Helping youth to develop critical thinking skills, build character and respect for themselves and others, learn non-violent conflict resolution skills and find a sense of community is the focus of the John Howard Society’s EUREKA program.
Focused on Grade 7 students, the two-day program teaches youth about respect and empathy, thanks in part to a community impact grant from the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta.
Providing 31 workshops to 586 youth in nine communities across the Peace Region in 2017-18, the John Howard Society EUREKA program is having an impact on students as well as teachers and parents.
For one student, the program “helped me to be a better person to myself and others,” while another says it made them more “aware of other people and the impact of little things you do can have on other people.”
“We all want to raise youth who become citizens who are about others and respect their community,” says Penny Mickanuck, executive director of the John Howard Society of Grande Prairie. “There is a tangible benefit to our communities to raise citizens who think before reacting and who have the skills to problem solve without violence.”
One young girl who took part in the EUREKA workshop shared a story about stepping out of her own comfort zone and talking to another participant who was alone in a corner. “I am a very shy person, I barely talk to people I know really well, so talking to someone new is a first for me. I just wanted to say I really liked EUREKA. Thank you for getting me out of my comfort zone!” she wrote.
“Year after year, I see students take and use the skills they acquire in EUREKA. It improves how they respect themselves and others and they learn to empathize with their classmates,” writes a teacher.
“I learned more about all the students and how they interact with my child,” notes a parent volunteer. “I learned new ways as a parent to respond and consider my child’s feelings.”
With an active presence in Alberta for almost 60 years, the John Howard Society is a community-based non-profit organization that is concerned with the causes and consequences of crime. With a recent focus on crime prevention through social development, working with the Community Foundation has been impactful for the society.
“The Community Foundation is a wonderful and fitting partner for the EUREKA Program,” Mickanuck says. “The focus of EUREKA aligns directly with the mission of the Community Foundation and we share your interest in connecting people and building community. This is as important to the program and our organization as the funding that we receive.”
In 2018, this funding was made possible by our generous donors of the Community Impact Fund as well as the Q-99 Brian Nash Memorial Fund.