Kids Help Phone unveils new poster campaign as chosen by Aboriginal youth across Canada

TORONTO, Sept. 13, 2011 /CNW/ - Aboriginal youth from communities across Canada came together this summer to send a simple, but powerful, message:

"You're not alone."

These words make up the meaningful tagline to two new posters unveiled by Kids Help Phone in time for the back-to-school period. Distributed to select Canadian communities, the posters are part of ongoing efforts made by the youth counselling service to increase its sensitivity to Aboriginal youth communities, and to remind them that they do not have to deal with issues and concerns alone. Nine poster designs were promoted online where voting determined the winning concept.

The need for these words— you're not alone — to be heard became clear earlier this year when a team of Kids Help Phone counsellors met with Aboriginal youth throughout Ontario. On these visits, young people told counsellors that Kids Help Phone's outreach materials don't speak to their experiences.

Kids Help Phone knew it had to make a change.

That change started when Kids Help Phone partnered with the Native Canadian Centre to invite Aboriginal youth to shape the look and the message of a new awareness campaign. The participating youth created nine poster designs; the first winning concept depicts a young woman alone on a road with a phone in her hand, while the other shows a smudge bowl, which is a ceremonial cleansing tool and a traditional practice that resonates with many Aboriginal communities.

"We went to the experts themselves - the kids - to deepen our understanding of what Aboriginal youth are facing and to learn how to keep Kids Help Phone's services relevant," says Todd Solomon, Clinical Director, English Language Services. "While all young people experience feelings of frustration, sadness, worry, and uncertainty as they grow up, for many Aboriginal youth, these feelings are compounded by isolation, displacement, or unequal access to education. In many communities, Kids Help Phone may be the only anonymous service available to them."

With the assistance of a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport, a team of counsellors visited five Ontario Aboriginal communities in the spring of 2011. They traveled to Moose Factory, Serpent River, Toronto, Thunder Bay, and Kettle and Stony Point hoping to gain a deeper understanding of the realities they are facing. Knowledge gained during these visits will also help expand Kids Help Phone's counselling approach with Aboriginal youth.

About Kids Help Phone:

Kids Help Phone is Canada's only phone and on-line counselling service for youth. It's free, anonymous and confidential. Professional counsellors are available any time of the day or night, 365 days a year, to help young people deal with concerns large or small. As a national community-based charity, Kids Help Phone relies on individual and corporate donations to fund these vital services.

SOURCE: Kids Help Phone

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