Strategies for Healthy Youth Relationships

In April 2012, Shift entered into a partnership with the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health Centre for Prevention Science, the Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Human Services, United Way of Calgary and Area and the City of Calgary’s Family & Community Support Services to create a robust, multi-pronged strategy aimed at cultivating healthy relationship skills in young people throughout Alberta. This strategy includes school-based programming, community-based programming, strategic coordination, and capacity development for both service providers and teachers.  This approach is testing the alignment and synergies of systems, policy makers, practitioners and academics to create change at scale. Highlights of this initiative include:

  1. School-level interventions with a focus on implementing the Fourth R (Relationship) – an evidence-based comprehensive school-based program designed to include students, teachers, parents and the community in reducing violence and risk behaviours. In 2012/2013, 96 teachers and 50 schools across Alberta used the Fourth R and approximately 3,663 grade 7 students participated in Fourth R learning activities.
  2. We have partnered with PREVNet and the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health Centre for Prevention Science to build the capacity of youth-serving organizations to deliver evidence-based, community-level interventions using a ‘train the trainer’ model. Over the next three years, we plan to build a cohort of ten ‘master trainers’ throughout Alberta, with the objective to enhance the knowledge, confidence and skills of leaders, volunteers and professionals who work with children and youth in their region. These master trainers will be using evidence-based curriculum, resources and programs, and will play a key role in translating research and evidence to practice at the local level.
  3. Teaching children and youth in school how to develop and sustain healthy relationships is critical to violence prevention – and teachers are key players in this process. We are partnering with members of the Faculty of Education (Dr. Darren Lund and Dr. Tonya Callaghan) at the University of Calgary in the development and implementation of a “Safe Communities, Safe Schools” course. For more information please see Werklund School of Education website.
  4. In partnership with the City of Calgary’s Family & Community Support Services, United Way of Calgary and Area, Calgary Board of Education, Calgary Catholic School District and 14 agencies that deliver 24 programs in Calgary, we are developing a strategic coordinated approach to violence prevention programming for children and youth, and conducting research to explore appropriate and effective models of violence prevention for diverse children and youth.

For further information, please see the following report.