This fall, the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre (SKCAC) will commence its Youth Engagement & Education Program in eight school divisions in and around Calgary for the 5th year in a row, this year expanding programming is a result of funding from the Calgary Flames charitable arm, the Calgary Flames Foundation.
Funded in part by the Calgary Flames Foundation, the Youth Engagement Program educates high school students about healthy relationships, recognizing abuse, understanding the impacts of toxic stress and seeking help for self and others. Participants also develop leadership capacity by creating student-led action plans to lead safe conversations in their school-community to increase awareness about child abuse and promote strong, supportive relationships.
“High school completion is a significant predictor of long-term health, well-being, and overall success,” says Sara Austin, CEO of the SKCAC. “This program instills the importance of building positive relationships, contributing to your community, and bringing the discussion of child abuse to the forefront.”
“With the Calgary Flames Foundation’s support, the SKCAC can expand our impact by also supporting teachers who work with young children to empower their students to recognize abuse, seek help when needed and understand that child abuse is never their fault.”
The innovative and collaboratively developed components of SKCAC’s Education Program allow students and teachers to learn more about the impacts of child abuse and explore issues within a safe environment. In addition to working with high school youth, the SKCAC continues to build capacity with school staff to recognize, respond to and report suspected child abuse with its video, A School’s Role in Keeping our Kids Safe. Through the Education program, the SKCAC also advances the understanding of educators about the impact of toxic stress and implementing trauma-sensitive practices. SKCAC’s leading edge resources and strategies to support prevention and early intervention are shared with other school districts and child advocacy centres to impact the lives of vulnerable children and youth across our province and country.
The SKCAC provides hope, help, and healing to kids and families affected by child abuse through a multi-disciplinary, integrated response. The SKCAC and its partners-the Calgary Police Service, Calgary Region Children Services, Alberta Health Services, Alberta Justice Calgary Crown Prosecutors’ Office, RCMP, Alberta Education, University of Calgary, and Treaty 7, along with government and the Calgary and area community-collaboratively work towards a day when no child is abused.
To learn more about the SKCAC, visit sheldonkennedycac.ca.