The power of creating change to prevent youth violence

Topics: Saskatchewan, Violence, Bullying and Abuse Prevention
November 09, 2020

Man facing classroom and camera talking to kids sitting at desksFor Scott McHenry there is nothing better than seeing the confidence build in a room of kids learning to facilitate violence prevention training for younger students in their own schools.
“When you get a bunch of motivated youth in one room, you can see how change is possible,” said the Red Cross Violence Prevention Facilitator.
“These youngsters are going to be the ones to create the change and are going to be those future leaders within their schools and within Saskatchewan,” McHenry said. 
In 2019-2020, the Red Cross trained more than 250 Grade 7 and 8 youth facilitators across the province in two-day workshops focused on violence prevention, building healthy relationships and developing presentation skills. Then, with the support of an adult advisor, the students go back to their schools and teach the program to the younger kids.
“The kids are learning things for themselves about helping to keep safe, but there is a lot of really good research behind youth-to-youth teaching and the impact,” said McHenry.
In addition to these youth facilitator training sessions, Red Cross Ambassadors who are also Saskatchewan Roughrider players, did 61 presentations reaching nearly 16,000 students. Overall, more than 86,000 youth and adults participated in Red Cross training in a variety of formats, including virtually, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After five years with the Red Cross as a youth facilitator, McHenry, a former Roughridger and Ambassador himself, said that the response from the kids makes the thousands of kilometres he travels every year all worth it.
“It’s pretty great to see when you bring like-minded kids together who are looking to learn something new and are really interested in teaching other kids,” he said. “That is where the power is.”

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Canadian Red Cross 2019-2020 Saskatchewan Report Back to the Community
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