 1990. The mission statement of the group is to promote responsible and involved fathering by supporting men’s personal development into fatherhood and healthy fathering patterns in our society. They believe that every child deserves a committed, loving, responsible father who is involved with the family.

The program is supported by the Canadian Institute of Child Health.

Contact:  Dads Can, St. Mary's Annex - Room 411, London, ON, N6A 1Y6, Tel 519.646.6095 or 1-888-DADSCAN Website http://www.dadscan.org


Daybreak Healthy Baby Club

Daybreak Parent Child Centre is a service for special needs children and their families located in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Funded primarily through a purchase of service agreement with the provincial Department of Social Services, Daybreak offers specialized services for children and a parent program that provides drop-in counselling, outreach and general support services to socioeconomically disadvantaged families.

The Daybreak Centre operates from two locations – the Children’s Centre which provides early childhood programming for fifty children on a daily basis and a three-bedroom apartment called the Parent Space, which is situated on an adjacent lot. The Parent Space not only serves as an informal drop-in centre but it is also used for parenting, lifestyle and personal development classes. The Healthy Baby Club, which is the pregnancy support program, has its home base in this space.

The Healthy Baby Club is for families affiliated with the Daybreak agency. It provides daily food supplements, prenatal counselling, outreach support and other services to low-income pregnant women in an effort to help reduce the incidence of low birthweight. Most participants are young adults.

A unique aspect of the Healthy Baby program is a "model mother" — a Daybreak staff person who spends roughly one-quarter of her time making home visits to pregnant women and new mothers. Although she provides practical advice, her biggest responsibility is to be the "nurturing other" in pregnant women’s lives. By offering a shoulder to lean on, she builds trust and helps break down the barriers that separate the disadvantaged mother-to-be from the rest of the community.

Contact: Program Director, Daybreak Healthy Baby Club, 3 Barnes Road, St. John’s, NF, A1C 3X1, Tel  709.726.8373  Fax  709.738.0255


The Dene Yati Project

In 1993, adults in the community of Lutsel’Ke in the Northwest Territories were concerned about the loss of their native Chipewyan language. Children were using their native tongue only in school during formal language classes and were speaking English in the playground and at home. Community members recognized that the loss of their language meant not only the loss of their culture, it also weakened family bonds by limiting the range of communications between children and adults.

With the help of the Dene Cultural Institute, the community initiated a program involving extended families and activities like hunting, fishing, camping and picnics that were conducive to Dene culture. While the responsibility to make these events happen and to speak their native language during the activities rested with the families, the Institute and local school provided language resources and monitored the program. Language testing showed that the children had improved proficiency in Dene and the adults in the community reported that their children were speaking more Dene at home. The success of the Dene Yati project went well beyond language proficiency. Family members felt closer to one another and stronger in their culture.

Contact: Joanne Barnaby, Executive Director of the Dene Cultural Institute, Dene Cultural Institute, P.O. Box 570, Hay River, NWT, X0E 0R0, Tel 403.874.8480 Fax 403.874.3867

Source for this description: Canada’s Children, 1996


Dialogue With the Children and Youth of Ottawa-Carleton

Between 1989 and 1993, the Ottawa-Carleton Health Department engaged in a strategic planning exercise that involved extensive dialogue and consultations with parents, children and youth living in the region, as well as with key stakeholders and service providers in child and youth health.

The processes resulted in the release of several reports and two key planning documents:

  • Healthy Children: Everybody’s Business
  • Healthy Adolescence: A Time To Discuss...A Time To Decide.

These documents describe collaborative community and school strategies for improving the health of children and youth that are based on the needs and concerns of young people and youth-serving organizations.

Contact: Ottawa-Carleton Health Department, 495 Richmond Road, Ottawa, ON K2A 4A4, Tel   613.722.2242  Fax  613.724.4217


Dufferin Mall

The Dufferin Mall in Toronto, Ontario was experiencing serious problems related to youth, street drugs and safety for women. The manager of the mall decided to develop the mall’s potential as a community resource to help address these issues. Through a series of negotiations, he brought services to the mall to address a variety of issues and problems.

A number of partners joined him in the following efforts:

• West Toronto Collegiate offered educational services, on site, for students at risk and those who had dropped out of school.

• Many of the students that were hanging out at the mall now attend school there and work part-time to earn school credits.

• A local high-school has set up a school re-entry program that has encouraged a number of students to return to school.

• A youth worker spends 40 percent of his time providing daily counselling on site (the youth worker provides a series of programs and organizes tournaments with equipment and trophies donated by the mall).

• Mall security people ally themselves with the families of problem youth, involving families in the decision to ban young people from the mall for disruptive behaviour.

• An Economic Recovery Program of the Bloor Lansdowne Committee Against Drugs was established to offer programs to revitalize neighbourhood business.

The initiative has resulted in a reduction in problems and demonstrated benefits to the population using the mall. Residents agree that the safety of the mall and the neighbourhood has improved. A number of young people have continued their education through outreach and educational opportunities offered at the mall. Job training opportunities have been created, and concrete changes, such as the attraction of more businesses and better business returns, have resulted from the Economic Recovery Program.

Contact:  Dufferin Mall Youth Services, Tel 416.535.1140

Source for this description: Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Community Safety and Crime Prevention, Models of Practice for Community Safety and Crime Prevention


Education Work Connections

Education Work Connections (EWC) was launched by the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training in response to the Report of the Royal Commission on Learning which emphasized the need for effective school-community partnerships to ensure an open path between school and work. EWC offered support to eight two-year demonstration projects, a tabloid on careers for students, workshops for teachers and community partners and an Internet newsgroup. One of the demonstration projects (in Waterloo County) offered a graduated co-operative education program combined with mentors (most of whom were seniors), community tutors and job-shadowing. Since 1990, 90 percent of participants have continued their education or taken full-time employment. Although EWC has formally ended, the demonstration projects continue.

Contact: Ministry of Education and Training, Secondary School Projects, Tel 416.325.2508

Source for this description: Anisef, P. Making the Transition from School to Employment, 1996


The Ehrlo Program of the Rancho Ehrlo Society

The Rancho Ehrlo Society in Saskatchewan offers recreation, social and cultural activities to Aboriginal youth. One program called "Dress-A-Champion" recruits Aboriginal youth to collect and distribute used hockey equipment to other Aboriginal youth in Regina’s inner city. More than 2,000 pairs of skates and 600 sets of hockey equipment were distributed between 1992 and 1997. The Outdoor Hockey League has over 450 youth at seven different inner-city communities playing organized hockey.

Contact: Ehrlo Community Services, P.O. Box 570, Pilot Butte, SK S0G 3Z0, Tel   306.781.1800  Fax 306.757.0599


Father Involvement Initiative – Ontario Network

The Father Involvement Initiative – Ontario Network (FII-ON) is a broad-based coalition of individuals and orgainizations that have come together to discuss, learn about, and encourage the involvement of fathers in the lives of their children. The members of the network share the belief that the active involvement of caring, committed and responsible fathers promotes the healthy devlopment of children. In pursuing its ultimate goal of being a major change agent in the collective responsibility of involving fathers in the development of resilient children, the FII-ON seeks to create partnerships among fathers, service providers, community groups, networks, governments, academics, business leaders and the media in order to:

  • Increase knowledge and awareness about the importance of father involvement in healthy child development.

  • Educate and support fathers in their role as positive contributors in shaping the lives of their children.

  • Encourage the creation of networks aimed at concerted action enabling the development of healthy public and workplace policies which support father involvement.

  • Support the FII mobilization process and expansion of the father involvement movement at the local, provincial, and national levels.

Contact: Father Involvement Initiative – Ontario Network (FII-ON) Secretariat, c/o Connections, 7270 County Road 29, Suite 4, RR#1 Carleton Place, ON, K7C 3P1; Tel 613.257.2779; Email fii-on@cfii.ca Website: http://www.cfii.ca


Folic Acid

Folic Acid is a B vitamin required for a healthy body. Folic acid also helps to prevent birth defects called neural tube defects (NTDs) , such as spina bifida (failure of closure of a portion of the spinal canal) and anencephaly (failure of development of the brain).

Spina bifida and other NTDs occur between the third and fourth week of fetal development, before most women even know they are pregnant.

Health Canada recommends all women of child bearing age should consume folic acid every day in order to prevent NTDs.

Women should take 0.4 milligrams of folic acid daily prior to conception and through the first four weeks of pregnancy. Scientific research confirms that folic acid taken before getting pregnant reduces the occurrence of spina bifida by up to 50 percent.

Contact: The Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Canada, 220-388 Donald Street, Winnipeg MB, R3B 2J4, Tel 1.800.565.9488  Fax  204.957.1794  Email spinab@mts.net


Food Basket

This is a system to link low income families with local producers in a collective buying club.

