The Pass It On Project – Phase II is occurring simultaneously in 5 communities throughout British Columbia – Salt Spring Island, Uclulet, Valemount/McBride, Prince George and Kamloops.
Kamloops is in the Southern Interior of the province with a population of 85,000. The major industries are agriculture, forestry/wood products and mining. There is a major university in the community. As with any city that size, there is a mix of income levels in the population. SWOVA’s violence prevention program for youth – Respectful + Relationships program has been delivered consistently in Kamloops over the past 4 years. It has been primarily delivered in one of the lowest demographic communities of the city. The Pass It On Project is also being implemented within the same demographic base. It is a community that is dealing with severe poverty, hygiene issues, little or no communication skills and bullying issues.
Tracy Bergman is the Mentor Supervisor and Coordinator for the project and recently shared the following:
“So far I adore my Mentors. It hasn’t been perfect, but they were amazing at the mixer (the matching event between potential buddies and mentors). I was very emotional after (at home!) to see these girls shine. Several of them have had 4 years of Respectful + Relationships, and it shows.”
Tracy also shared that one of the younger buddies was going to back out when she heard her ‘bully’ was also coming to the mixer. After Tracy spent time speaking with the young buddy’s mother as well as the young buddy herself, “she agreed to stay on and is actually excited to learn some communication skills and build a rapport with her Mentor – face her ‘bully’.”
Finally, Tracy agrees that it is a whole comprehensive wraparound approach that makes a project of this nature work.
“My contact at the middle school is really keen and that has made a huge difference. She is incredibly invested, especially considering her workload.”
Regardless of the community and regardless of the issues, a project like Pass It On can work. All it takes are inspired youth, invested partners and a champion like Tracy Bergman. Thanks to her commitment to and passion for the health, safety and leadership potential of young women, young females and girls in Kamloops are finding their voice and growing together. Thanks Tracy.
Chris Gay – Pass It On Phase II Coordinator