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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 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


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