SFNNC Good News – SECFS Cultural and Prevention Unit
Monday, May, 11th, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges to all of society and this includes youth in care. SECFS’ Cultural and Prevention Unit has been utilizing many different means in order to continue to support the youth in care of our agency. These include the following;
- Cultural Care Packages: The team put together and delivered different packages to the youth. These include facemasks with an Anishinaabe flair (see picture), DIY leather medicine pouch kits, medicine bundles for smudging, beading kits, jigsaw puzzles and board games.
- Social Media Initiatives: Prior to social isolation, the team had already been utilizing Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and Snapchat to stay in contact and support the youth. On our Facebook group, which is only for SECFS youth and screened by staff, we share social isolation tips, harm reduction tips, recipes and resources. We also have a virtual fireside chat with songs and teachings shared (picture). We also have contests to help cure boredom and have youth share how they are remaining safe in these trying times (picture). We also continue to conduct interventions through social media monitoring, following up with youth on invitations and safety concerns.
- Video Gaming: Those of us raised by the veteran and baby-boomer generation may have led to believe that video-games were a waste of time and money. We have been finding that a videogame system linked to the internet has been invaluable to many youth during social isolation. While some adults picture a sad youth lonely in their room playing a game by themselves, the truth is that they are using it as a means of entertainment and connection to their peers. Most youth belong to an online videogame social support system of dozens and even hundreds of friends. Often when team members haven’t heard from a youth in some time, we can usually find them online and learn that they have just been dedicating a lot of time to a new game. With headsets, we talk to each other and have even utilized this means to conduct interventions when required. One of our young women is even disproving the notion that gaming is a “boys only” world and has a YouTube Channel with over 1700 subscribers.
- Online counselling with Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers and Counsellors: Children, youth, families and agency staff who feel they needed additional support during social isolation had the opportunity to talk via Facetime, Zoom, Teams or telephone to a support suited to their particular needs including but not limited to; addiction, family violence, stress, suicidal thoughts, bullying and gender/sexuality.
If any SFNNC agencies would like advice on any of our initiatives, feel free to contact me at Cecil.Sveinson@secfs.ca