Not a week goes by without a negative news story reporting the rates of problem behaviors among Canada’s aboriginal youth. These statistics don’t tell the whole story, and the paradigm must shift from focusing on deficits to a more strengths-based approach. Engaging and Empowering Aboriginal Youth presents a wide range of guidelines, strategies, templates, and case studies for those who work with aboriginal youth. Divided into five sections, this toolkit • provides a historical context for understanding the challenges facing aboriginal youth and makes a case for the importance of building youth engagement and empowerment; • offers a series of assessment tools to help identify the starting point for change; • identifies four key tenets of effective programming with aboriginal youth: understanding and integrating cultural identity, increasing youth engagement, fostering youth empowerment, and establishing and maintaining effective partnerships; • highlights challenges and opportunities in working with partners in the educational system; • offers a range of considerations for program evaluation and other types of research. A guide for frontline service providers, facilitators, educators, community partners, and researchers to adapt or develop programs, Engaging and Empowering Aboriginal Youth combines conceptual guidelines and practical strategies.
About the Authors:
Claire Crooks, PhD, is a registered clinical psychologist and the Associate Director of the CAMH Centre for Prevention Science, as well as an assistant professor of education, and adjunct professor in health sciences and psychology at the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Crooks has written more than forty articles, chapters, and books on a wide range of youth-related topics.
Debbie Chiodo, MA, EdM, has a BS from the University of Toronto, a master’s degree in personality and measurement psychology, and a master of education degree in counselling psychology from the University of Western Ontario. Debbie is currently the Centre Manager and Researcher for the CAMH Centre for Prevention Science. She oversees numerous projects aimed at improving engagement and academic outcomes with aboriginal youth.
Darren Thomas, BS, is a community educator and motivational consultant from Six Nations of the Grand River. Darren is a Seneca Bear clan member from the Haudenausonee and is the project manager of the New Orators Youth Project. He specializes in working with First Nations people, inspiring them to be proud of their heritage. He has worked an addictions counsellor and was a community liaison for the Grand Erie School Board for ten years.
Shanna Burns, BA, BEd, EdM, is an educator and researcher for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Centre for Prevention Science in London, Ontario. She obtained her bachelor of education and master of educational psychology degrees from the University of Western Ontario. Most of Shanna’s work is in Fourth R program development and implementation initiatives; she has worked with many at-risk youth in mainstream and alternative education settings and with students in First Nations communities.
Charlene Camillo, BA, BEd, is a member of the Moose Cree First Nation. She obtained her BA in kinesiology and First Nations studies and her BEd from the University of Western Ontario. Charlene is involved with various 4th R programs for aboriginal youth, including facilitating elementary and secondary school peer mentoring programs, assisting in a high school aboriginal cultural leadership course, coordinating aboriginal Grade 8 Transition Conferences, and organizing community outreach events.