It has been a little while since our last check in, so we have many updates from our busy week in Fort Providence. First and foremost, we are happy to announce that our bison count has gone up to 5 ½ (one was a baby)!
Since our last update, we finished up our meetings with the various community services. We met with the Social Service workers, the Community Wellness worker (who is also the Mayor), the Healthy Family Progammer, and several RCMP officers. We deepened our knowledge regarding health and social issues in the community and learned about the realities of the legal system. We enjoyed hearing everyone’s personal experiences in Fort Providence, specifically Kirk’s (an RCMP officer) ghost stories, which resulted in two very spooked out girls (guess who) and having him drive us home. Overall, we found many opportunities for QHO to compliment existing programs and fill the gaps by introducing new programs.
One of our highlights included our meeting with Amanda, an RCMP officer. We chatted about her work in the school and the DARE (Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education) program she is currently implementing with the elementary students. While sitting in on one of her weekly lessons, we ended up participating in some of the activities with the students – we had so much fun that we’re planning to attend her next few classes! We were so impressed by the program and Amanda’s ability to create a controlled and fun classroom environment with the students. We are excited about opportunities for collaboration with this program in the future!
This past week, our main focus was to work with the students at Deh Gah Elementary and Secondary School to gage their interests and knowledge on relevant health topics. By collaborating the information we received during the interview stages with QHO’s resource manual, we created two surveys: the first listing all relevant health topics, and the second listing various teaching strategies. In each of the classrooms, we gave short presentations where we introduced QHO and ourselves as QHO representatives (versus our hide and seek reputation on the playground). We handed out the surveys, where students highlighted the health topics they were most interested in and how they want to learn in the classroom. The students were eager to give their input, which is great because we are finding student voices very useful during our current stages of programming.
In the next couple weeks we will be focusing on program development, seeking funding opportunities, and organizing some after school activities. We are currently in the works of utilizing all of the information that we have collected from stakeholder interviews and the quantified data from the student surveys (displayed in charts… and visually appealing Wordles – see photo above for the Senior High data) to develop specific needs-based program unique to each age group. We are looking forward to further collaboration with our contacts and making necessary edits in order to ensure that the program is as relevant and effective as possible.
In our free time, we have had the opportunity to attend community events and teachings, spend social time with the teachers, and continue to make new friends. Some of our activities have included attending the Yellowknife Traveling Film Festival at the school, an hour-long walk to Big River with some teachers for Sunday breakfast, and a 1.5 hour drive to Hay River where we sought out available services and resources, while taking full advantage of the scenic waterfalls located en route (big thank you to our unofficial tour guide and chauffeur, Nick, the Community Recreation Director)! Our latest snack update includes Quaker cookie mix (in its natural form… no oven or baking needed).
Until next time,
Lauren and Allie
Bison count: 5 ½