Contact:  Better Beginnings Tel 613.542.2835 or Good Food Box Tel 613.530.2239


Fredericton High School Student Parent Program

The Fredericton High School Student Parent Program is a stay-in-school initiative to help student parents continue their education or re-enter the educational system. It is now in its seventh year of operation. The program has two main components: a licensed day care centre and learning sessions which provide information, skills, and support to student parents. The program also offers counselling and a peer support group. Student parents who use the day care centre are required to take a credit course in parenting. The course helps students meet the challenge of being a parent by focusing on topics such as methods of effective discipline, child safety, nutrition, self-esteem, parenting and stress. The course is also open to other students (parents or non-parents) in the school.

Contact: Principal, Fredericton High School, 300 Priestman Street, Fredericton, NB E3B 6J8, Tel  506.453.5830

Source for this description: National Crime Prevention Council, Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old, 1997


Girl Power

The Ottawa-based POWER Camp is a program that addresses the self-esteem of young women. Founded in 1995 by three University of Ottawa students, POWER Camp is designed exclusively for young women between the ages of 11 and 15. It provides an empowering space for young women where activities are structured around four main themes: community development, health, life skills, and personal development. Campers decide the specific daily projects, which can include exploring media images of men and women, bicycle repair, sports and visual arts. The purpose of these projects is to encourage young women to talk about experiences and to participate in activities they otherwise would not.


Great Lakes Health Effects Program

The Great Lakes Health Effects Program's (GLHEP) mission is to protect human health in the Great Lakes basin from the effects of exposure to environmental contaminants.  GLHEP is a resource for people living and working in the Great Lakes basin to address health and environmental issues. It applies an ecosystem approach to human health, combines the latest science with informed action and works in partnership with public groups, communities and agencies.

Contact: Mary Hegan,  Environmental Health Effects Division, Health Canada, Main Building, Tunney's Pasture, 0301 A1, Ottawa, ON  K1A 0K9  Tel  613.952.8117  Fax  613.954.7612  Email   Mary_Hegan@INET.hwc.ca


Growing Together

This project was designed to improve the health, well-being and development of infants, young children and their families who are faced with multiple problems. An intervention program, Growing Together offers 20 services for individuals, family therapy, 14 group programs, and seven community approaches. Program staff visit families after a baby is born and assesses their needs and level of risk. Using this information, families are offered a variety of services ranging from health promotion to parent-infant therapy to less intensive family support and a variety of group and community development activities.

Project staff are building a partnership with the community that hopes to optimize the attachments, health, cognitive ability, language and social skills, school readiness, adjustment and competence of the community’s children from birth to age five. They are also attempting to meet the emotional and therapeutic needs of parents and families, and to help parents use social services better and to build a sense of community.

Contact: GUHD Coordinator, Family Service Association, 2 Carlton Street, Toronto, ON M5B 1J3, Tel 416.586.9777 ext. 224 Fax 416.586.0031 Email guhd@web.net


Growing Up Healthy Downtown

The Growing Up Healthy Downtown (GUHD) partnership consists of eight multi-service organizations serving the communities of families with children up to six years of age in downtown Toronto. The programs respond to local issues and respects cultural diversity. Families work with a family support worker at their GUHD agency to plan, implement and evaluate programs and community development activities.

GUHD strives to:

  • Expand programs and services for families with young children.
  • Enable parents to build new friendships and help each other out.
  • Provide opportunities for parents to become active on issues they care about.
  • Promote the use of community resources for parents.

Activities and programs include:

  • parent relief programs
  • recreation for parents and young children
  • parent/child drop-ins
  • resource libraries
  • community kitchens for meals and baby food
  • good food box programs and food buying clubs
  • support groups and educational workshops
  • community development
  • individual support and referral
  • social action.

Funding for GUHD is provided by Health Canada, Community Action Program for Children.

Contact: Karen Serwonka, GUHD Coordinator, Tel  416.586.9777 ext 224


Guidelines for Interagency Collaboration

This document provides guidelines for school principals and social agencies on how and why to initiate community partnership. It is available on the Sparrow Lake Alliance website.


Hawaii Healthy Start

The Hawaii Healthy Start program started in 1985 as a demonstration project in one very high risk community to lower the rates of child abuse and neglect for children aged four or less. It has evolved into a state-wide program designed to promote positive parenting, enhance parent/child interaction, improve child health and development, prevent child abuse and neglect, link all families to a primary health care provider, and assure optimal use of community resources.

Early identification workers review hospital admissions to locate families in target areas, and screen them using the Family Stress Checklist (Kempe). Ninety-five percent of families rated high risk agreed to be visited.

Family support workers meet with the mothers before they leave the hospital and visit them weekly for about one year, then on a monthly basis, and finally four times a year until the child turns five.

The visits are used to build a trusting relationship and serves to provide child development information, to improve parenting skills, to model child/parent interaction, to link the family to a primary health care provider and to refer the family to other social services.

In 1992, families which were screened, assessed and served from July 1987 until July 1991, were compared to confirmed child abuse and neglect cases and to other homevisiting programs. Among the 2,193 well profiled high risk families in the program, there was no abuse in 99.2 percent of those families served. The rate of abuse in the high risk families that did receive service was half the state average and less than those in families that were rated low risk at birth. There was no further abuse in any of the families already known to child protection services when first assessed by the program. Neglect in program families was half of that of families involved with less intensive visiting programs.

Contact: Program Coordinator, Healthy Start, Maternal & Child Health Branch, 1600 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 600, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96814, Tel 808.946.4771 Fax 808.942.2160


Healthy Babies, Healthy Children

In 1997, the Ontario government began a province-wide initiative aimed at improving children's chances in early life. The Healthy Babies, Healthy Children program identifies children from birth to six years of age who are at risk for poor social, emotional, cognitive and physical health, and intervenes to help those children get a better start in life.

A unique aspect of the program is the Lay Home Visitors. When hospital staff identify a newborn as being at risk, they refer the parents to the program. Those who wish to participate receive the services of a trained parent, supervised by a health or social services professional, who provides advice and emotional support to help improve parenting skills.

The province expects that about 25 percent or 37,500 of the approximately 150,000 babies born each year in Ontario will be referred to public health units. Of these, an estimated 9,000 will require a Lay Home Visitor.

Contact: Website http://www.gov.on.ca/CSS/page/brochure/hbabies.html


The Industry-Education Council

In 1980, citizens in Hamilton, Ontario recognized the need to help youth prepare for the world of work by founding Canada’s first Industry-Education Council (IEC), a community-based organization that brought together decision-makers from education, business, government and civic groups. The IEC complements the work of schools by providing elementary students and adolescents with early exposure to career options and positive role models from the community.

Grade 8 Career Days is a program offered in cooperation with Hamilton’s Downtown Rotary Club. Guest speakers talk to students and teachers about workplace issues. The IEC also helps with an Inner City Mentoring program, created by a partnership that includes the Big Brothers Association of Burlington and Hamilton-Wentworth, the Bank of Montreal and two local school boards. To date, 170 inner-city school children have been paired with screened and trained volunteers from the corporate sector. The mentors influence self-esteem by encouraging their students to think positively about their futures.

Contact: P.O. Box 57451, Jackson Station, Hamilton, ON, L8P 4X3, Tel 888.698.4888 or 905.529.4483 Fax 905.529.5525 Email iec@icom.ca   Website http://www.icom.ca/~iec/iec/abtusnf.htm

Source for this description: Canada’s Children 1996.


International Children's Institute

The International Children's Institute, which is based in Montreal, Quebec has developed extensive curricula and guides for teachers relating to supporting immigrant and refugee children.

Contact: Madeline Aksich, P.O. Box 218, 1217 Greene Avenue, Montreal, QC, H3Z 2T2.


Inner City Foster Parents Project

The purpose of the project is to ensure that children in foster care remain within their own ethnic, cultural, geographical and economic environment. Its two major goals are to recruit potential caregivers, especially First Nations families from within the downtown and east area of Vancouver; and to provide support to foster parents and the children in their care. A Ministry of Children and Family Services social worker works with the coordinator of the project at the Vancouver Native Health Society’s office.

Contact: Coordinator, Inner City Foster Parents Project, 449 East Hastings St., Vancouver, BC V6A 1P5, Tel  604.254.9949

Source for this description: National Crime Prevention Council, Preventing Crime by Investing in Families and Communities. Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old, May 1997.


Investing in Children

Investing in Children is a London, Ontario not-for-profit organization that encourages increased investments in children of all ages. It is a grass-roots initiative founded by civic-minded individuals dedicated to the long-term health and prosperity of the London community. It plays a leadership role in the community to facilitate collaborative efforts among all community sectors to improve opportunities for all children and their families in support of growth, development, learning and future success. The organization sponsors a number of programs including Kids Count, It Starts With Kids, and the Special Friends of Children Awards.

Kids Count provides leadership development opportunities through an annual camp and conference for grade six to eight students, youth groups, a choir, and a Kids Power conference for grade five students. It partners with the Canadian Living Foundation to facilitate and support schools and community groups to develop breakfast/snack programs. It also supports neighbourhood events and a number of literacy activities.

The It Starts With Kids program recognizes child and family-friendly businesses and workplaces with awards of distinction as part of the Special Friends of Children Awards. This awards program recognizes individuals and/or organizations that have made a significant contribution to the growth, health and well-being of children through five categories: whole-community contributions, individual-help contributions, excellent mentor, outstanding business contributions and lifetime contributions.

