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WHAT IS WHITE STONE

The Project has two primary components: teaching young aboriginal adults and community caregivers about suicide prevention, and secondly, training participants to present suicide prevention education sessions to youth in their home community. White Stone is grounded in information collected from Aboriginal youth focus groups, current literature, participant feedback, and a review of programs in Canada, the United States and Australia. Furthermore, White Stone prides itself in being as 'community sensitive' as possible to each community it delivers the training to - each community has unique issues and needs. The hope and vision of the program is captured in the name White Stone - an Ojibwa concept meaning 'one who teaches others to grow old', named appropriately from a youth in one of the initial trainings.

As mentioned, the purpose of the Training for Youth Educators component is to train participants to deliver education sessions to youth in their community. The Youth Education Sessions have been developed for youth over the age of 16 who are not known to be actively at risk of suicide. The Sessions are designed to be flexible and responsive to local needs. The sessions have a life-skills development focus and, it is expected that they will be offered as part of a larger community suicide prevention strategy. Curriculum will include suicide prevention and may incorporate self-esteem, problem solving, goal setting, and coping and basic communication skills.

Participants in the White Stone Project Training for Youth Educators are Aboriginal and Inuit youth 18-25 years of age who have been identified as leaders by their community and community-based service providers (youth worker, teacher, nurse, police etc.). When they return to their community they will work in partnership to offer Youth Education Sessions. The 5-day Training for Youth Educators includes 16 hours of youth suicide prevention curriculum. The content includes: exploration of beliefs around suicide, dynamics of suicidal behaviors, discussions around the role of culture of origin, risk and protective factors, intervention skills as well as practice through simulations. The remainder of the curriculum (19 hours) focuses on enhancing knowledge and experience in: group dynamics; planning and preparation of a Youth Education Session, presentation and leadership skills, working with vulnerable youth, self-care and community implementation.

Learning takes place in a skill affirming environment: simulations, individual and group presentations, pen and paper activities, group discussions, personal reflection, talking circle, stress busters, random acts of leadership are all part of the learning process. In an open and flexible environment participants are encouraged to take charge of their learning through individual and group learning contracts, as well as by providing daily feedback. Responsive to the needs of participants, the training format can be modified to reflect participant vulnerability, strengths, as well as their skills and abilities.