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The Healthy Relationships for Youth (HRY) Program is a school based violence prevention program offered in partnership with the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association and various school boards around the province of Nova Scotia. HRY consists of a series of twelve cumulative sessions within the Grade 9 Health curriculum that are delivered by trained youth facilitators. The interactive sessions are designed to reduce the risk of violence for youth through developing their skills and knowledge about creating and maintaining healthy relationships. In 2013, the HRY program expanded to the South Shore Regional School Board (SSRSB); Halifax Regional School Board (HRSB); Annapolis Valley Regional School Board (AVRSB); and the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board (CCRSB). Offered to local schools since 2006, HRY has reached approximately 6,000 grade nine students and has trained 1,290 youth facilitators within the school board.
- To engage Grade 9 students in a series of classroom sessions designed to promote healthy and respectful relationships
- To assist youth in developing the attitudes, values and skills they need to build and maintain healthy relationships
- To increase students’ understanding of racial/cultural diversity specifically relating to the Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian Communities
- To increase students’ awareness of issues related to violence prevention and social inequities from a gender-based perspective
- To foster youth development: peer support, youth empowerment, youth adult partnerships, meaningful contribution and experiential learning
- Toe engage Grade 11 and 12 youth in developing facilitation and leadership skills and in deepening their understanding of violence prevention and promoting healthy relationships.
- To integrate a youth-centred approach that fosters youth to take a leadership role within their school
The HRY curriculum helps students understand and make links among issues related to different forms of oppression, exclusion and violence prevalence. It uses a strengths-based approach which encourages students to develop a deeper understanding of diversity and to both recognize and challenge sexism, racism and homophobia as forms of violence that impact personal and social relationships.
Comments from students who participated in the HRY Program include:
- “I learned how to work and cooperate with others. I learned how to take control of a situation and treat people with respect.”
– Gr. 9 Student Participant
- “It was useful to go into separate gender groups. My attitude changed towards the guys when they said they cry sometimes.”
-Gr. 9 Student Participant
- “I treat girls with more respect after hearing their boundaries.”
-Gr. 9 Student Participant
- “I learned helpful and important ways to have a healthy relationships and how to get out of a bad one. “
-Gr. 9 Student Participant
- “Being taught by a fellow student is more comfortable especially with these topics. “
-Gr. 9 Student Participant
The Youth Facilitators reported how they were influenced by participating in the HRY Program.
“The relationships we had were on a student to student basis. I wasn’t of authority necessarily but I demanded respect from my students (sic).”
“I felt I was really able to talk to the students and they had no problem talking to me.”
“Once I arrived in the classroom to teach, my eyes were truly opened up to the greatness of the Healthy Relationships for Youth Program. Through lessons on diversity, sexual orientation, power and violence, respect and storytelling, you could tell that many students were gaining respect for each other, were learning what healthy relationships consist of.”
The Healthy Relationships for Youth Program is based on the belief that sexism, racism and homophobia are forms of violence that impact personal and social relationships. Through enhancing awareness of the social context of their lives and promoting skill development to encourage healthy interpersonal communication, youth can make positive decisions about their own behaviour.
The goal of this work is to reduce the risk of violence for youth through building skills and knowledge related to developing and maintaining healthy relationships.
The Healthy Relationships for Youth Program (HRY) (2006-2013) is based in the model developed through the Rural Youth Healthy Relationships Education Project (RYEP) (2001-2006). Healthy Relationships for Youth continues the youth-focused work of the Antigonish Women’s Resource Center (AWRC) which values the voices of youth and addresses issues that are of concern to them through research, project work and direct services. The accumulated learnings from this work inform current programming. While the AWRC has provided support services to young women and their families since opening in 1983, community action work on youth issues first emerged in the early 1990s.
Other Youth-Focused Programs and Projects
▪ Inspire (2001 – present): An ongoing program designed for adolescent girls who face challenges. This supportive group format allows exploration of personal and social issues and emphasizes self-care and healthy decision making.
About Our Funders
The work of the Healthy Relationships for Youth program is made possible through the generous support of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Leacross Foundation, Nova Scotia Department of Justice (Lighthouses), Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority (GASHA), and individual donors from the community.
Canadian Women’s Foundation 2006-2008 Multi-Year Violence Prevention Grants with Teens
The Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre (AWRC) has recently been awarded one of four multi-year grants awarded nationally to further their ongoing work of violence prevention with youth.
The stated goal of the Canadian Women’s Foundation is to “prevent violence against women and girls in Canada through work involving girls, or teens (girls and boys age 12 and up, grade 7 to 9)” and their objectives are:
▪“to learn more about effective work with teenagers to prevent violence against women and girls”, and
▪“to build the effectiveness of community organizations and practitioners.”
(CWF 2006-2008 Multi-Year Violence Prevention Grants with Teens – Grant Information and Selection Criteria)
For more information visit http://canadianwomen.org/
The first group of grantees receiving this funding includes:
“Healthy Relationships For Youth” Antigonish Women’s Resource Center, Nova Scotia www.awrcsasa.ca
“Respectful Relationships” SWOVA Community Development & Research Society, British Columbia www.saltspring.com/swova
“The Fourth R” University of Western Ontario www.thefourthr.ca
“Making Waves/Vague par Vague” New Brunswick www.mwaves.org
Nova Scotia Department of Justice – Lighthouses
Launched in 2010, the Lighthouses program of the Nova Scotia Department of Justice aims to support youth programs focused on reducing or preventing crime. The HRY program has been receiving Lighthouses funding since 2011. Other Lighthouses partners in Northern Nova Scotia include Colchester Youth PhotoVoice, Springhill Teen Centre, Youth Anti-Drug Strategy, and Maggie’s Place Youth Programs for Cumberland County. For more information visit http://novascotia.ca/just/prevention/grants.asp
Leacross Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on education for women and children. A partner of the HRY program since 2014, Leacross’s support enables us to support the delivery of HRY across the province. Other grant recipients in the area of violence prevention include the Aboriginal Women’s Support Centre, CALACS, Canadian Women’s Foundation, Harmony House, Interval House, Leave Out Violence (LOVe), Nelson House Ottawa Carleton, and Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre. For more information visit http://leacrossfoundation.ca/
- HRY Evaluation Report 2014-2015 (SRSB)
- HRY Evaluation Report 2014-2015 (Provincial)
- Healthy Relationships for Youth Pilot Expansion Evaluation Report 2013-2014
- Healthy Relationships for Youth Strait Regional School Board Evaluation Report 2013-2014
- Healthy Relationships for Youth Evaluation Report 2012-2013
- Healthy Relationships for Youth Evaluation Report 2011-2012
- Healthy Relationships for Youth Evaluation Report 2010-2011
- Healthy Relationships for Youth Evaluation Report 2009-2010
- Healthy Relationships for Youth Evaluation Report 08-09
- Healthy Relationships for Youth 2007 Annual Report
- Healthy Relationships for Youth 2006-2007 Evaluation Report