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Kids Help Phone invites Aboriginal youth to help improve counselling service

Partneringwith the Native Canadian Centre, Kids Help Phone invited a group of Aboriginal youthto create a new outreach campaign designed specifically to speak to Aboriginalcommunities of Canada. The posters can be seen at www.kidshelpphone.ca/aboriginal where Aboriginalyouth from across Canada will help decide on the two new posters that will be printed and availableto Aboriginal communities throughout Ontario and Canada. Voting starts onTuesday, June 21 to mark National Aboriginal Day.

 

Thisposter initiative is one step Kids Help Phone is taking to address feedbackheard when a team of counsellors visited five Ontario Aboriginal communities.They traveled to Moose Factory, Serpent River, Toronto, Thunder Bay, and Kettleand Stony Point hoping to learn how tobetter engage the youth living there and to gain a deeper understanding of therealities they are facing. They often heard from young people in thosecommunities that Kids Help Phone’s youth outreach materials did not speak tothe experiences of Aboriginal youth.

 

With the assistance of a grant from the OntarioMinistry of Health Promotion and Sport, knowledge gained during these visitswill also help expand Kids Help Phone’s counselling approach with Aboriginalyouth.

 

“Aboriginal youth are youth – their context isdifferent, but youth share similarities across all cultures,” says ToddSolomon, Clinical Director, English Language Services at Kids Help Phone.“There are similar experiences and feelings that many kids go through, nomatter what part of Canada they’re living in, but how Kids Help Phone’scounsellors respond to those calls depends on the context of the kid who’scalling.”

What Kids Help Phone wanted to learn was howto better serve this fast-growing young population: almost half, or 46 per cent,of the Aboriginal population in Canada is under the age of 24, compared to 31per of the country’s non-Aboriginal population. And while all young people experiencefeelings of frustration, sadness, worry, and uncertainty as they grow up, formany Aboriginal youth, these feelings are compounded by isolation,displacement, or unequal access to education.

“We wanted to give a voice to the kids to help shape abetter service for them,” Solomon says. “The experts on issues are the kids,which is why we went directly to them.”

 

What Solomon and his team often found on these visitswas that the need for a confidential youth counselling service isparamount. 

 

“I came to Toronto 11 yearsago,” says Springwater Hester-Meawassige, Youth Services Manager at the NativeCanadian Centre of Toronto and Healthy Communities Project Assistant at KidsHelp Phone. “Going back home to Moose Factory was an eye opener. The reservesare small and everybody knows your business. Even though the communities areisolated, they aren’t anonymous. It’s not uncommon that the local youthcounsellor is a friend’s family member, or your own family member. Beingreminded of that underscored the value of Kids Help Phone as an anonymousresource.”

Solomon echoes that. “M
anyyouth informed us that in the remote communities, we may be the only servicethat’s realistically available for them. Understanding that context means we have no choice but to adapt the waywe support them.”


To set up an interview with Todd Solomon or Springwater Hester-Meawassige,please contact:

Elizabeth-Alice Worth
Communications Coordinator, Kids Help Phone

416-581-8955
liz.worth@kidshelpphone.ca

 

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AboutKids Help Phone:

 

KidsHelp Phone is Canada’s only phone and on-line counselling service for youth.It’s free, anonymous and confidential. Professional counsellors are availableany time of the day or night, 365 days a year, to help young people deal withconcerns large or small. As a national community-based charity, Kids Help Phonerelies on individual and corporate donations to fund these vital services.

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Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was someone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead. Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was someone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead. Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was someone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead. Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was someone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead. Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was soeone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead. Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was someone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead. Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was someone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead. Brenda called Kid's Help Phone to vent about her parents. She said they were being unreasonable by not allowing her to meet a boy. The 15-year-old was considering sneaking out anyway. A few questions revealed that the boy was someone she'd "met" on the Internet – and that he'd first said he was 15, but was actually 29. The KHP counselor talked about Brenda's natural curiosity, but also about possible dangers. It didn't take long for Brenda to admit to having "funny feelings" about it. By the end of the call, she'd decided to try to find someone her own age, met the "old-fashioned" way. Mike told us he was traveling fast on the road to nowhere. He wanted to get off drugs and off the streets. The KHP counselor calmed Mike, assessed his needs, and found him a safe shelter. Years later, Mike called again. Now 20, he was back in school, with a steady job and a new life. He was calling to say thanks – not just for what KHP had done, but most of all for listening to him and believing in him. Mike says KHP helped him turn his life around. Today, he spends his spare time helping street youth. Ten-year-old Megan was being sexually and physically abused. Two nights earlier, she'd been placed in a foster home, but didn't feel comfortable talking to her foster parents yet. With gentle prompting, Megan began to tell her story. Her feelings were agonizingly mixed. Despite everything, she missed her mom's bedtime stories and the familiarity of home. It meant a lot to be able to talk about her feelings with someone she could trust. Together, Megan and KHP looked at what Megan could do to make things easier, like getting bedtime stories on tape. She was grateful to be reminded that her foster home would become more familiar each day, and that KHP would be there whenever she needed it in the days ahead.