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