Contact: Investing in Children, 533 Clarence Street, Suite 109, London, ON, N6A 3N1 Tel 519.433.8996 Email info@investinginchildren.on.ca Website http://www.investinginchildren.on.ca


Joe Duquette High School (The Cultural Program at)

The goal of the Cultural Program is to help Aboriginal students and elders learn about each other, to provide students with an opportunity to learn traditional crafts, skills, and cultural teachings, and to create a dance troupe. Grade eleven students help the elders teach skills and traditional ways to grade nine students in the school. Peer teachers are selected on the basis of the knowledge and experience gained through overcoming challenging life circumstances. Elders provide supervision for both peer educators and learners and work with the school principal to provide any needed support.

Contact: Kevin Pilon, Joe Duquette High School, 919 Broadway Avenue, Saskatoon, SK S7N 1B8, Tel  306.668.7490

Source for this description: National Crime Prevention Council, Preventing Crime by Investing in Families and Communities. Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old, May 1997.


Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement (JA) is a non-profit international organization supported by businesses and individuals.

JA offers many programs that bring business and economic education to thousands of young people in communities across Canada. The purpose is to inspire and educate young Canadians to value free enterprise, to understand business and economics, and to develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

This is accomplished through volunteer role models from the local community with diverse backgrounds who support all programs and experience-based learning.

Contact: 1 Westside Dr., Toronto,ON, M9C 1B2, Tel 416.622.4602 or 1.800.265.0699 Fax 416.622.6861 Website http://www.jacan.org


KIDS COUNT (See Investing in Children)



KidSafe is a program in Vancouver, B.C., that uses schools as safe havens for children during summer, winter and spring vacation breaks. In its fifth year in 1998, the program is sustained by an ongoing fundraising effort that draws individual, government, foundation and corporate sponsors. The program counts four schools serving 300 children between the ages of five and 13. The program provides breakfast, lunch and snacks, recreational programs, outings and a reading program. A community kitchen program has also started that runs year-round.

KidSafe is being formally evaluated by the federal Department of Justice, which is looking at preventing crime through social development. Informally, principals and teachers have already seen a marked difference in children who used to get anxious when holidays and breaks approached and they lost their structured days, safe environment and worried about lack of regular meals. Children seem to be making much smoother transitions back to school after breaks.


Kids In Action

This project was implemented by the Lawrence Heights Community Health Centre and the University of Toronto Department of Behavioural Science. The project was developed as an alternative to traditional health promotion activities for children, which typically consist of pre-packaged interventions based on adult assumptions about the needs of young people.

A fourth grade class at Flemington Public School was chosen for the project and a multi-staged process was used to identify the health priorities in their school and neighbourhood. The children decided that drug use was their main health concern.

After researching why older kids used and sold drugs and how they could help prevent drug use, the children undertook a number of activities. They decided to let the community know how they felt about drugs and drug dealers through posters and a video of rap dances, songs and skits. Their activities were featured on a local television program and the children organized an open house for community members.

Contact: Lawrence Heights Community Health Centre, 12 Flemington Road, Toronto, ON, Tel 416.787.1672  Fax  416. 787.3761


La Leche League

La Leche League International is an international, non-profit, non-sectarian organization dedicated to providing education, information, support, and encouragement to women who want to breastfeed.

Contact: US Information: 1400 N. Meacham Rd., Shaumburg, IL, 60173-4048, Tel 847.519.7730 Can Information: Case postale 874, Ville Saint-Laurent, QC, H4L 4W3, Tel 800.665.4324 Website http://www.lalecheleague.org/


The Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth Project

The Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth Project is a group of young adults 25 and under who provide support, connection and action opportunities to gay, lesbian and bisexual young adults. The project is sponsored by Planned Parenthood. The project is operated on a daily basis by the members with assistance from facilitators and community supporters. All members have the opportunity to participate as little or as much as they desire and have access to all activities and services the project offers. Members determine the projects and activities that are take on. Each member’s voice is heard. The project provides gay, lesbian and bisexual young adults, in various stages of their lives, with what they need — support, a safe place, or more involvement in community events and affairs, politics or education.

Contact: Youth Project Volunteers, Planned Parenthood of NS, 100-6156 Quinpool Road, Halifax, NS B3L 1A3, Tel  902.492.0444

Source for this description: National Crime Prevention Council,Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old, 1997


Making A Difference For Youth (MAD)

A group of teens in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, supported by adults, have developed an innovative response to concerns about youth suicide, alcohol use and teen pregnancy. Following a peer survey, designed and conducted by teens, MAD was established to undertake a number of initiatives. On a shoestring budget, the teens created a video using quotes from the survey and showed it to community groups such as social workers, church organizations, health care workers and parents. Other MAD initiatives include a Drug Awareness Committee, family dances, a peer education program, multicultural festivals, a storefront with several entrepreneurial projects, discussion groups and most recently, a group seeking to create summer activities that will provide an alternative to drinking and fighting.

Contact: Antingonish Women’s Centre Tel 902.863.6221

Source for this description: Canada’s Children, 1996


Making Waves

Making Waves is a weekend retreat for grade 11 students who wish to become peer educators on the topic of dating violence. Approximately 60 high school students come together to have fun, attend workshops, role-play, and perform a dramatic presentation with themes pertaining to dating violence prevention. On the final day of the program, students design a strategic plan to help raise awareness about dating violence in their school.

Contact: Simone Harris, 115 Candlewood Lane, Saint John, NB, E2K 1Z5, Tel   506.648.0481

Source for this description: National Crime Prevention Council, Preventing Crime by Investing in Families and Communities. Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old, May 1997.


The Media Arts Program

The Media Arts Program is an ongoing skill-building initiative for young people living in Regent Park, a low-income community in the east end of Toronto. Sponsored by the Regent Park Focus Community Coalition, one of nine community-based substance abuse prevention projects funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health’s Health Promotion Branch, the program provides a range of learning experiences for young people in the media arts field, for example, photography. Participants apply their new skills to develop videos and print materials focusing on substance abuse and related problems in the Regent Park area. The innovative approach adopted by the Media Arts Program was recognized in 1995, when it won the Toronto Mayor’s Anti-Drug Task Force Award.

The program emerged as a result of a needs assessment conducted by the local community health centre and the suggestion of the local youth centre coordinator, who saw that many of the young people he was trying to attract to after-school activities were "hanging out" in bars, video arcades and pool halls. In these settings, they were coming into contact with drugs as well as individuals engaged in illegal activities. The Media Arts Program was conceived as an appealing alternative that would dissuade young people from spending time in settings that increased their vulnerability to drug and alcohol-related problems.

The Media Arts Program comprises a number of individual projects, including six collaborative efforts with local schools and community agencies. Young people work in small production teams to research and present information through video. Another ongoing program intervention is the media arts camp project, a 13-week activity offered each summer for young people between 14 and 21 years of age.

Components of the program include media awareness training (watching television and reading the papers), media skills training (learning how to produce a video and a newspaper), and the development of videos and newspapers by the program participants. In addition, the Media Arts Program offers an ongoing peer education program for youth, weekend and after-school employment opportunities for youth, and ongoing promotion and outreach to the community.

Since its inception in 1991, more than 200 youth and young adults have participated in the Media Arts Program. Topics addressed in the videos include parental substance abuse, peer pressure, tobacco use and racism. Program participants have created a total of 23 videos. An estimated 2,000 children in Toronto’s public and separate schools have seen the videos.

Participants in the Media Arts Program report increased levels of skills and knowledge related to accessing drug education resources and information. As a direct result of the program, many participants are more aware of the consequences of drugs and alcohol and are, therefore, in a better position to make healthy choices. Moreover, the activities offered through the program provide the young participants with healthy recreational alternatives to drug use, as well as marketable skills that can be applied to pursue future educational or career opportunities.

The annual cost of running the Media Arts Program in 1994 was estimated at $37,000, including $16,400 for the media arts camp and $14,492 for the after-school program. In spite of the expenses involved, components of the Media Arts Program could be replicated by other community agencies, schools and organizations. Much of the media technology used by the program, such as the video editing equipment, was donated by community sponsors. The dissemination of substance abuse prevention videos could easily be implemented in other communities with a local access cable television station.

Contact: Regent Park Focus Community Coalition Tel 416.863.1074

Source for this description: Fralick, P. And Hyndman, B. 1996, Youth Substance Abuse and the Determinants of Health


The Montreal Diet Dispensary

The Montreal Diet Dispensary works with high risk, poor women including pregnant teenagers. They use an initial home visit to establish a relationship and continue education and motivation of the women through counselling. Ninety four percent of their clients also receive food supplements. In 1991, only 4.9 percent of babies born to Montreal Diet Dispensary clients were low birth weight – less than half the norm for that population.

Contact: 2182 Lincoln Ave., Montreal, QC, H3H 1J8, Tel 514.937.5375


The Montreal Intervention Program

This two-year intervention in Montreal with disruptive boys between the ages of seven and nine included parent training to manage behaviour problems and a program for the boys that stressed self-control and positive social skills. By age 12, fighting behaviour was similar to community norms and there were fewer episodes of theft and unlawful trespassing among the intervention group. The boys who took part in the intervention also had better school adjustment scores and were more likely to be in the appropriate grade at school .

