Prevention, Intervention and Reconnection – a program for Pinehouse Lake Youth

With a co-ordinator hired in July, the new Pinehouse Wellness Centre Restorative program for community youth is underway.

The program initially involved an annual week-long Lance Memorial Culture Camp brought 38 youth from the community together to focus on concerns in the community.

Belinda Sanderson came on board in July to head up the program, Hannah Natamogan, Pinehouse Wellness Centre Director, said in an interview with the Northern Advocate.

The three key components to the program are: Prevention, Intervention and Reconnection.

Prevention involves education and awareness activities and is geared to promote healthy relationships and leadership.

Intervention involves offering support and advocating for youth “to help repair harm caused by conflict, bullying, harassment, violence and crime in schools,” Natamogan said.

Reconnection involves support and facilitation for youth in achieving reconnection with their schools, families and community.

“Those are the three program objectives we have. Our activities are to offer basic conflict management training.”

The program is to work with 20 students annual. It is expected Sanderson will work in the schools for half the day and her office for the other half, Natamogan said.

According to a Saskatchewan government news release, the program. Which was developed in 2018, is funded for three years at a cost of $277,000 over the three years.

Students will be screened by Sanderson as they come into the program in the fall.

Another hope of the program is to improve relations between the youth, schools and parents,  as truancy is a large problem in the schools, and to bring them together is part of the reconnection element of the program.

Part of the preparations was a youth conference held last December to give youth in the community an opportunity to share their views about what they face in the community.

The process and resulting key points of concern were shared by the youth, summarized and put into a document by the students.

“I found it a really good experience cause a lot of times we don’t know what the kids are facing in our community. Some of them were kind of a stress shock to us because we didn’t realize this was happening in the community,” Natamogan said.

All these pieces will come together in the program. It took some time to hire the co-ordinator, but, Natamogan said, she was pleased with the result. They have someone with training, a recent graduate from a mental health and wellness program in La Ronge.

According to the program overview, it is designed to bright all youth into a place where they can live in safer school communities. The program “is about shared responsibility, and shared ownership for providing solutions to help today’s youth. It involves youth ages four to 18, according to the news release.

Program activities involve basic conflict management training, a girls group, the Canadian Red Cross RespectEd training, lunch hour events and groups, elementary school outreach, digital citizenship, presentations to school staff and parents and the development of community partnerships.

The Digital Citizenship involves the program coordinator conducting presentations on internet safety and “the appropriate use of technology.”

Presentations will be made to school staff and parents “ to promote awareness of the program” and involve presentations to  educate youth about physical, relational, emotional and cyber bullying.”

Developing partners in the community and beyond involve reaching out to addiction services, social workers, the RCMP and health practitioners.

“The Restorative Program provides youth with connection to community resources. This enables them to ensure that youth receive services in the school as well as in the community.”

Part of the co-ordinator’s job is to continue developing partnerships with agencies withing the community. And “to engage with youth, one-on-one to establish a relationship.”

Also involved is an annual youth conference in January which will involve a wide variety of age and grade-appropriate topics around drugs/alcohol/vaping; depression and anxiety, bullying, sexual assault, abuse and more.

While these topics are involved, there is also a activities related to such elements as – music/dance, outdoor activities, future career, afterschool clubs, mental health support, advice resources, stress relievers, youth addictions centre and therapy involved.