NSTEP and Black Girls Corner: Empowered for Better Wellbeing
NSTEP is a registered charity, bringing its programs to where children youth live, learn and play. Chef on NSTEP is our food literacy initiative, teaching basic food preparation skills, along with why we are preparing and eating these foods, and how they help our bodies and brains be healthy. Working collaboratively with after school programs that would like to add this component to their program helps us to reach more children and their families.
Due to the current pandemic restrictions, school programming is limited, but the needs of children who need healthy food to have healthy brains and bodies to learn and live and be happy have not changed. In fact, NSTEP has stepped into the role of helping children and families get food, that is healthy and culturally appropriate, all as the children learn why the food is good for them and how to prepare simple lunches that they can also teach to their siblings.
NSTEP has been collaborating with programs at the Africa Centre, and recently heard about the work that the Black Canadian Women were doing, specifically with young black girls between ages 10-13. These young Canadian girls do not have the opportunity within their families to attend after school or community programs mainly due to financial restraints. That means they miss out on building age appropriate social, emotional, and physical skills that they need. This summer, NSTEP supported the girl’s program by sharing T-shirts and games from our partner organization Active for Life. Now the needs and requests from parents looking for more of these programs is growing and we want to expand the services and evaluate the outcome. Several tools will be used for evaluation purposes, including pre-post surveys for behavior change over 7 months; qualitative inquiry and reports both during and at the end of the program; family feedback and further requests which may be done as oral reports to an independent program person.
Who Will it Benefit?
BCW is building awareness to our minority families through a variety of ways. The organization recognizes the need to empower our women and girls to increase their well-being. Educational awareness around healthy lifestyles contribute to the mental and social wellbeing of our children. Promoting healthier eating and lifestyles from an early age would allow the youth to develop healthy habits for improving their physical, emotional, and social wellbeing. The ability to incorporate activities related to their cultural identity combine with Canadian culture would contribute to successful pathway as they strive to have positive lifestyles. These youth from their participation and engagement would be reducing many social barriers and gain confidence as youth living in Edmonton.
We have evidence from our community work at NSTEP that children become the ‘teacher’ in their homes to the other members of the family. BCW saw this affect with the first program they ran for young girls. Families are now more aware and seeing the benefits, which they also want for all their children. Evaluation of this work, which is evidence-informed will help access the most effective ways to meet the needs of these young black Canadians and their families.