Sharing information about preventing family violence through a wellness planner/calendar in Maniwaki, Quebec
In Kitigan Zibi First Nation community, the spotlight is on family violence prevention thanks to a Family Wellness Planner/Calendar project that brings information about family violence prevention to the community. The calendar was given to each child attending local schools in the Kitigan Zibi area during the 2014–2015 school year. It was funded through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's (AANDC) Family Violence Prevention Program.
The calendar which covers September 2014 to August 2015 also features recipes from community members and phone numbers for the help line, community, medical transportation, the women's crisis shelter and youth protection, as well as addresses for informative websites.
This calendar reinforces healthy family relationships by showing a child's reactions to domestic violence from an infant stage to their teenage years. The main objective of the project was to increase awareness about family violence, and to have useful information at hand for family members. According to the Enhanced Prevention Services Program's Family Wellness worker, the calendar project is a non-threatening way to present information that community members may not be aware of. Since its' launch, the calendar has received a positive response from the community. Some families have indicated that more materials such as this should be made available as a useful resource for community members.
The calendar is part of the Enhanced Prevention Services program of the Kitigan Zibi Health & Social Services. Their mandate is to decrease the number of children in foster care and group homes. They work with families to maintain low levels of children in foster care, focus on suicide prevention so there are no suicides in the community, and provide families with support services before there is a crisis. They provide youth counseling and make information available about at-risk behaviors. They also provide culturally appropriate services to strengthen families, encourage families to be involved in their children's development to help them thrive, and promote community connectedness.
The Family Wellness Planner/Calendar project is their most recent initiative in making family violence prevention information more visual, practical and accessible to Kitigan Zibi's community members.