After School and Weekend Program for at Risk Aboriginal Girls

The Cause

The Goal is to introduce an educational footprint for Aboriginal girls in Calgary and area that incorporates a preventative model of life skills and literacy that builds resiliency among the girls against exposure of destructive behaviors. Please see: http://www.stardale.org/.

Stardale has for many years measured the causes, pathways and health outcomes of the policy interventions that have been mainstreamed for Aboriginal peoples, Gender, Children and Youth and Poverty.  Our sustainable work particularly in the areas of violence and abuse has been profiled thus leading to change for how some organizations and government tackle the problem for the Aboriginal female.  The Stardale Model after school program stays on the continuum of reducing violence, addictions and incarceration for the youth.

Objectives:

To educate and support girls’ who have both low and high-defensive self-esteem in personal and interpersonal strength-building processes through introspection as well appropriate and creative outward expressions.
To increase public awareness of the talents and strength and incredible narratives of our girls whose life stories are often interwoven with marginalization, persistent stereotyping, underachievement in school and limited access to extra-curricular recreational and learning opportunities.
To support girls’ who have both low and high-defensive self-esteem in personal and interpersonal strength-building processes through introspection as well appropriate and creative outward expressions.

Activities include weekly classes in:

A variety of cultural and self-development sessions
Modelling, ballet, & hooping
Acting, singing classes
Literacy & financial literacy – entrepreneurial skills
Cooking I.E basic food skills
Volunteering
A performance piece be showcased with the Alberta Ballet

Group mentoring is considered an effective model for Aboriginal youth because groups are fundamental to Aboriginal culture. Through the involvement of mentors formally and informally from within the community the benefits are extended to the mentors as well, many of whom are service providers, corporate employees, community workers, and health professionals.

Who Will it Benefit?

Targeted Participants:

Our programming is open to all Aboriginal girls aged 10-17 and targets those girls in particular who may be at-risk or at high-risk of destructive behaviour and/or whose families are financially vulnerable.  This includes girls that are in care, justice-involved and incarcerated.  All the girls have experienced violence, abuse and multi – traumas in their life situation.

Benefits:

To reach out with the Stardale program within Calgary, which is appropriate for Aboriginal girls who are in custody and for girls who reside in the community.
To provide an outlet for Aboriginal girls during critical hours and address the ‘gap’ in current resources for Aboriginal girls, girls who are at-risk, as well as for girls who are high–risk.
To break down stereotyping and labeling of girls by providing a space for girls to explore, practice, and reinforce their sense of self, their talents, and the way that they want to be perceived, and to provide a venue for girls to be expressive and share these talents before an audience.
To provide guidance for engaging with the  art & fashion industry in a way that promotes healthy self-esteem, body awareness and care, and demystifies this glamorous industry.
To cultivate group leadership skills, multiple modes of expression, self-awareness, encourage healthy choice patterning, expand the range of healthy choices available to the girls as they move through their tumultuous teen years.

Outcomes:

The girls will build peer support and become cooperative
The girls will build relationships of trust/exchanges through cooperation and interconnectedness breaking down any negative tension
The girls are the partners in the project, as well as designing their sense of style for the productionsFoster cultural literacy in mainstream Alberta lifeRisk reduction of girls being victimized and not offending