Contact: Richard Tremblay, Tel  514.343.6963


National Clearinghouse on Family Violence

The National Clearinghouse on Family Violence (NCFV) is a national resource centre for all Canadians seeking information and solutions to violence within the family. Many publications are available at the website listed below. A library resource collection and a video collection for the general public are also available.

Contact: Health Canada, Health Promotion & Programs Branch, Jeanne Mance Bldg, 18th Floor, Postal Locator 1918c2, Tunney’s Pasture, Ottawa, ON, K1A 8C2, Tel 800.267.1291 or 613.957.2938 Fax 613.241.8930 Website http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hppb/familyviolence/index.html


Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) builds on the Cooperative Education Program which is offered by most Ontario school boards as an adaptation of a German model of apprenticeship. It is administered by the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training and the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board. Students who do not plan to take post-secondary studies apply to OYAP in grade 10 and begin in grade 11 or when they reach age 16. The program is tied into cooperative education. Each participant begins with an unpaid work placement as a cooperative student. After 90 days, the employer decides whether to retain the student as an apprentice. A formal contract commits the apprentice to three or four years with the employer and the employer is responsible for training and paying the apprentice. Since 1992, approximately 600 students per year have participated in OYAP although some 60,000 Ontario students are in coop programs. The economic recession of the early 1990s which made it difficult for employers to hire apprentices is largely responsible for the low rate of participation in OYAP. Female participation is low, although OYAP does make an effort to steer young women into non-traditional occupations.

OYAP helps students learn work skills in real jobs and allows them to earn wages and high school credits at the same time. Schools benefit through exposure to training methods used in industry; employers benefit through reduced recruitment and training costs.

Contact: Training Hotline 416.326.5656 Info line 800.387.5656 Website http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/training/apprenticeship/oyap.html

Source for this description: Anisef, P. 1996, Making the Transition from School to Employment


Ottawa-Carleton Youth Services Bureau

In Ottawa, a large number of agencies came together to address the problem of youth homelessness and youth violence. The Youth Services Bureau (YSB) acted as a broker to the range of services available throughout the city, rather than housing member agencies in one building. The efforts of the YSB were well received by local street youth, and a number of creative community responses were developed. Of particular note was a youth employment initiative in which the downtown business community supported the efforts of the street/homeless youth to establish and operate their own craft business.

Contact:1338 ½ Wellington St., Ottawa, ON, K1Y 3B7, Tel 613.729.1000 Fax 613.729.1918 Website http://www.ysb.on.ca/e000main.htm

Source for this description: Caputo, T., Kelly, K., 1996


PALS Project - Participate and Learn Skills

In 1980, the PALS program offered skill development activities in sports, music, scouting and other areas to all children between the ages of five and 15 who lived in a public housing project in Ottawa, Ontario. More than 70 percent of children were involved. PALS participants averaged significantly fewer police charges during the 36-month course of the program, than in the 24 months preceding it. An analysis of police, housing authority and city expenditures showed that the savings far exceeded the cost of the program.   Although the program is longer in operation more information can be found in the Journal below.

Source for this description: Jones M. and Offord D., 1989, "Reduction of Antisocial Behaviour in Poor Children by Nonschool Skill Development" Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.


The Parent Companions Program

Parent Companions was set up in January 1994 by Canadian Mothercraft of Ottawa-Carleton. The program is specifically developed to help young single parents deal with the realities of raising a family and learn relevant skills. The goals are to:

  • provide an opportunity for parents to enhance their competencies and confidence.
  • reduce stressful family environments, thereby strengthening the family.

The program is for single mothers or fathers who are under 25 and have a child under the age of five. These parents are matched with older, more experienced parents. Training is provided and volunteers are expected to make a two-year commitment involving two to three visits per week.

The program goals are achieved through advice and assistance that is offered in a non-judgmental and culturally and socially sensitive manner. The program tailors its efforts to the individual needs and goals of each family. All services are delivered with the longer-term objective of fostering and encouraging independence within each family.

The program offers a number of services, including:

• education (parenting skills, child development)
• health (nutrition, safety, abuse, substance abuse)
• improved self-esteem, motivation and a reduction in levels of stress
• improved peer support
• improved problem-solving abilities and life skills.

Participants have noted definite improvements in their abilities to cope and learn about building their families. Some young parents have noted that they have greater confidence, are less isolated, and have began pursuing other goals (such as returning to school).

Contact:  Kim Hiscott, 475 Evered, Ottawa, ON, K1Z 5K9, Tel 613.728.1839 Fax 728.0097

Source for this description: Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Community Safety and Crime Prevention, Models of Practice for Community Safety and Crime Prevention.


Parents as Teachers (PAT)

Lethbridge Parents as Teachers (PAT) in Alberta, has been in operation since 1996. A homevisitation program for families with children from birth through to age five, they also welcome contact with third trimester expectant parents. The goals of the program are to assist parents in their ability and responsibility to parent a child well. In participating families, children have shown higher language and social skills, reduced neglect and abuse, improved school readiness, and increased parent participation in schools.

The program teaches normal growth and development, play activities and early literacy skill building to families. It also allows plenty of time for parents to have their questions and concerns answered and then encourages discussion on issues that are pertinent to the child's health and development. Each visit includes easy to read handouts and a homevisit record of the positive things seen in the child and parent. The program also considers family concerns, recommendations and referrals to other service agencies. Regular health examinations in dental, vision, hearing and general health are also conducted and a full developmental assessment is conducted once a year for early detection of delays.

PAT works closely with local health, child protection, new immigrant, and teen service agencies. The program also boasts many community partners including local elementary schools, the public school district, special education, regional public health, children's centre, children's mental health, immigrant settlement association, YWCA, child protection services, public library, and a community college. These partners supply PAT with about half of the referrals, the other half coming from satisfied client families.

The program has the greatest impact on young parents without a high school education. It is easy to reproduce in other communities and has proven easily adaptable to distinct populations (Chinese, Aboriginal and teens). The program is free and it is a lot of fun for families.

Contact:  Pat Kenny, Tel  403.320.5983  Fax  403.320.5989,   Email  pat.kenny@lethsd.ab.ca


United States – St. Louis

This program provides a comprehensive range of services to parents. Although its focus is on children up to the age of three, it works in collaboration with schools, and participating parents have been shown to have more positive perceptions of local schools compared with non-participating parents.

The program provides comprehensive services to families from the third trimester of pregnancy until the children are three. It was designed as a primary prevention program for all families aimed at helping parents give their children a solid foundation for school success and at forming a closer working relationship between home and school. It is based on the philosophy that parents are children’s first and most influential teachers. Parent educators trained in this model deliver family services using the Parents as Teachers curriculum, which includes information on child development. Services include regularly scheduled personal visits in the home, parent group meetings, periodic screening and monitoring of educational and sensory development and access to a parent resource centre.

Contact: Mildred Winter, Director, Parents as Teachers National Center, Inc.
9374 Olive Boulevard, St Louis, MO, USA, 63132, Tel  314.432.4330  Fax 314.432.8963 Website http://www.patnc.org/


Parent Resource Kit Project

This project provides parents of pre-adolescents with a variety of resources to assist their children’s learning and encourages parents to become more actively involved in their children’s education. Volunteer parents trained at provincial and regional sessions deliver local workshops using the resources found in the kit. Workshops give parents information about parenting skills, building self-esteem, and teaching responsibility, as well as strategies for parent-teacher interviews, homework, discipline and related educational topics.


The Peer Helping Annotated and Indexed Bibliography

The Peer Helping Annotated and Indexed Bibliography is available online. It contains peer helping references including: research, resources, peer helping in schools, etc.


The Perry Preschool Project

The Perry Preschool Project is a school-based, enriched model of high quality early child care and education for disadvantaged preschoolers. Children participate four half-days per week and a teacher visits their home weekly. The staff are certified teachers and are assigned six children each.

The project is small, but its more than 25 year follow-up with an extensive cost cutting analysis makes it one of the strongest and most widely recognized longitudinal studies looking at the ability of high quality child care to foster resiliency in poor and disadvantaged children. Graduates of the program were followed up at ages 19 and 27. At age 27, outcomes for graduates of the program, when compared with a control group, show a decrease in arrests and convictions, a decrease in teenage pregnancies, a higher monthly wage, and a higher number of graduates who owned their own homes and were more committed to their partners and children.

Contact: 600 North River St. Ypsilati, Michigan, USA, 48198-2898, Tel  734.485.2000 Fax  734.485.0704 Website http://www.highscope.org/


Prenatal and Early Infancy Project

A home-based education program carried out by the University of Rochester (New York) and run by nurses which encourages good nutrition, decreased smoking, decreased use of alcohol and drugs, adequate rest, preparation for pregnancy, birth and delivery, and an understanding of human development, temperament, and infants’ emotional and cognitive needs. The program also aims to enhance women’s informal support networks and link them with other services such as those which administer prenatal and nutritional supplements.

