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City offers youth peer-to-peer support

Students from Grade 6 to 9 are invited to attend Peer Prep Program, a four-part youth-led workshop series designed to assist students navigate a rapidly changing world

The City of St. Albert is giving youth a voice. In October 2022, it launched Youth in Action, a youth committee that met to address critical topics of interest to youth in Grades 6 to 9.  

The youth-led committee just unveiled its first initiative. The Peer Prep Program is a pilot project that will deliver four workshops of interest to junior high students. The four workshops deal with digital footprints, bullying, building self-confidence and healthy relationships. 

Youth in Action was prompted by the federal government’s 2021 State of Youth Report compiled by a youth advisory group. The report offered insights, ideas and solutions on relevant issues. Close to 1,000 young people contributed to the report through their experiences and opinions.  

They identified six key areas of interest to young people: leadership and impact; health and wellness; innovation and skills; employment; truth and reconciliation, and environment and climate action.  

Since the youth-led BAM (Building Assets and Memories) was retired in May 2022, the city opted to kick-start the refreshed Peer Prep Program under the Youth in Action umbrella. 

“This is different from BAM. We shifted from a large scale to a smaller scale with youth-identified programs,” said Shannon Piller, youth asset development coordinator. 

Starting in October 2022 , Piller invited youth from across the city to form a committee. Five youths representing a cross-section of society answered the call-to-action. They are Bryn MacDonald, Claire Love, Nathan Yue and siblings Maakor and Maade Okai. 

As part of taking on a leadership role, Piller explained they identified priorities within the youth community, researched information on each workshop and will facilitate them. 

Reel vs. Real taking place Tuesday, April 25 explores the pros and cons of social media and how users stay safe while engaging different platforms. Bullying Ain’t It on Tuesday, May 9 covers the impact of bullying, how to respond to it and why it happens. 

You vs. The Mirror on Tuesday, May 23 offers practical tips, exercises and strategies to boost self-esteem and develop a strong sense of self-worth. The last workshop on healthy relationships and boundaries is offered Tuesday, June 6. It is designed to foster healthy relationships by giving youth tools to promote mutual respect and understanding. 

All workshops are free and drop-in. They will be held in the multi-purpose room at Servus Credit Union Place, 400 Campbell Road. Updates are available on the City of St. Albert social media pages.  

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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