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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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