The program was developed to decrease the number of low birth weight babies and to improve child development.

The project produced many positive results, especially for the most at-risk mothers and those most intensely involved. The visited mothers smoked less, had better home environments and made better use of childbirth classes and other programs. Young adolescents and smokers gained more during their pregnancies and had heavier babies. Mothers who smoked less had 75 percent fewer preterm deliveries. Visited mothers were more involved with the babies’ fathers, their family, friends and service providers. Visited mothers described their babies as being more happy and content and were less likely to abuse them.

This program conclusively shows that a sensitively and comprehensively designed nurse homevisiting program can extend the benefits of clinic-based prenatal care for socially disadvantaged women.


The Prevention of Preterm Delivery Through Improved Prenatal Care in France

This program targeted doctors, midwives and pregnant women in a widespread public education campaign, combined with specific medical and social interventions. The effort reduced preterm deliveries from 8.2 percent in 1972 to 5.6 percent in 1981. It was developed to improve prenatal services and reduce preterm births.

Education was the key intervention as the main obstacle to effective prevention was inadequate public understanding because information was not getting to those who needed it.

One goal was to alert professionals to identify women with cervical incompetence – a condition which increases the chances of preterm delivery. These women were given full care with regular examinations, they were counselled to reduce physical exertion and get plenty of rest and to stop working. Their husbands and other family members were encouraged to share in household responsibilities. A trained midwife monitored the women in their homes weekly and women who were at high risk were admitted to the hospital. Educating women to modify their lifestyles to decrease their own risk or preterm labour was central to the program.


Project Chance

Research in the late 1980s by Montreal's (Quebec, Canada) Catholic Community Services revealed that most single mothers wanted to return to school but could not afford to do so. Project Chance was established in 1989 under the auspices of a multi-denominational board. The program tries to help single mothers to achieve their educational goals by creating a community of women in a secure and supportive environment.

By 1997, Project Chance owned a building in downtown Montreal with 22 apartments for single mothers between the ages of 18 and 30, with up to three children, who are studying full-time towards a university degree. The facilities include a small library, a computer in every apartment, a playroom for the children's after-school program, and a fenced-in playground.

With federal, provincial and private-sector financing, Project Chance offers subsidized rents, a parenting skills program, and child care from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 2:00 to 5:00 on weekends. Project Chance also provides children with dance and art lessons, and a music program is being developed.

Contact: Project Director: Susan Cross, Montreal Catholic Community Services, Tel 514.934.6199


Quality Daily Physical Education

Quality daily physical education (QDPE) means a planned program of physical activity for all students every day throughout the school year. Activities can include physical education classes, intramural activities, sports, physical play and fitness activities.

Studies from around the world have confirmed that children who enjoy QDPE are fitter and healthier, and they do better in academic subjects than those who do not enjoy QDPE. The concept has been endorsed by a number of organizations including the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Public Health Association.

Contact: Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAPHERD), 1600 James Naismith Drive, Gloucester, ON, K1B 5N4,  Tel  613.748.5622 or 1.800.663.8708  Fax   613.748.5737 Email CAHPERD@rtm.activeliving.ca   Website http://www.activeliving.ca/cahperd/


Ready or Not

Ready or Not/Patrons du bon pied is an innovative parent education program aimed at parents of children between the ages of 8 and 12. The program is designed for people who may have difficulty accessing parenting information because of their economic, geographic or social situations. It was developed by Health and Welfare Canada as part of Canada’s Drug Strategy.

The six-session program uses group discussion and adult education techniques to deal with parenting issues such as getting to know each other, communication, decision-making, preventing problems with drugs and alcohol, discipline and self-help. Preventing drug and alcohol problems is an important part of Ready or Not but the main focus is on effective parenting.

The Ready or Not program includes a training manual for facilitators, an administration manual for sponsoring agencies and two easy-to-read booklets for parents. These materials are free but are only available to leaders who have participated in a training workshop. Contact your local public health unit to find out if Ready or Not is offered in your area.

Contact: BC Council for Families, #204-2590 Granville St. , Vancouver, BC, V6H 3H1, Tel 604.660.0675 Fax 604.732.4813 Website http://www.bccf.bc.ca/not.htm?   or Pegeen Walsh, Regional Director for the Ontario Office, Tel  416.973.0001


The Real Game

The Real Game is an interactive career exploration program that helps 11-to 14-year-old students learn about issues and aspects of life that adults face daily in the real world. In The Real Game, students take on occupational roles — complete with monthly earnings, appropriate educational backgrounds, and holiday and leisure time allotments. In these roles, they budget their money, plan extra-curricular activities, and learn about what suits them in their jobs (and what doesn’t). Not only do they gain an understanding of their given occupation, they learn about their neighbour’s occupations, and about the nature of the working world at large, including such global factors as corporate restructuring and technology’s effect on the workplace.

The game is "played" in an active, interactive, and supportive manner. The importance of preparing for life’s unexpected twists, and of being adaptable, is often a key lesson at the end of each activity. As the program progresses, students identify with their roles and play-act in them. They make choices, learn about the implications of their choices, and participate in community life in a safe, supportive environment. Through the game-playing elements of the program, the link between what is being learned and what students will face in the real world is always emphasized. The intention of the program is to encourage students to think about their career paths and to help them understand that what they learn at the middle school level (grades 7 and 8) has an effect on their futures.

The Real Game was developed in Canada and tested (positively) for two years in over 100 classrooms in Canada and the US. The core sessions require 30 hours of classroom time over an eight week period. Training on the use of the Real Game is available via the Ministries of Education in each province and territory. The Real Game is available in English and French.

Contact:  The Real Game Inc. P.O. Box 336, Station C, St. John’s, NF, Tel   709.579.5544  Fax  709.579.0173, or  The National Life/Work Centre, Memramcook, NB, Tel  506.758.0332  Fax  506.758.2149  E-mail: swright@public.compusult.nf.ca


Recommended reading for parents

Parents and Adolescents Living Together by G. Patterson and Forgatch, Castalia Publishing. There are two books: Part I : The Basics was published in 1987 and Part II: Family Problem Solving was published in 1989.

Kids Are Worth It by B. Colorosso. Toronto: Sommerville House, 1995.

The Survival Guide for Teenagers With Learning Disabilities. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing Inc., 1993.


Recommended reading for schools

Antisocial Behaviour in School: Strategies and Best Practices by H.M Walker, G. Calvin and E. Ramsey.

Large Group Community-Based Parenting Programs for Families of Preschooles at Risk for Disruptive Behaviour Disorders: Utilization, Cost Effectiveness, and Outcome by C.E. Cunningham, R. Bremner, and M. Boyle, Journal of child Psychology and Psychiatry. 36(7): 1141-1159.


Rediscovering the Traditional Mother

In the Spring of 1993, the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre offered native women an opportunity to learn prenatal health care from their elders through a project called Rediscovering the Traditional Mother. Using traditional circles to promote discussion, four elders were available for four different circles. Participants were generally young pregnant women — the youngest was 14 years of age. Sitting comfortably in a setting familiar to the participants, the elders gave presentations and encouraged the sharing of stories, discussion and questions about women and pregnancy. Videos of native peoples were shown and handouts written by native people were distributed. At its completion, an assessment was completed by the participants. The result was a 100 percent recommendation that this type of teaching continue to be provided to First Nations people.

In an evaluation discussion participants recommended more male involvement, separate sessions for specific groups, and more information on fatherhood. They also recommended more sessions with more elders. Topics they would like to include are male responsibility, spirituality, family break-ups, birthing, pregnancy loss, parenting, and puberty training.

Contact: Executive Director, Skookum Jim Friendship Centre, 3159 Third Avenue, Whitehorse, YK, Y1A 1G1, Tel  403.668.4465  Fax  403.668.4460


The Ryerson Outreach / Ryerson Community Initiative

This project was designed to improve academic and social outcomes and the quality of life for children in a school situated in a high-density, high-crime, high-drug-abuse neighbourhood in inner city Toronto. The project proposed the use of mental health professionals in a school setting — an intervention that had been shown to be helpful in other studies. The Hincks Children’s Mental Health Centre and the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto donated the services of a child psychiatrist and a social worker to work in the school for one-half day a week. Over two years, teachers reported that students who had received help had made significant improvements. This project is now being replicated in several schools in the City of North York.

Contact: Dean, Department of Community Services, Ryerson Polytechnic University, Tel  416.979.5034


Saskatoon E’Gadz

In Saskatoon, E’Gadz was formed by a committee of youth-serving agencies as a focal point for the community’s response to street/homeless youth. E’Gadz was housed in a large building where street youth could gain access to a variety of services and programs in recreation, health, education and justice. Street youth in Saskatoon spoke favourably of E’Gadz services and staff. Youth from First Nations communities were especially involved in programs that were culturally sensitive. An important element in the Saskatoon interagency effort was the willingness of formal youth-serving agencies to work with community representatives. For example, social service dollars were re-allocated after the need for a shelter for female youth was identified. This was viewed as a positive move to make traditional social services more open, accessible and culturally relevant to those using the services.

