By Donalda Beeson
I know what you’re thinking, “but my child isn’t at risk.” At the Robson Valley Support Society (RVSS) we believe that all children are at risk due to their vulnerability to the influences of their peers, the media, and society in general. We live in a world where gender identification comes with pressures and instructions as to how to act and think – to be a “man” and to be a “woman” comes with some messed up messages.
As a community, we can help mitigate this risk by creating school and community environments where we model relationships based on equality, respect and mutual support. As well, we can help children and youth develop the capacity for tolerance and consideration for all members of the world community. At RVSS, we support this vision through individual and group programs where we assist children and youth to develop self-worth and respect; set personal boundaries; self-regulate emotions; learn assertive communication skills; deal with peer pressure; recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships; understand the relationship between power and violence; and balance their rights and responsibilities.
This becomes a developmental concern as peer, partner, and sexual violence affect a large proportion of the population, and while no gender is immune from violence, the majority of those directly suffering such violence are women and children, and the majority of those committing it are men. When it comes to exposure to violence, however, boys and girls are affected equally. The harm it can cause can ripple through a child’s lifetime and even span generations. Therefore, it is especially important to help children who have been exposed to violence learn how to relate in non-violent ways
in their own lives.
At RVSS, we are collaborating to provide school based and community education and advocacy with an overall goal of reducing unhealthy states such as the prevalence and severity of violence in our communities. Prevention of unhealthy and violent behaviors, protects the physical, mental and economic well-being and development of individuals, families, communities and whole societies.
Violence Prevention in the Classroom
This progra m is a school based violence prevention program addressing social justice issues such as bullying, sexism, racism and homophobia, with a focus on the development of healthy, non-violent
relationships among adolescents with first themselves and secondly their peers. Funded by Columbia Basin Trust, United Way and the Ministry of Justice.
Children Affected by Violence Counselling Program
Offers individual or group counselling support, education and advocacy, to children between the ages of 3 and 18 who have witnessed, experienced or are at risk of experiencing violence. It also provides support to the non-offending caregiver, regarding the impact that witnessing violence can have on children. Funded by the Ministry of Justice.
Children and Youth Mental Health Support Program
Provides professional individual or group support to children between the ages of 0 and 18 and their families. The goal of the program is to strengthen protective factors and reducing risk factors
effecting child and youth mental health. The CYMH Support Worker addresses mental health issues ranging from anxiety and emotional regulation to learning disabilities and the effects of parenting problems, and poverty. Funded by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Depending on funding, RVSS delivers youth targeted programs aimed to support youth to develop healthy ideas and beliefs concerning themselves, peer interaction, relationships and their future. In 2014-2015 we delivered a very successful Girls Group funded byWomen’s Foundation.
PHOTOS: RYAN MCVAY / JUPITERIMAGES / THINKSTOCK
Stopping the Violence (STV) Counselling,
Children & Youth Exposed to Violence (CWWA) Counselling,
Respectful Relationships (R&R) Program Facilitator
Child and Youth Mental Health Support Worker
Female Youth Program Coordinator