Topic: Programs

Lobstick Foundation supports Pass it On Girls!

We are delighted to announce that #Lobstick Foundation has contributed $6,000 towards the Pass it On Girls Program!

Our sincere gratitude to Lobstick for their generous support of the Pass It On Girls #MentorshipProgram.  In this program, high school young women provide structured group and individual mentorship for grade 8 girls. Throughout the school year adult women from our community are asked to attend bi-weekly meetings as presenters and to share activities and expertise.  This creates a venue to ‘pass on’ their wisdom, skills, and inspirations to the girls and young women and to serve as role models. Here’s to everyone at the Lobstick Foundation for helping to make this happen!

Learn more about Lobstick here: http://lobstickfoundation.org/

Coast Capital supports Pass It On Girls!

Pssst! We’ve received $5,000 in funding from @Coast_Capital …Pass It On Girls!

Our sincere gratitude to #CoastCapitalSavings for their generous support of the Pass It On Girls #MentorshipProgram.  In this program, high school young women provide structured group and individual mentorship for grade 8 girls. Throughout the school year adult women from our community are asked to attend bi-weekly meetings as presenters and to share activities and expertise.  This creates a venue to ‘pass on’ their wisdom, skills, and inspirations to the girls and young women and to serve as role models. Here’s to @Coast_Capital for helping to make this happen!

 

Respectful Relationships Re-design!

We are delighted to share news of recent funding from #SaltSpringIslandFoundation in the amount of $26,250!  Funds will be used to update and re-redesign the award-winning #RespectfulRelationshipsProgram which has served more than 10,000 youth across the Southern Gulf Islands over 17 years. The Program teaches youth to choose nonviolent behaviors; foster safe, stable, nurturing relationships between young people and caring adults in their community; develop and implement school-wide activities and policies to foster social connectedness and a positive social environment; and change societal norms about the acceptability of violence and willingness to intervene.  Our deep gratitude to SSI Foundation for their support of this vital community program!

Each year SSI Foundation measures community needs to identify areas requiring attention. Read this year’s helpful and informative report here:

http://ssifoundation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/SSIF-Vital-Signs-Report.pdf

 

Grant cheque presentation photo

A transformative year…from caterpillar to butterfly – a blog post by Kate Nash

Caterpillar to butterfly graphic

Photo credit: Miki Pereanu

Often the effects of a program like Pass It On are not ones you can easily quantify or even see. Yes, there are responses to surveys or the positive comments the girls shout out on the last day about missing the program or loving the time spent there. Truly, the effects of Pass It On are more cumulative, more subtle and more gradual. Even after spending a year with peers outside their usual friend group, learning to share and support one another, the girls may not necessarily see the results of their work immediately.

The experiences in Pass it On grow on the participants; the girls mature and open themselves up to others’ feelings and insecurities. They recognize the vulnerabilities that exist in each of us and as a result they develop confidence in who they are and how they can care for others.

Living in a small community means that I am often running into young women from the program around town. This means I get anecdotal progress reports. I also get to see the effects that the program has had on them over time. Sometimes it is demonstrated in the fact that a mentor still spends time with their younger buddy, years after their formal relationship in the program has passed. Other times I witness past participants at work and see some capacity of caregiving in the role they hold; often it is measured in their level of self-confidence and the care and integrity they offer those around them. When we do have a chance to chat, the girls always speak of their love of the Pass It On program and how it helped them grow as a person, gave them confidence and an acceptance of self and a feeling of belonging in our world, even in the most simple of ways.

Once in a while the stories that come back to me are more significant or the results of the program are very tangible. A few years back I had a participant in the program who had struggled with an eating disorder in her early teens, a common problem for many of the young women who come through the program. At the time she said there was no issue – it was something she had overcome. I took her at her word. Every year we have many discussions that involve body image and confidence. This person was able to tell her story in a circle of love and care. At the time I knew we were doing good work and that speaking about it was good for her but I believed that indeed, it was an issue from her past and had been put behind her.

Recently I ran into her and we sat down for tea to catch up. She told me that at the time she was in Pass It On, the eating disorder in fact had been an issue and that it was a very negative part of her life at that time. She admitted she had been in denial about it and had pushed away all her supports under the guise of being cured. Being in Pass It On was a transformative year for her. Listening to other young women share their stories about body weight and insecurities around being too heavy and too thin helped her realize she was not alone in her own issues. Helping the other members through their own difficulties helped her to see others’ needs instead of just looking at her own. The funny thing was, she said that the thing that changed her perspective the most was sharing the snacks every week at the beginning of the meetings.

Watching the other girls eat whole‐heartedly and without concern, rather with an appetite made her realize that food was just that: food. It was not something to battle with or struggle against. It was just something to eat, or not, and in the end she chose to eat.