Contact: 301 First Avenue North, Saskatoon, SK, S7K 5W9, Tel 306.931.6644

Source for this description: Caputo, T., Kelly, K., 1996


The School Leavers Survey

Between September and December 1995, Statistics Canada, on behalf of Human Resources Development Canada, conducted the School Leavers Follow-Up Survey. The initial 1991 School Leavers Survey included interviews with nearly 10,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 20 to document their characteristics and the circumstances of school leavers. Four years later, the 1995 School Leavers Follow-Up Survey re-interviewed about two-thirds of the same respondents, by then between 22 and 24 years of age, to explore the school-work transitions of young people beyond high school.

The SLS estimates that at the time of the survey 18% of 20-year-old Canadians had not completed high school. The rate for men is higher than for women, 22% compared with 14%. The rates are higher in the eastern provinces and lower in the West and the gap between males and females is greater in the East and less pronounced in the West.

The age and the grade at which students leave without a diploma, however, is surprising. Almost 40 percent of leavers were age 16 or less when they left school and 32 percent had Grade 9 education or less.

Leavers were more likely than graduates to come from single and non-parent families, from families who did not think high school completion was very important, and from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Leavers, to a greater extent than graduates, were married and more had dependent children. Taken together, 69 percent of leavers (compared with 33 percent of graduates) came from a high riskbackground group. The fact that 31 percent of leavers did not come from the high risk group (10 percent in fact came from a low risk group) or that 33 percent of the graduates also came from the high risk group, indicates that there is more to dropping out than family background.

There were important differences between leavers and graduates:

• Recognizing the value of education was an important reason for staying in school, returning to school and for regretting dropping out.

• School performance differed for leavers and graduates, with leavers more likely to have failed an elementary grade, have lower grade averages, and have difficulty with, or fail, core courses such as mathematics, science and English/French.

• The majority of leavers, however, were performing satisfactorily while in school; 37 percent of them had mainly As and Bs and another 40 percent were getting by with Cs. Almost half of leavers who gave personal or family related reasons for leaving school achieved A or B averages. Individual academic failure is not a factor for these types of leavers.

• Despite early failure, lower grade averages, and difficulty or failure in core courses, some students stay or return to graduate at a later time.

• Enjoyment of school, interesting classes and class participation influenced school grade averages, especially those of leavers. Graduates were able to achieve top marks, regardless of these factors. For leavers these factors made a great deal of difference. Leavers were almost twice as likely to achieve A and B averages if they enjoyed school, participated in class or thought that their classes were interesting.

• Part-time employment was related to school-leaving, with lower leaver rates coming from students who worked less than 20 hours per week during the school year, and higher rates for those who worked long weekly hours, or did not work at all. This relationship existed even when academic performance and positive school experiences were held constant.

• Although overall rates are low, leavers were more likely than graduates to engage in deviant behaviours such as regular alcohol consumption, and soft and hard drug use.

• Leavers were less involved than graduates in almost all leisure time activities.

The school experiences of leavers and graduates were also different. Leavers were more likely to:

• report that they did not enjoy school
• express dissatisfaction with their courses and school rules
• have problems with their teachers
• not participate in extracurricular activities
• participate less in classes than other students
• have friends not attending any school
• associate with peers who did not consider high school completion important
• not fit in at school
• skip classes.

The labour market and life outcomes of leavers appear to be dismal. Many more leavers than graduates had not taken any further education or training. More leavers than graduates encountered unemployment; worked in blue collar occupations, for men, and service jobs, for women; and experienced long weekly hours. Despite lengthy hours, both leavers and graduates had low incomes, and leavers had greater dependency on unemployment insurance, social assistance, and family allowances. Financial dissatisfaction was high, particularly for leavers.

In light of long work hours, it may be difficult for leavers to escape from their economic and educational circumstances. More leavers than graduates had difficulty filling out job applications and indicated that their basic skills restricted their job opportunities. Leavers revealed more uncertainty about their future career directions than graduates.

Contact: Statistics Canada at http://www.statcan.ca


School of the 21st Century

The School of the 21st Century is dedicated to the healthy growth and development of all children through continuity of support from birth to age 12. The School of the 21st Century promotes exceptional child care and other support services for children and families by linking school, home, and community resources to build an environment that values children.

The School of the 21st Century is a comprehensive, high quality, affordable early childhood care and education plan that brings together an umbrella of services for the benefit of children and their families. It is a unique plan developed by Dr. Edward Zigler, Director of the Bush Center for Child Development at Yale University. The School of the 21st Century links schools, home, and community resources to build an environment that values children.

Contact: Email s21c@rams.nesd.k12.ar.us   Website http://rams.nesd.k12.ar.us/~s21c  


School-Wide Peer Helping Program at Runneymede Collegiate Institute, Toronto

A successful, school-wide peer helping program has been running at Runneymede Collegiate Institute in Toronto for several years. Activities within the program include:

  • Peer Counselling: Students are trained to listen and help students who are experiencing some difficulty. In three years, peers have experienced everything from problems in relationships to problems with teachers to potential suicides.

  • Peer Help Centre: Peer helpers run and coordinate this centre which is always open during lunch periods so that students can drop-in when they need someone to talk to. There is also an appointment box for students to ask to be seen at another time.

  • Conflict Mediation: This has been extremely successful at Runneymede. In the event of a conflict (verbal or physical), the teacher helper chooses a peer helper to mediate the conflict in the Peer Help Centre. Most disputants avoid detentions or suspensions due to mediation. In the event that a suspension is unavoidable, then the mediation takes place immediately upon the student’s return to school.

  • Grade Nine Involvement: Each peer helper is assigned to a grade nine homeform which they formally visit at least once a month. During the course of the year, peer helpers develop a big brother, big sister relationship with their grade nines. The helping team consists of peer helpers, a school counsellor, and the mentor teacher who teaches the grade nine class during the same period as the peer help class.

  • Peer Help Newsletter: Five times a year, second-year peer helpers publish a newsletter which is distributed to every student in the school. It outlines program activities and gives some biographical information about peer helpers.

  • Keep the Peace Week: Peer helpers organize a different activity each day such as an assembly to a classroom workshop or to selling positive message balloons. Students buy and send a balloon to a friend with a positive message attached to it. Peer helpers also roam the halls rewarding students and teachers who are seen doing acts of kindness.

  • White Ribbon Campaign: Each year a male peer helper plans a week long activity based on stopping violence against women. It takes place on the week of December 6 in memory of the 14 women massacred in Montreal in 1989.

  • Safe Sex and Condom Availability: In conjunction with the Science Department and the Community Health Unit peer helpers provide condoms to students. The peer helpers are also developing a week dedicated to promoting abstinence and safe sex.

  • Feeder School Outreach: The peer helpers reach out to feeder schools and provide those students with positive role models and help them prepare for grade nine.

  • Practicums: Three times a year for three weeks, peer helpers dedicate themselves to a helping situation. They can help a teacher, help coach a team, work in the skills lab or engage in virtually any service-oriented activity they create.

  • Drug and Alcohol Prevention Week: In coordination with a drug awareness resource teacher, a second-year peer helper organizes this very important educational week. Once more, they develop daily activities, invite experts for information panels, and develop classroom workshops to be led by peer helpers.

Contact: Runneymede Collegiate Institute, 569 Jane Street, Toronto, ON M6S 4A3, Tel  416.394.3200  Fax  416.394.4445


The Social Decision-Making and Problem-Solving Program

This program which has been widely implemented in primary schools in New Jersey, consists of three phases:

In Phase I, eight core self-control skills are taught, for example, listening, following directions, resisting the urge to provoke others.

In Phase II, children learn group skills such as selecting friends and showing caring.

In Phase III, the children learn to apply the skills to everyday life both inside and outside the classroom.

Contact: For more information, see Building Social Problem-Solving Skills: Guidelines From a School-Based Program by M. Elias and J. Clabby. San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 1992.


South Riverdale campaign to remove lead contaminated soil

This initiative involves community action to clean up lead-contaminated soil in neighborhood.

Contact: Nita Chaudhuri, Environmental Health Promoter, 119 Queen St. East, Toronto, ON, M4M 1K7 Tel 416.469.3917


The Special Delivery Club

Since its development in January 1990, the Special Delivery Club (SDC) in Kingston, Ontario has sparked interest across the country. Over 95 organizations have modelled their prenatal programs after the club and requests for information are ongoing.

The SDC is a prenatal program provided by the North Kingston Community Health Centre (NKCHC) in an area of Kingston known as "the other side of the tracks." The program derives its uniqueness from two factors: its participatory learning style and its client group — pregnant teens and women under 23, and single, pregnant women up to 30 years old. Teenagers and young, single pregnant women are at high risk for low birthweight babies, due to factors such as diet, lifestyle and poverty. Low birthweight in turn, can be responsible for numerous developmental problems in children.

The SDC’s clients are difficult to attract to prenatal programs. Teenagers, in particular, tend not to attend traditional prenatal classes because the atmosphere and format of existing classes do not meet their needs. Participants in traditional classes are usually middle-income couples who are older than the teens and young singles cannot easily relate to them.

