Rural Youth Education Project

The Rural Youth Education Project (RYEP) is a four and a half year project which started in February/02 and will conclude in mid August, 2006. This project is sponsored by the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and funded by the National Crime Prevention Strategy, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. The project implements a gender-based, violence prevention model which will provide youth with skills to build and maintain healthy relationships.

The RYEP Project has entered the final phase of the present funding. The original funding period ended in March, 2006, however in September of 2005, an extension was granted to enable the RYEP to be delivered in the 05/06 school year with a revised end date of August 15, 2006. This will allow the RYEP to complete four years of delivery of the RYEP sessions at both school sites.

Goals

The overall goal of this project is to reduce the risk of youth participating in or being victimized by violence. This will be achieved through a multi-dimensional, inclusive education approach.

The social environment created by risk factors such as poverty, alcohol/drug use, exposure to violence in the home, lack of tolerance of diversity, and gender stereo-typing clearly point to the need for an educational approach which relates to the attitudes, values and skills needed to build and maintain healthy relationships.

For youth who are engaged by this project, either as peer facilitators or recipients of classroom sessions, the benefits are many. The obvious advantages are those of raised awareness with issues relating to violence against women, enhanced skills in communication, assertiveness and problem solving, and increased self-esteem. For the youth who are active as facilitators, they experience working with adults in a collaborative manner which respects their knowledge and experiences. They will take these skills and knowledge into their peer groups and after-school lives.

 Objectives

  •  To engage all students in grades 7, 8, 9 and 11 in the two school sites: Antigonish East Education Centre/East Antigonish Academy and Chedabucto Education Centre/Guysborough Academy, in a series of lessons designed to promote healthy and respectful relationships.
  • To increase students’ knowledge and understanding of key elements of intimate relationships; the role and gendered nature of power; the need for self-respect and assertiveness; equality and mutual respect; and empathy and effective communication.
  • To influence students’ attitudes and values by creating a positive appreciation of the benefits of self-respect and assertiveness, equality and mutual respect, and empathy and effective communication in relationships.
  • To increase students’ skills in establishing and maintaining healthy and respectful relationships, including such things as problem solving and conflict resolution in the context of friendships and intimate relations.
  • To increase students’ understanding of racial/cultural diversity specifically relating to the Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities.
  • To increase students’ understanding of the difference between interpersonal and systemic violence and the effect it has on their lives.
  • To decrease reported incidents of violent or abusive behavior in the school setting.
  • ·To decrease reported incidents of violent or abusive behavior in friendships and dating relationships.
  • To involve high school students in a meaningful way in program planning, guidance and delivery.

 Background of Funders

Funding through the National Crime Prevention Centre’s Investment Fund supports the National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention.

The National Strategy is aimed at reducing crime and victimization by addressing their root causes through a social development approach. Specifically, the CPIF has a mandate to:

  • Identify and support promising and innovative community based crime prevention models in high-need and under-resourced communities and population groups;
  • Conduct independent evaluations of these models to determine the key components of successful programs and the extent to which they can be replicated in other settings across the country;
  • Share information on high-quality crime prevention projects that are community based, multidisciplinary, cost-effective and sustainable; and
  • Promote long-term savings by building on best practices in crime prevention to achieve integrated, cost-effective approaches to crime prevention through social development.
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