A youth peer education program of personal discovery and self-empowerment
Expecting Respect is a peer education program that is offered to First Nations Youth ages 12 – 18 years of age. The program’s purpose is to equip youth with the skills and the factual information necessary to make healthy decisions and build respectful relation- ships. The program is based on the principle that peer education is an effective method to deliver messages that encourage healthy decision making for youth.
The Annual Youth Gathering offers Expecting Respect workshops to participants based on the current issues youth face: Alcohol, Drugs and Gambling, Healthy Dating Relationships, Sexual Health, Sexual Harassment, Bullying/Gang Violence, Elders Teachings, etc., taking an experiential approach to learning, where the participating youth focus on issues that they commonly experiences in their lives and communities, while exploring their own values and attitudes. The program empowers participants to be part of the solution in making healthier individuals, families and communities. First Nations Members from across Alberta are trained in specific areas, which then facilitate at the youth gathering. The facilitators then return home to engage local youth and mentor them into a facilitative role. Youth with the support of their mentor are then requested to engage their schools, youth councils or youth at large to offer the workshops.
The lessons in the Expecting Respect program include health and lifestyle information designed for youth to obtain accurate information and helpful approaches to share with their peers in active, hands-on ways.
The program offers youth a unique opportunity to learn factual information on numerous issues to better guide their fellow youth to make positive choices about their lives. Youth are also encouraged to support other youth in accessing resources such as the crisis line.
The facilitators complete extensive training before delivering the lessons to the youth, to ensure they themselves are self-aware and make positive connections with the information they are sharing.