SDC participants meet weekly for two hours after school or work. Although the program can be adapted for a multicultural clientele, most of the participants in the Kingston area are lower-income, white, English-speaking, Canadian-born teenagers. Many are attending high school but plan to drop out after the baby is born with the intention of eventually returning to school or to work. Some are single; others have a partner. However most of the women are involved in unstable relationships. In a recent session, the percentage of women with partners was about 50 percent.

The club presents health information in a positive, creative and fun way. It uses participatory learning techniques designed for pregnant teenagers, such as games and life skills activities. Each session is co-facilitated by a peer who is a graduate of the program.

SDC has been a springboard to getting members involved in other health centre programs. The Rock and Rattle Club is a parent-infant support group for graduates of the prenatal program. It offers education and support and provides young parents with the opportunity to get together with their babies to socialize. The Rock and Rattle Club was formed in September 1990, after members of the first SDC group told staff they wanted to continue to meet as a group after their babies were born. The Club continues to thrive. Another offshoot of the main program called Community Kitchens brings participants together to create low-cost meals, learn nutritional cooking skills and prepare meals to take home.

Area high school staff and administration have taken a keen interest in the SDC. In the fall of 1990, arrangements were made for pregnant students to receive a partial credit for attending the program.

Contact: Health Promotion Coordinator, The Special Delivery Club, North Kingston Community Health Centre, 400 Eliot Avenue, Kingston, ON K7K 6M9, Tel  613.542.2949   Fax 613.542.5486


S.T.A.R. Program (Students Against Racism)

S.T.A.R. Committees include groups of students who volunteer their time to share the message in their schools that violence, prejudice and racism are unacceptable and unwanted. Working with a teacher coordinator, and other community partners, including police school liaison officers, S.T.A.R. committee members plan fun activities and events that celebrate diversity and communicate a positive message of hope and friendship among students from all backgrounds.

Contact: Riverview High School PCR Coordinator, Riverview High School, 400 Whitepine Rd., Riverview, N.B., E1B 4T8

Source for this description: National Crime Prevention Council, Preventing Crime by Investing in Families and Communities. Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old, May 1997


Staying on Track

Staying on Track is a community-wide early identification, tracking and referral project designed to periodically track and assess all babies born in the area from birth to age five and a half. Developed by the Leeds Grenville and Lanark Health Unit, it was established to enable all children in the community to obtain their optimal physical, mental, emotional and social development, to increase health knowledge and skills in parents and caregivers, and to identify earlier vision and communication disorders that could potentially undermine a child’s education.

Public health nurses visited children and their families to observe parent/child interaction in their homes at one month and six months of age. Other data was collected through various means. As well as tracking and assessing, public health nurses assisted child development and distributed parenting information on issues for infants and preschoolers. When significant difficulties in children or families were identified, they received follow-up visits and/or referrals to appropriate local agencies. An advisory board from local children’s service agencies met regularly to locate services for children identified by the tracking system and to coordinate services across agencies.

The final report for the program indicated the longer a family had been in the program, the greater the improvement in the children’s development, in child-parent interaction, and in the parent’s sense of competence.

Contact: Leeds Grenville Health Unit, Tel 613.345.5685 or Sarah Landy Tel  416.924.1164 ext  3210

Street/Homeless Youth

Deciding who should be included in a definition of homeless youth is complex, because a variety of terms have been used in the literature to describe the various subgroups on the street. These include runners from intolerable homes, runners to adventure, throwaways who are pushed out by parents, runners from care (for example, Children’s Aid Society or young offender facilities) and "curbsiders" or "wannabees" who live at home but spend considerable time involved in the street lifestyle. The term "street/homeless youth" refers to young people who spend considerable time on the street, who live in marginal or precarious situations and who participate extensively in street lifestyle practices.

The RCMP Missing Children’s Registry of 1991 stated that the prevalence of missing children in Canada was 13 per 100,000 in 1986. Of the 61,248 missing children reported in 1990, 44,800 of the children were identified as runaways. Numbers drop dramatically when the amount of time and degree of involvement in street life are taken into account; however, there are still a significant number of young people who are living in marginal situations and engaging in dangerous practices associated with surviving on the street. Estimates in several Canadian cities of entrenched street/homeless youth range from 200 in winter to 500 or 600 in summer. Estimates in Toronto range from 5,000 to 12,000 young people living on the streets.

Street youth are generally between the ages of 12 and 24. There are slightly more males than females on the street, particularly at older ages. It has been suggested, however, that young women may be hidden from view by older men who initially befriend them and later force them into the sex trade.

Street/homeless youth experience physical, psychological and emotional health problems. These problems relate to unsanitary and precarious living conditions, the violence of street life (for example, assault, rape), alcohol and drug use, involvement in delinquent or criminal activities (for example, theft, prostitution, drug dealing) and risky sexual activities that can lead to sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and AIDS. Street/homeless youth are particularly vulnerable to mental health problems, especially low self-esteem and depression which can lead to attempted suicide.

The main factors that lead young people to run away from home include problems at home (for example, conflict, abuse, rejection), individual problems, school-related difficulties, substance abuse (themselves or family members) and participation in delinquent or criminal activities. Once on the street, youth form ties with other young people like themselves. These connections or "street families" provide emotional support and a sense of belonging while further entrenching these young people in the street lifestyle. Economic marginalization and a lack of employment opportunities are serious obstacles to young people who try to get off the street. Thus, the problem of youth homelessness and resulting poor health is related to broad societal factors. These factors are not readily addressed by the medical care system.

Studies have identified the following needs of street/homeless youth:

• basic needs such as shelter and food
• contact with caring adults and peers
• access to various types of personal counselling, as well as family counselling
• appropriate social and recreational opportunities
• specialized educational or employment training programs
• access to consistent, integrated services that are socially and culturally relevant and are delivered at appropriate times and places.

Source for this description: National Forum on Health,1996, What Determines Health


Teen Host Program

The Teen Host Program is an initiative of Newfoundland’s Association for New Canadians. Local youth help teens who have recently immigrated to Canada to feel like they belong by involving them in social activities and leadership training. A companion program trains young people who have recently come to Canada to serve as a peer educators on substance use/abuse for other ethnic minority youth.

Contact: Association for New Canadians, P.O. BOX 2031, St. John’s, NF, A1C 5R6, Tel 709.722.9680 Fax 709.784.4407

Source for this description: Gottlieb, B. Strategies to Promote the Optimal Development of Canada’s Youth, 1996


T.E.R.F. (Training and Employment Resources for Females)

T.E.R.F. is a community-based program to help young women move from the streets and to develop healthy lifestyles. The goal of the program is to help young women stabilize their life situation and build the confidence necessary to set goals to return to school or move into the workplace. T.E.R.F. provides a safe, supportive leaning environment, counselling and advocacy, life skills training and work experience. Program staff help young women who need housing or health care, substance-abuse counselling, help with the child and family services system or legal matters.

Contact: T.E.R.F., New Directions for Children, Youth and Families, 301-777 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MN R3G 0N3, Tel  204.786.7051 ext 302

Source for this description: National Crime Prevention Council, 1997, Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old.


Town Youth Participation Strategies

Town Youth Participation Strategies (TYPS) is an innovative community-based substance abuse prevention program for young people living in small communities (under 25,000 residents). Sponsored by the Tri-County Addictions Program in Smith Falls, Ontario, the purpose of TYPS is to provide five small towns with ways to involve young people in designing, operating and participating in healthy social and recreational activities. Each of these sites focuses on three specific goals: establishing local youth councils, developing youth centres and producing a participatory video on issues relevant to local youth.

The rationale for the TYPS project emerged from a street worker’s report which revealed that small town youth experience a lack of recreational and social opportunities and a lack of awareness of available support services. As a result, some young people in small towns become alienated from their community. This sense of alienation manifests itself in an array of high-risk activities including alcohol and drug abuse, leaving home prematurely and dropping out of school.

To actively engage young people in identifying and acting on shared issues and concerns related to drug abuse, a Youth Advisory Council was formed. The lack of recreational and social opportunities for youth in the pilot community was addressed through the establishment of Midnight Junction, a drug- and alcohol-free teen centre that quickly became a popular hangout for local young people. The TYPS project leaders have since identified the organization of youth centres in participating communities as a key program priority.

Although full evaluative data on the impact of this initiative are not yet available, TYPS represents a promising participatory approach to addressing the conditions that lead to substance abuse among youth in mid-sized and smaller communities. A questionnaire has been developed to evaluate the impact of the youth centres established in the participating communities. Anecdotal reports from the pilot community indicate a drop in vandalism and alcohol-related incidents among young people since the opening of the teen centre. The young people involved in the pilot project have worked with the street worker to develop evaluation and documentation materials.

The total budget for the TYPS project (January 1, 1994 to March 31, 1997) is $305,500. In spite of the costs involved, portions of the project (for example, the Youth Advisory Council) are easily replicable in other communities where sufficient interest and support exist. Resources-in-kind could be sought from community partners to keep direct financial costs to a minimum.