I looked over my tea at that beautiful, vibrant, healthy young woman and thought how each of us struggle internally with that dialogue between what’s right and wrong and how all too often that negative voice – in its persistence – often comes out on top. Here was a case where that voice was put to bed. I felt so grateful that I get to facilitate a program based in simplicity: conversations in circle, mentorship through friendship and that simple acts of connecting and sharing are the impetus to extinguish those negative voices. And, that merely showing others who we are, safely exposing our vulnerabilities, we can all become more confident vibrant people.

Pass It On: Boys – Survey Results & Evaluation

In the Fall of 2016, SWOVA’s Pass It On – Engaging Boys & Young Men Project set out to find out about the needs of boys and young men (cis- trans- & non-binary inclusive)  in the Salt Spring Island Community and ways to address these needs. Surveys and focus groups were engaged with boys and young men, young women, educators, parents and community members, and programs/activities offered to boys and young men. And the results?

 
Issues highlighted by the boys and young men are (in no particular order):

  • Schoolwork stress

  • Family & Relationships

  • Sleep

  • Peer pressure, criticism, judgement (and in extreme cases bullying)

  • Self Image

  • Mental Health

  • Drugs & Alcohol

  • Negative Expectations/Stereotypes

  • Intimate Partner Relationships

  • Understanding Girls/Young Women

  • Helping Friends While Taking Care of Oneself

As one would expect the issues are more or less heightened depending on the age and individual situation. There is a desire for sports, activities, or places to gather, the exact details of which vary from person to person, group to group. My sense is that places to connect and talk in some way is wanted by all but how it would ideally look varies greatly. There is a cautiousness by this group as a whole to engage in some of the deeper needed conversations.

Tarquin Bowers, evaluator for the project has written a personable, warm hearted, and well-written evaluation of their needs. I’d recommend diving into the full report. Make a coffee or tea, sit back, and enjoy your reading!

Intro Letter to PIO-Boys Evaluation Report Feb 2017

Pass It On Engaging Boys Young Men Project Evaluation Jan 2017

We’re hiring! Male Facilitator – Contract

Position Title:  Male Facilitator, Respectful Relationships Program (“RR”)rr-logo

Contract: November 1, 2016 – May 30, 2017

 

The successful candidate will have education, job skills and training in the areas of youth violence prevention, social justice, community organizing and classroom facilitation.

The Male Facilitator will report to SWOVA’s Program Director and act in a co-facilitation capacity for delivery of the Respectful Relationships Program during both classroom and afterschool sessions in Grades 7-12 in School District #64. Your primary role will be to create a supportive space for youth while actively engaging students in social and emotional learning, youth violence prevention education, unique games and activity and modeling positive attitudes. Delivery of high quality programming is fundamental in this role.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Encourage and assist youth to further develop life and living skills
  • Implement routines and activities to provide a safe and secure space for youth
  • Lead healthy discussions with youth
  • Assist youth in developing and practicing problem solving, conflict resolution and communication skills
  • Train RR youth team members in Leadership and Facilitation
  • Act as a liaison between the program and various stakeholders in the community
  • Familiarity with the social, emotional, cultural, physical and environmental barriers facing youth
  • Contribution to a creative and positive work environment dedicated to social justice, community health and safety

Approximately 20-25 hours per week average over the course of this contract. Flexibility will be required with some weeks being full time hours and other weeks less than 20. A clean criminal record check will be a requirement of this position.

Please forward your resume to info@swova.org

Posting Ends: Oct 20, 2016 at 4pm

We Reflect the Beauty of the People we Love by Kate Nash

Photo on 16-03-07 at 9.59 AM #2

Winter seems to be a time of great change and learning for me. My mother passed away this year on January 1st. For anyone who has lost a parent, the mixed emotions and loss will be familiar. When a parent dies we flounder between our adult selves and the child inside and the grief plays games with both. I understood the experience would not be easy. I did not expect the challenge of supporting my children through their grief.

I have three children. Kai is ten, Kumi, my daughter is eight and Kobe is my youngest at six. My children were quite close with my mom as she lived here on salt spring as they grew. We lost my mom to cancer so the prospect of her death was one we knew, especially in the last months. My husband and I struggled with this concept and how to prepare our children for such a loss. In the end we decided as a family to shave our heads. This was an act of camaraderie with my mother and all the physical changes she was going through and for ourselves to have the physical experience of loss. Many of us hold great attachment to our hair. It defines who we are and symbolizes our character and our style. The loss of our hair to each of us in our family was unique and formative.

My daughter and I both had quite long hair. Kumi at the age of eight was becoming quite attached to her hair, she brushed it daily and was quite proud of its colour and length. To say that this experience was upsetting would be an understatement. It was jarring and heart breaking and completely shattering to her self-image. Kumi wore a toque any time she went out for 2 months after we shaved her head. She didn’t want anyone she didn’t feel completely safe with to see her without her hair. Kumi struggled with her self-confidence outside of the home before we shaved her head so this divergence from the norm broke her thin shield of self-‐confidence.

