Do you have a child or know a child who would benefit from communicating with someone about issues that are concerning them?
Does your child suffer from dealing with concerns in their daily life that makes it difficult for them to cope, and they need an outlet to help figure out how to navigate difficult situations?
Peace River Regional Women’s Shelter has introduced The Empowering Kids and Youth program for children who need a little extra help communicating or getting through situations. The program is facilitated in person as a one-on-one setting in a safe environment.
PRRWS outreach member Shannon Chouinard says the program can be offered in the home, school, or somewhere in the community, depending on the needs and wishes of the client.
“The program is for children three to 17 years of age who have been impacted by trauma, change, family violence, or unhealthy relationships,” says Chouinard.
“The program offers mentorship and support help to assist clients in gaining knowledge, self esteem, boundaries, and support to help children and teens feel grounded, safe, and more secure. This program is not a group, it a one-on-one support program for children and teens,” she adds.
Chouinard says the child or youth can discuss whatever they want to discuss with their child and youth mentor.
“It is important because we know that children and teens struggle with things just as adults do regarding unhealthy relationships and abuse,” says Chouinard. “From research, we know abusive environments have a negative impact on a child’s brain development and affects them. The Empowering Kids and Youth Program provides an opportunity for children and youth to receive support regarding these difficult topics and more.”
Chouinard says people in the program will have access to individual goal planning, supportive listening, mentorship, referrals to agencies and community resources, case consultations with other agencies, and safety planning.
“Other topics include discussing healthy relationships, safe and supportive relationships, domestic and dating violence, safety strategies, self-esteem, self-care and self-love,” she explains.
“Anyone that would like assistance with any of the above should participate in the program. With empowerment comes the freedom and ability to impact and implement change for a safer and healthier future.”
The program was started as a result of support missing for children and teens regarding abusive relationships, family violence, and unhealthy boundaries in the area.
“We created this program to provide individualized support to children and youth who live in Peace River and within a 100-km area,” Chouinard says.
“We provide services within 100 km of Peace River but stop at Berwyn as Fairview Crossroads Shelter takes jurisdiction from there,” she adds.
Chouinard says the program runs year-round and a person can sign up at any time. A parent or guardian of the youth must consent to the youth being enrolled in the program.
If a youth can benefit from this program, please visit www.prrws.com and fill out the Google form on the site. They also have a detailed list of all their programming and upcoming events.
Alternatively, child and youth mentor Shannon Chouinard can be reached by phone at (780) 625-6873 or by email email@example.com or Christina Sasseville at (780) 625-6522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chouinard says either are available to talk via text, call or email to discuss the program further to see if it fits their needs.
By Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Sep 27, 2023