New research focuses on positive youth development in Aboriginal communities
Faculty and students from Queen’s University are working with Aboriginal communities and Motivate Canada to gain understanding into how youth development programs influence youth and community-level health, development and capacity.
Queen’s researcher Lucie Levesque (School of Kinesiology and Health Studies), a member of the Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project, is the nominated principal investigator on a three year evaluation of Active Circle, an initiative that supports and mentors youth leaders in Aboriginal communities.
“The promotion and enhancement of health and wellness in Aboriginal communities needs to leverage the energy and potential of young people to carry on traditional practices, create new ones, and guide their communities to a healthy future," says Dr. Levesque.
The project is receiving $1 million over three years in new funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health (IAPH) and Health Canada, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB).
Other project members include co-leader Lynn Lavallée (Ryerson University), who specializes in Indigenous health and well-being and Nipissing University researchers Brenda Bruner and Mark Bruner.
Active Circle, an innovative initiative by Motivate Canada in partnership with the Aboriginal Sport Circle, was developed in response to sports and recreational programming challenges Aboriginal youth and communities face. Active Circle offers a streamlined process for Aboriginal communities to access resources for sport, recreation, and physical activity.
Through a start-up grant from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, and with additional funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and Health Canada, the Active Circle has engaged approximately 5,000 youth (ages 8-18 years) and expects to engage an additional 6,000 youth from urban, remote and reserve communities.