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NEXUS Spring Institute

Overcoming the odds with high-risk adolescents: Research and engagement with street-involved and marginalized… Smith, Annie 2009-04

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Research and engagement with street involved youth McCreary Centre Society ◦  Advisory committee formed ◦  Survey developed ◦  Community researchers hired and trained ◦  Survey administered and analyzed ◦  Against the Odds -Research report published ◦  KT workshop developed and delivered ◦  Improving the Odds- KT report published ` North 148 ` Interior 150 ` Fraser Valley 135 ` Vancouver 212 ` Vancouver Island 117 2000 ` Vancouver ` Victoria ` Abbotsford/Mission ` Surrey ` Prince Rupert ` White Rock and Langley ` Sunshine Coast 2006 ` Vancouver ` Victoria ` Abbotsford/Mission ` Surrey ` Prince Rupert ` Nanaimo ` Prince George ` Kamloops ` Kelowna ` Aged 12-18, average age 16 ` 48% male, 50% female, 1% transgender ` 54% Aboriginal heritage 40% exclusively Aboriginal, 33% European ` 1 in 3 females and 1 in 10 males identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual ` 84% of youth were originally from BC ` Percentage of street involved youth who were Aboriginal rose form 36% to 57% ` 1 in 3 females and 1 in 10 males identified as GLB ` 40% had been in government care ` 1 in 3 living in the most precarious housing were attending school ` 1 in 3 had been sexually exploited ` Provide adequate services to address needs of youth and their families (especially younger adolescents) ` Provide access to substance use, safe and supportive housing, job training and education, and youth mental health services ` Assist youth to reach educational goals ` Address unacceptable levels of violence and abuse ` Provide resources to Aboriginal organizations to offer housing and other youth services ` Building strengths and capacities among these youth will assist them to develop the skills needed to overcome their obstacles and thrive. ` Protective factors protect against risky behaviour and promote healthy youth development. These  include strong adult- youth relationships, family and school connectedness, and community participation. ` The vast majority of youth seek help from adults –through their family, school and support agencies ` Youth have a clear and consistent idea of what would assist them to get off the streets ` Despite unstable living conditions and complicated lives connection to school is very important in youth’s lives. ` Workshop series took the results of Against the Odds: A profile of marginalized and street involved youth in BC back to youth who participated in the survey ` Respond to research and discuss ideas for action ` Make recommendations to government agencies and community organizations that make decisions that affect youth’s lives ` Encourages partnerships between youth and supportive adults in their communities ` Approximately 95 youth ages 14-22 ` At youth drop-in centres, resource centres, shelters, Aboriginal friendship centres and affordable housing units in 8 communities across BC ` Two components ◦  Discussion of research findings ◦  Creation of meaningful suggestions and ideas for action ` Trivia game ◦  Questions asked based on the findings of Not Yet Equal “How many gay male-identified youth always felt safe at school” x 70% x 40% x 10% ` Discussion ◦  Does this reflect your school or community? ◦  What can be done to address this? ` Decide on priority issues for community ` Make suggestions to tackle health challenges and to promote healthy youth development ` Create plans for action ` Made thoughtful suggestions and showed compassion and a desire to make change ` Reported that the workshop should be longer ` Stayed after the workshop was scheduled to end to continue discussing the results of the survey ` Asked about opportunities to get involved with local services or to remain involved with the Against the Odds project. Youth reconvened to: ` Discuss the findings from the workshops ` Agree on the key points and messages ` Decide how messages should be presented ` Share what had happened in their community since the workshops ` Assist youth before they leave home ` Ensure youth in care know their rights ` Increase sports opportunities ` Raise awareness about sexual exploitation ` Provide 24 hour drop in’s ` Make shelters youth friendly and safer ` Provide more programs for youth turning 19 McCreary Centre Society


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