The overall goal of the “UMatter” 5 year project is to test a promising Best Practice delivery model of an Indigenous embedded skill-based learning curriculum aimed at preventing teen/youth dating violence within high-risk Indigenous youth populations aged 12 – 24 years old. Through a culturally safe and trauma and violence informed environment, engage youth involved in Ka NI Kanichihk program activities in addressing dating violence in focused work towards transformational change in healthy lifestyle outlooks.
The “UMatter” Stop Youth Dating Violence Project will integrate teen/youth dating violence (TDV) prevention curricula into existing programming at Ka Ni Kanichihk. Tailored TDV prevention curricula and best practices delivery model will be developed for children (ages 9-12), adolescents (ages 13-17) and young adults (ages 18-24) based on three evidence-informed components: historical context, cultural context, and healthy relationship dynamics. Combined with urban peer training and rural community capacity building training, the project will also work with First Nation communities reaching out to Indigenous Manitoba populations.
Focused on prevention, awareness, intervention, and support for teens/youth, the program will:
- Increase knowledge and awareness of violence, dynamics of dating violence and healthy and unhealthy relationships
- Inform on the use of technology in harassing behaviours
- Increase resiliency factors in identifying dating violence risks
- Build skills to combat dating violence within youth relationships
- Improve personal safety planning
- Increase access to community youth resources
Youth will benefit by enhanced essential competencies in:
- Conflict resolution
- Interpersonal communications
- Coping skills
- Self-esteem and self-confidence
- Increased cultural knowledge
Increased pride in cultural heritage
This project will work with an established youth population that is already engaged in seven current youth programs at Ka Ni Kanichihk. Youth engagement and experiential learning is recognized for its importance and will be a part of project implementation and will include peer support training and the development of youth dating violence promotional products which are youth centered and reflective of the teen/youth dating violence prevention project focus and to ensure flexibility and maximum reach to the target population and in remaining responsive to evolving teen/youth needs. Additionally, the project will address health inequities as it will include teen/youth members of vulnerable populations such as LGBT2SQ+ peoples.
The project will incorporate intervention research throughout to determine how the program is effective and will share knowledge to the community on “what worked” and in what settings. It will improve the capacity of community service delivery organizations to deliver effective violence prevention programs to Indigenous youth.
This project will utilize a strength-based approach, including cultural reclamation and connectivity as a pathway to breaking down barriers and stereotypes, enhancing youth confidence and leadership and increase skills and capacity for making personal change. With a “Culture as Prevention” philosophy, this culturally embedded programming increases the youth’s sense of self and belonging, helping them to build resistance and move towards making positive change in their lifestyle behaviors.