Comox Valley Girls Creating Change

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Comox Valley Girls Creating Change

CanadaCourtenay, Canada
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Our solution will mobilize girls and young women to create social change in our community. We will utilize existing strengths and assets such as the arts.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The Comox Valley on Vancouver Island is beautiful and has many strengths but challenges also. The resource-based economy is suffering. We are experiencing increased social problems such as poverty, homelessness, and substance misuse. There is a high incidence of relationship violence. Our community has also experienced tragedy with youth suicides. Our child and youth services such as Mental Health and other social services have long wait lists. We have seen an increase in sexual exploitation and substance use among youth. Youth service providers are receiving many requests from parents and caregivers to help our girls in particular to develop skills to deal with these challenges and to increase protective factors to offset the potential risks to their health and well-being.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our solution is to provide more opportunities for youth, especially girls to develop skills and knowledge to deal effectively with these challenges. We want to utilize the strengths and assets of our community to create a sense of hope and empowerment. Our idea has three main components: providing weekly support/psycho-educational groups, delivering leadership and facilitation skills training to older girls to mentor younger girls, and implementation of a social activism project. Our project will reduce barriers and isolation for the participants and addresses accessibility and cost concerns. Our solution also addresses youth mental health concerns, and creates community awareness and social change through activism. Through implementation of this project we anticipate positive outcomes for the entire community, not just for the direct participants.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We will utilize theatre, spoken word, art, writing, dance, and other forms of expression to explore issues within a female context. Topics covered will include prevention of violence in relationships, body image and prevention of disordered eating, sexual health, relational aggression, substance misuse prevention, and media literacy. The peer leaders will take an active role in developing the project and mentoring younger girls and boys. We will engage positive adult mentors in the community to work with the girls on the final project of their choice. This may be creation of a video, theatre production, book, art show, etc. A public event will showcase the project and may involve guest speakers and workshops. We hope to magnify the impact of this project by sharing this project with girls in other communities. The participants may elect to use their project to generate funds to improve opportunities for girls in other areas. Or they may choose to do classroom presentations (to boys and girls) using their acquired skills and knowledge.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Other social service organizations are providing recreational opportunities and leadership training. Comox Valley Boys and Girls Club and the Courtenay Recreation Association are two examples. Our project is distinct in that it is primarily gender-specific and helps participants to develop critical thinking and social activism skills. Our programs complement each other well, with our respective specialties. The project is interactive, not activity based as the other programs tend to be. The participants work together for an extended period and create a sense of community and support. The project is also anchored in solid Best Practices in youth engagement, community development and capacity building. Project facilitators and trainers are highly skilled and professionals in the field.