At-risk girls find ways to address their own needs
TORONTO, June 9 /CNW/ - At a community agency in central Toronto,
Minister of Children and Youth Services Laurel Broten and young girls
today launched a unique, web-based, self-care tool for managing girlhood
stress, behaviour problems, depression and anxiety. The HowToChill.ca
website was developed by Child Development Institute as part of its
SNAP® Girls Connection program.
“The Ontario government wants to see every young woman reach her full
potential,” said Minister Broten. “We all need help now and then. The
How to Chill website is neat, interactive and provides them with
healthy, empowering tools to become more resilient to life’s challenges.”
The SNAP® Girls Connection program at CDI has been operating for more
than ten years, each year providing individual and group intervention to
about 75 girls under age 12, and their families. “A large part of our
work with girls deals with girlhood aggression and bullying,” says Tony
Diniz, Executive Director. “Increasingly, we are seeing girls struggling
with stress, anxiety, and low self-esteem. HowToChill.ca helps
girls develop the tools they need to manage some of those issues
themselves. And of course, it enables us to serve an exponential number
of girls who need that help.” The SNAP® (Stop Now and Plan) model was
developed by CDI and is now being adapted and replicated in programs
around the world, including in Ontario’s public school system.
HowToChill.ca is CDI’s first web-based tool and is a response to
the growing need for mental health services for children and youth.
Among Ontario students from grades 7 to 12, one-third report
psychological distress, with levels among girls twice as high as boys.
Girls are also more likely to be bullied, with the most prevalent form
being verbal or non-physical.
A special feature of the project was the involvement of a group of
at-risk girls in the SNAP® Girls Connection program. They were involved
in initial focus groups to plan the project, and throughout the
development of the website HowToChill.ca.
Also speaking at the launch today were Dr. Debra J. Pepler,
Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology at the LaMarsh Centre for
Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution, York University, and a
leading expert in girlhood aggression, Dr. Leena Augimeri, Director of
Program Development and the Centre for Children Committing Offences at
CDI, and Erin Rajca, HowToChill.ca Project Leader and SNAP® Girls
Child Development Institute has more than ten locations in Toronto,
providing programs for early learning, children’s mental health
intervention, and services for children who have suffered family
violence and sexual abuse. CDI serves more than 4,000 children each year
in Toronto and its award-winning model programs are replicated across
Canada and internationally. CDI’s research is leading new approaches to
children’s development and well-being. For additional information,
please visit href="www.childdevelop.ca">www.childdevelop.ca.
SOURCE CHILD DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE
For further information: For further information:
Nancy Bennett, Director of Development & Communications
(416) 603‐1827 x 2276 / cell (416) 435‐7918