Contact: Les Voakes,Tri-County Addictions Program, Tel 1.800.361.6948 or 613.269.2436

Source for this description: Fralick, P. and Hyndman, B., Youth Substance Abuse and the Determinants of Health, 1996


Transition to Working Life

This British program for unemployed youth capitalized on the guidance of mentors who are recruited from private companies. Youth between the ages of 16 and 19 who had left school or soon would leave were assigned to a "working coach" who spent two to four hours per week for six months discussing with small groups of youth topics such as schooling, lifestyle and employment issues, and periodically arranging field trips to explore job opportunities. Coaches were nominated by managers and union leaders because they were already natural supports of coworkers and were given training in supervision and mentoring. The results of the program were impressive. A large proportion of participants found jobs, returned to school, entered the military or engaged in other constructive activities.

Contact: For more information see the chapter by S. Hamilton (1994) in Youth Unemployment and Society. New York: Cambridge University Press.


Understanding Mentoring Relationships 

Understanding Mentoring Relationships was a study carried out by the Search Institute in 1992. It focussed on mentoring, tutoring and friendship programs in the Buddy System, a division of Minneapolis Youth Trust, a non-profit organization that initiates and develops partnerships in the community to help children and youth become ready for life and work.

The study identified five types of mentoring programs:

Traditional programs: These are the programs that have been the focus of most discussions about mentoring: one adult being a friend and role model to one child. Traditional programs usually involve a one-year commitment (many last much longer), and mentors are expected to meet with the children they are paired with a minimum of three hours per week.

Longer-term, focussed activity: These programs focus on a particular goal over and above friendship or role modelling. Many times they focus on career and school issues. They are sometimes remedial, as in tutoring programs for under-achieving students or career guidance.

Short-term, focussed activity: Programs in this category also focus in a particular area such as school or careers, but do not require mentors to make more than a six-month commitment. The program involved in this study is a school-based tutoring program for students in kindergarten to grade 12. The mentors commit to two hours per week for 10 weeks and generally tutor one or two students throughout that time period.

Team mentoring: Team mentoring occurs when more than one adult volunteer works with a young person. This may include a family, or two (or more) unrelated adults working together. Mentors in the particular program studied are expected to get together with the children they are paired with once per week for two to four hours. Mentors make a year-long commitment to the program, but regularly remain involved with the young person for several years.

Group mentoring: Group mentoring occurs when one adult volunteer works with a small group of young people. Girl Scout leaders, for instance, are beginning to view their volunteer troop leaders as mentors. All of the people who were interviewed spoke to the utility of these group sessions and the effectiveness of the processes used in the groups. "These kids really respond to you," one mentor said. "It’s an hour in their week when someone says, ‘Hey, you’re doing a really great job.’"

Regardless of the particular type of program, mentoring is a win-win situation when adequate preparation is given to mentoring program practices and processes. Within the programs participating in this study, more than 1,000 volunteers are working with more than 1,800 youth in what appear to be significant, beneficial, and cost-effective relationships. Young people win; adults volunteers win. In the end, society at large is the real winner.

The interviews and observations in this study also identified factors to be considered in organizing and running a mentoring program. Among the factors for success are:

Provide appropriate screening, matching, and training — the key word is "appropriate." When mentoring relationships are unsupervised, and the nature and location of activities are unspecified, extensive screening is critical. Training is most important when the program goal is remedial, for example, tutoring or increased social skills.

Ensure a good match between mentor expectations and program goals — initial interviews with mentors should explain the type of mentoring relationship, expectations, and depth or type of relationship.

Provide adequate support and communication structures — mentors who feel they have access to program staff feel more confidant and supported. The ability to discuss progress is important to a sense of support.

Provide opportunities for social activities — both mentors and the children expressed a desire for program-supported social activities and events. These could include events for mentors and the children together, mentors only, and children only.

Communicate appropriately with the children’s families — programs should be clear about expectations of family involvement with the mentor and the program staff. While some programs may view family involvement as inappropriate, this expectation should be made clear to all involved.

Contact: Maureen Hynan, Search Institute, 700 S. 3rd Street, Minneapolis, MN, 55415-1138, Tel 612.376.8955 Website http://www.search-institute.org/catalog/parentcat/681.htm

For more information visit the Search Institute's website archives.


The Unloading Zone

The Unloading Zone is a personal enhancement program for youth. Young people in the program learn to develop an understanding of their personal process of anger and learn that managing it is essential to growth. Program staff help youth make appropriate choices and to be aware of alternatives that will enhance their well-being. Twelve youth attend a 12 week program for two hours per week in a relaxed, informal atmosphere. Programs are offered in English and other languages. A summer camping program is also available. Parents are invited to information sessions and are provided with information on the program philosophy and content, as well as having an opportunity to ask questions.

Contact: Family Services of Greater Vancouver, 202-1193 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5V 3C9, Tel  604.874.2938

Source for this description: National Crime Prevention Council, Preventing Crime by Investing in Families and Communities. Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old, May 1997

  V W X Y  

You Make the Difference

A product of the Hanen Centre, this is an early language development program that is based on the premise that parents are their child’s best teachers. The content of the information is based on the 3A Way:

Allow your child to lead
Adapt to share the moment
Add information and experience

This approach encourages parents to become attuned to their children and help them learn. This key message is repeated throughout the parent guidebook, You Make the Difference in Helping Your Child Learn.

The Hanen Outreach Program is taken directly to families or to their local community resource centre. Collaboration between the Hanen Centre and host organizations in various community settings has made this program accessible in safe, familiar environments.

Taking place over three consecutive 11-week sessions, the initial program is delivered by a Hanen staff member with a host agency staff member present. The host agency staff then receives training and is able to co-host the second program and run the third program.

For successful collaboration, the Hanen Centre is sensitive to the limits of the host organization in terms of money, staff and space.

Contact: Hanen Centre, 252 Bloor St West, Suite 3-390, Toronto, ON, M5S 1V5, Tel 416.921.1073 Fax 416.921.1225 Website http://www.hanen.org


Youth Action Teams

Youth Action Teams (YATs) are groups of young people developing community and youth safety projects and programs and putting them into action. YATs foster peer mentorship, conflict resolution and community leadership. These teams help prevent crime and violence by implementing neighbourhood projects as well as youth programs and activities. YATs are being promoted through schools, police and youth-serving agencies. YAT projects include youth forums, anti-violence projects, neighbourhood clean-ups, poster contests, and Youth Against Violence walks. With the support of eight regional coordinators, Youth Action Teams are being established in over 65 communities across British Columbia; over 700 youths are involved.

Contact: Youth Action Teams, Community Programs Division, Ministry of Attorney General, 401 - 5021 Kingsway St., Burnaby, BC V5H 4A5, Tel  604.660.2605  Fax   604.775.2674 Website http://www.lcs.gov.bc.ca/cp/

Source for this description: National Crime Prevention Council, Preventing Crime by Investing in Families and Communities. Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old, May 1997


YWCA Crabtree Corner FAS Prevention Project

The YWCA Crabtree Corner is a community service program and resource centre, offering emergency short-term daycare and a variety of support services for women and their families in the downtown eastside area of Vancouver. One of there projects is an innovative Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (FAS/NAS) Prevention Project.  The YWCA Crabtree Corner has gained national recognition as an example of how communities can deal with alcohol use by young mothers.

Community partners include the Vancouver Wife Assault Task Force, the HIV/AIDS Clinic for Women and Children, the Downtown Eastside-Strathcona Coalition, the East Vancouver Nobody’s Perfect Steering Committee, and the Child Poverty Action Group. A community advisory committee provides a venue for the multisectoral partnerships necessary for the development of comprehensive strategies to prevent problems related to substance abuse.

Activities implemented by the FAS Prevention Project to date include:

  • developing a resource library including video, audio and print information on FAS
  • organizing a series of community-based workshops and conferences on FAS
  • facilitating a variety of educational and information sessions on FAS prevention for single mothers, teens, health workers and other community members
  • developing a series of FAS prevention guides in easy-to-understand language
  • developing plain language brochures and pamphlets on FAS prevention
  • lobbying decision makers for healthy public policies such as bottle labelling legislation, culturally appropriate warning signs, and protocols for pregnant women in alcoholism treatment centres.

In addition to the FAS-specific activities listed above, project participants have access to the ongoing services available at the centre including child care, food supplements, parenting programs, clothing and information about other support services.

The Crabtree Corner FAS Prevention Project has been well received by the community. As of 1994, more than 600 community members took part in FAS educational sessions. One of the greatest successes of the project is its ability to foster intersectoral collaboration, enabling professionals from a variety of backgrounds to work together on a shared concern while avoiding duplication and issues of territoriality. Project partners include representatives from education, health, the criminal justice system, social services, and local businesses. In recognition of its innovative approach to addressing the underlying causes of FAS, YWCA Crabtree Corner received the provincial CCSA Medallion of Distinction in 1994.

Contact:  101 E. Cordova St., Vancouver, BC, V6A 1K7, Tel 604.689.2808 Website http://www.ywcavan.org/VYWCHILD.HTM

Source for this description: Fralick, P. And Hyndman, B. Youth Substance Abuse and the Determinants of Health, 1996



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