Promoting the well-being of youth in Yorkton and encouraging and enabling their involvement in the community are among the focuses of a new project of the Society for the Involvement of Good Neighbours (SIGN).
Youth Resilience grew out of SIGN’s realization of the need to provide more proactive and preventive ways to increase mental well-being, decrease substance use and reduce negative behaviour among youth.
To do that, the project intends to work with youth ages 12 to 18 to build resilience and involve young people in activities and decision-making in Yorkton.
Part of SIGN Life Skills, the project will be led by newly-hired community youth worker Darran Teneycke.
“This is about engaging youth, building up their strengths. It is not about ‘fixing’ youth,” he points out. “The pandemic has had far-reaching effects, and we need to work together as a community to come out of this in a good way.”
“We need to involve our youth in that.”
Darran’s career has been spent working with young people, most recently as Superintendent of School Operations for the Prairie South School Division in Moose Jaw, and before that as Superintendent of Education for the Good Spirit School Division in Yorkton, principal of Columbia School, vice-principal and principal of Dr. Brass School, grade 8 teacher at Columbia School and phys ed teacher at Yorkdale School.
“I wasn’t ready to retire, and wanted to continue working with youth,” he says. “This opportunity caught my attention, and it’s really good to reconnect with a lot of folks I worked with previously.”
The Morris Foundation is generously providing funding for the first two years of the project. The foundation is managed by the family of George and Helen Morris. George Morris was the inventor of the Morris Rod-Weeder, and established his company, later called Morris Industries, in Yorkton in 1949.
Darran will work with youth in schools (elementary, high school and community college), existing youth centres and community agencies to build resilience, empowerment, and social and emotional skills through groups and one-on-one. He will also be the connection to assist young people to access the numerous programs and support systems in the community.
The project will focus on building the 40 Developmental Assets – positive qualities and experiences that help young people grow up healthy -- for and with youth in the city.
For more than 45 years, Search Institute (www.searchinstitute.org) has studied youth development and its connection to behavioural and community change. It emphasizes factors that can assist in healthy outcomes across gender, race/ethnicity and family income differences.
Half of the 40 Assets are external, focusing on the support young people get from the people in their lives. The other half are internal assets, which focus on young people's commitment to learning, their sense of self-worth, their positive values and the life skills they possess to make good choices.
The project’s first year has several major objectives:
Cultivate community readiness, energy and commitment by using a collaborative approach working with partners including health, education, social services, RCMP, the city of Yorkton, non-profits, tribal council, the business community, and youth. Although SIGN has taken on a lead role in the project, it understands the need for collaborating with community partners to ensure success. The plan includes conducting an attitudes and behaviours survey of all students in grades 6 to 12;
Positive youth development including working with youth in their schools, in community groups and in youth leadership workshops to help them develop leadership skills so they can also mentor other youth;
A start on risk reduction by sharing the results of the survey with the community partners, who will then be involved in community mapping to look at current youth initiatives, and explore new ones based on the survey results and consultation with youth;
Work with young people and community partners to ensure youth are able to access the services they need, when they need them. Early intervention will lead to fewer crises among youth people, and provide them with help to navigate the assistance available in the community.
Youth Life Skills is a strength-based program for youth ages 13 to 18 years of age.
It is a preventative and proactive program which focuses on quantifying and developing life skills and developmental assets of youth. The Life Skills program offers youth individual mentorship and opportunities to participate in various group activities.
The program hours are flexible to meet the needs of the youth and family.
A donation of $6,500 by TD Bank Group and the Yorkton and District Community Foundation will allow Youth Life Skills, a program of the Society for the Involvement of Good Neighbours (SIGN) to connect with rural youth and those without the necessary devices to participate in programs.
Society for the Involvement of Good Neighbours
83 North St. Yorkton SK S3N 0G9 | Tel 306-783-9409 | Fax 306-786-7116
SIGN provides services to those who live on Treaty 4 territory, the ancestral lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota and the Métis Nation. We affirm our relationship to the treaties that are integral to the foundation of Canada and commit to honouring their spirit and intent. We respect the diverse histories, languages, and cultures of the many people who have lived on this land, and we commit to moving forward in partnership with Indigenous peoples and nations in a spirit of respect, reconciliation and collaboration.
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