The day after we shaved our heads, to cheer her up and instill in her a sense of confidence with females, I told her I would take her to the Christmas Pass it On meeting. This meeting is filled with almost 40 young women from grade 8 ‐ 12. Kumi looks forward to attending these meeting one day with great excitement, she looks up to all these young women. I figured the opportunity to unveil our new hair do’s in front of a group of young women I knew and trusted to be sympathetic and supportive would be a good first step for Kumi. The idea of going roused her spirits, but when we were there and it was time to show what we had done, Kumi could not, would not unveil anything. As I looked around the room I understood more than ever how much hair could mean to a person and identify them. The entire room was filled with young women with hair and lots of it. How was my daughter to find confidence in the sympathetic eyes of 40 teenage girls who all reveled and identified in their hair, young women whose own confidence and femininity was defined by their hairstyles.

Letting go is a very hard thing to do. Patience, for me is even harder. I wanted so bad to give Kumi the confidence she’d lost. Better yet I wanted to give her more confidence, something from inside herself that had nothing to do with her hair or her look. We can give our children many things but this is not one of them. When my mother passed away, it was another blow to Kumi. Despite the sacrifice of our hair, Nana had still died. How do you explain to an eight year old that sacrifice does not always reap reward, but often just pairs up with the loss, compounding the grief.

Our bodies are amazing ecosystems that regulate and moderate what we have and what we need. After my mom’s passing, our bodies were compromised by grief. My children got sick, especially Kumi and we had to spend a lot of time at home, drinking tea, reading books and sleeping. Worry and impatience toyed with my mind. What had I done to my daughter? When would she get better? When would she realize that her hair had nothing to do with who she was? We can hold a person and feed a person and love a person but we cannot take away ones grief.

Last week when I went to pick my kids up from school and parked on the road I had a clear view of the schoolyard. Looking in I saw Kumi run down a path to the other side of the yard. She was smiling and she had no hat on, no hood. I watched as she caught up to friends laughing and talking. I began to cry. Kumi had found herself again all on her own. Sometimes all it takes is time. We all must find our own way back to ourselves.

Kumi, at the age of eight has realized that she is everything she knows herself to be no matter how she looks. Without her locks she is still loved and liked and fun and free and she knows this now intrinsically. How many of us know or trust that even without our hair or body shape or make up we would still be deemed beautiful? How much do we truly believe the saying “it’s who we are inside that truly matters”? A young woman in Pass it On last week was mentioning that she took the mirror out of her room and that since doing so her confidence has gone up. Instead of being disappointed by what she sees she trusts her inner eye to tell her how she feels and she lets the people around her be her mirror. We reflect the beauty of the people we love and emulate the love they have for us. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I cannot bring back my mother. Nor can I make my hair grow faster. But I can have the patience to see the process through. I can trust those I love to see me as I am.

 

Kate Nash – Pass It On Facilitator

Why is everyone talking about Consent? By Sharyn Carroll

From high profile cases in the media to Canadian students and faculty calling for change across college and university campuses, the term “Consent” is being put under a microscope. Our understanding of this word raises communication to a whole new level in a fast paced digital world where dialogue can be as quick as a text, tweet or even a sound bite.

Consent forces us to slow down and listen to all that is being communicated.  It encourages us to be aware of not only our own boundaries but also of the boundaries of others.  It helps us to understand what has been communicated and to find safe space in which to express our needs, wants and desires while respecting the rights of another individual.  If you’re really paying attention, consent can only deepen our connection to others; after all is this not the common link that ties the human experience together.

 

By Sharyn Carroll, Project Coordinator

SWOVA Focuses on Consent and Sexual Assault

yes no

Statistics tell us that one in three women and one in six men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime, while less than one in ten assaults are reported to the authorities. Most sexual assaults happen by someone the victim knows. (Stats Can 2004)

For the next three years SWOVA Community Development and Research Society will be looking more closely at these issues with their new project Consent and Sexual Assault – Prevention and Response, funded by Status of Women Canada. Project Coordinator Sharyn Carroll will be focusing on awareness and response to these issues on Mayne, Galiano, Salt Spring, Saturna and Pender Islands.

This venture will conduct a review of community knowledge for prevention of and intervention in sexual assault for youth and adults. It’s goal is to facilitate shared, consistent language regarding what constitutes sexual consent and sexual assault under Canadian law. The project will explore inter-agency protocols, policies and procedures for victims of sexual assault and include community involvement. A Needs Assessment Survey and forming of an Advisory Committee are the first stages of the project.

SWOVA is excited to partner with the RCMP, Victim Services, Options for Sexual Health, IWAV, Island Health, SD #64, GISS PAC and other key organizations on such a valuable project for the betterment of our communities.

We are grateful for the support of our Federal Government in providing funding of for this 3-year project.

For more information or if you have any questions please contact SWOVA at
250-537-1336.