Bridging The Distance

April 13, 2011

Jennifer Quam is the Mentor Supervisor for the Pass It On Project in Valemount/ McBride, British Columbia. McBride has a population of 710 while 90 kilometers away is Valemount, with a population of 1100. The school population for both communities hovers around 100 students for grades 7-12.  Hard economic times have taken its toll on both McBride and Valemount. The major industry for both communities had been logging and pulp mills. The mills are now shut in both communities which has resulted in many families having one parent commute to work in Alberta while the rest of the family remains in their home community.  Tourism in Valemount and McBride is promoting snowmobiling in the winter as a way to stimulate the economy.

When determining how to entice young high school females to be mentors to younger girls, Jen really emphasized the vulnerabilities of younger students.

“I asked them to remember what it was like to enter high school; how scary and lonely it is sometimes.”

This resulted in the biggest draw being the idea of becoming a friend to a younger student.

It’s not surprising that the biggest challenge is the distance between the two communities. As cited from other communities, positive partnerships with and support from the host schools is key to the success of such a project. This has not been consistently evident in this situation, which contributed initially to lower numbers. Additionally, as is the case with any new program, trying to get the girls excited about something they don’t know anything about can also stall the enthusiasm and stunt the numbers.

And yet, the young female students never fail to inspire. One of the mentors watched her buddy engage in some illegal substances, while both were at a mutual friend’s house. This presented an ethical dilemma for this young mentor. Reflecting back on Jen’s suggestion to consider what it is like being a young middle school student, the mentor saw herself at the same age and wanted to help her buddy. In order to make a difference she is now committed to bridge the distance between them, by aligning their moral compass.

With stories like this, we know that Pass It On is making a difference in the lives of young girls and women in these two small communities. Thanks for planting the seeds of hope, Jen.

Chris Gay – Pass It On Coordinator

Stereotypes Create Lives Lived in Boxes — by Christina Antonick

Today in the Respectful Relationships Program, we worked with Grade 8 youth to explore stereotypes and how they relate to violence. My co-facilitator Kevin and I do a role play and act out our two scenarios of two youth in conversation. The first scene is a young man...

Lets talk about Respect, Relationships and Sex

Lets talk about Respect, Relationships and Sex

  Dialogue Circles February 14 or 16, 7-9pm (Registration required) A collaborative evening of dialogue for parents and youth of the Gulf Islands These evening talking circles are an opportunity for open, honest and safe dialogue between youth and parents about...

The Man Box – by Christina Antonick

The Man Box – by Christina Antonick

These days there are a wealth of online resources that compliment and inform the work we do here in the Gulf Islands with the Respectful Relationships (R+R )Program. At each grade level we have the opportunity to work with youth as separate gender groups to discuss...

Aboriginal R+R

Aboriginal R+R

In October I had the great privilege of with working with Musqueam Nation to train almost 30 men and women to deliver the R+R Program to youth within their community. The first weekend was spent  assisting new facilitators gain a more comprehensive understanding of...

Respectful Relationships is Back in the Classroom

At the end of this month, Respectful Relationships will return to SD #64 for its 12th consecutive year of delivery!  We are excited for another year of classroom delivery as well as training both new and returning youth facilitators who will then join us in the...

Respecting September

September is a time for fresh starts. No one enters school thinking they are going to start a fight, be a victim of a violent attack, or feel ostracized because of their gender orientation. Anticipation runs high. Sometimes too high. Youth have high expectations...

Ground Spark

Working in the classroom with Respectful Relationships (R+R) youth, we often find that media tools including YouTube videos, documentaries, and magazine articles assist us in our dialogues with youth. We encourage youth in their critical thinking about Media and its...

Super Hero Reflects Diversity

Examining the relationship between stereotyping, the media, and violence is a major focus of SWOVA's Respectful Relationships program (R+R). Our workshops examine how media stereotyping can legitimize and normalize inequality and treat generalizations about groups of...

Please let us know what's on your mind. Have a question for us? Ask away.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.