Vital Communities Grant to Support EAL Program for Indigenous Youth

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We’re thrilled to share that Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre (KSAC) is receiving a $5,000 2019 Vital Communities Grant as announced by the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough (CFGP) at an event hosted at The Mount Community Centre on November 15, 2018. The funds will support a new initiative between Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, The Mane Intent Inc. and the First Peoples House of Learning at Trent University to develop an equine-assisted and expressive arts program called Building Indigenous Resilience Through Horses.

“The Building Indigenous Resilience Through Horses program will be an intentional act of reconciliation, bringing youth to a land-based activity that uses horses, as well as art making, to connect to emotions, skills and relations,” says Lisa Clarke, Acting Executive Director, Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, adding: “Growing the Centre’s work with youth who have experienced trauma and Indigenous survivors, this program is innovative in its basis of resilience research and expansion into a new population of participants who would not access this opportunity in other ways. Through feedback from participants, partner organizations will be able to use the data gathered for concept sustainability.”

Two eight-week sessions will be offered specifically to Indigenous youth in community, on reserve and in group homes to access this learning which addresses issues of boundaries, emotional regulation, skills building and a sense of connection working in partnership with horses. The offering will be supported by an Elder and knowledge holders, as well as a Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre social worker and equine-program facilitators at The Mane Intent.

“When we build a resilient community, it is by nature safer and inclusive. Indigenous community members are at 5 times risk of sexual violence and represent 50% of people currently incarcerated in the Canadian criminal justice system, yet represent only 4% of the population,” notes Clarke, adding: “With two First Nations in Peterborough County and many urban Indigenous citizens living in the City of Peterborough, this investment in innovative youth programming will support young people in engaging in healthier relations and stronger self-advocacy.”

Original art featuring Mystic Mel produced by participant, Building Internal Resilience Through Horses

This initiative will build upon the success of Building Internal Resilience Through Horses, a three-year research project and partnership between KSAC, The Mane Intent and Trent University funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada. Research results will be shared at a national conference themed Inviting Resilience to be hosted by Trent University; Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre and The Mane Intent on May 21 & 22, 2019 at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. The Inviting Resilience conference will combine academic and experiential learning to provide meaningful opportunities in building community capacity for the newest evidence-based practices; community-driven, multi-sectoral initiatives; and trauma-informed programming focused on building resilience in youth and adults impacted by childhood trauma and sexual violence over the lifespan.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering again with Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre and the First Peoples House of Learning to support innovative youth programming,” says Jennifer Garland, Owner/Program Director, The Mane Intent. Earlier this year, The Mane Intent hosted a two-day Leadership Development workshop for Indigenous students enrolled in programs offered by First Peoples House of Learning at Trent. “Participant feedback reflected the intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical benefits of working with horses as part of a facilitated learning experience that promotes healing and supports greater wellness,” adds Garland.

The Vital Community Fund, launched in February, 2017 by Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough, is a community resource to support the people, ideas, and activities that build community vitality in the Peterborough area. Among the 10 things to do to build Vital Community, according to the Foundation, is doing the work of reconciliation, building a safe and inclusive community, and improving access to health and wellness. The Mane Intent hosted a Vital Conversation in 2017 as part of CFGP’s Vital Signs initiative. Vital Conversations brought together more than 700 people in the Peterborough area to talk about tough decisions we’re facing and hopes we have for the future of Peterborough.

 About the Author: Jennifer Garland is the Owner/Program Director of The Mane Intent, offering Health and Wellness Workshops and Individual and Team Effectiveness Coaching. Jennifer’s intent is to bring horses and humans together to explore new possibilities, getting you out of your comfort zone and giving clarity of voice to your leader within. She has over 25 years of leadership experience in communications, cause-related marketing and change management. As a strategist, facilitator and effectiveness coach, Jennifer has provided counsel and support to senior leaders from all walks of life to build productive relationships, facilitate learning and to embrace change. She is a ‘socialpreneur’ who values the art of living life fully with intent.

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