Virtual violence prevention work continues to have impact

Topics: Saskatchewan, First Aid and CPR, Indigenous Communities
August 13, 2021

a boardroom with stacked boxes filled with wellness kit packsNo one copes well with extended isolation and not being able to partake in regular daily activities, but it is particularly difficult for youth.
They depend on peer interactions as a key part of their development and are just beginning to learn how to manage challenging situations. Building resilience in youth has been critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Red Cross Violence Prevention team in Saskatchewan responded to the pandemic in 2020/2021 by working in collaboration with Indigenous communities to deliver virtual workshops on violence and abuse prevention.
The focus was on building individual resilience to survive and thrive during challenging times.
Although in-person contact was curtailed, the Violence Prevention team continued to provide health and wellness resources for Saskatchewan youth. The Red Cross supported 14 emotional
wellness sessions for youth, reached 600 students across the province, and provided 150
wellness backpacks for the youth of Black Lake First Nation.
The relationship with Black Lake First Nation is an excellent example of how the Red Cross can work with a community as it builds resiliency. It starts with a long-term commitment to form a
relationship. Once established, the Violence Prevention team was able to support the community to identify resources that would positively impact its members.
“The relationship with Father Porte Memorial School developed over the last couple of years. It takes time to build trust,” said Elaine Caswell, Canadian Red Cross Community Engagement/Indigenous coordinator.
The Violence Prevention team helped support eight emotional wellness workshops at Father Porte Memorial School.
Students identified the topics they wanted to explore including how to be safe when being bullied, racism, how to resource safety and wellness, learning how to resolve conflict, understanding and managing stress and anxiety, the impacts of trauma on wellbeing,
and activities for healthy coping.
At the end of the sessions, each student was provided an emotional wellness backpack which included key resources for personal wellbeing and safety.
“Our work with Black Lake is a gold-star model of working in partnership with community,” said Caswell. “This project showed the great work that can be done when a school gives its full support to the work and the Red Cross takes the role of advocate and mentor. We took a support role that focused on listening and planning with, not planning for, the community.
2020-2021 Saskatchewan Report Back to the Community
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