4 the generation is an Aboriginal history and cultural program for non, current and former youth-in-care, ages 15-19 living in the Greater Vancouver Area. The project aims to fill a gap that exists for youth who come from their communities and helps them to re-establish a link to their heritage and culture.
Despite policies in place for establishing cultural plans of care, Aboriginal youth living in and out of the foster system need more consistent access to traditional mentors as well as activities to reinforce their inner cultural foundation (the ways of being). This particular gap makes it very difficult for young people to understand who they are, where they come from and what this means to identify themselves.
To address this challenge, the 4 The Generation program is supporting youth in and out of care to develop the trust and skills needed to become the next generation of culturally-grounded leaders.
Objectives of the program are to:
- Develop and deliver a year-long culturally grounded and informed program to Aboriginal youth in and out of care to enhance knowledge, skills and self-awareness of their own culture (the ways of being). Potential activities include: medicine walks, land stewardship and gathering, and canning
- Fill a gap in programming for agencies trying to support the implementation of young people’s cultural plans of care
- Build a network of support for each participating Aboriginal young person through positive, trusting, dependable relationships that can foster a sense of belonging to their own heritage
- Coordinate flexible, adaptive approaches with Aboriginal young people living in and out of care (and the Elders) to ensure accessibility for program participation
Workshops with well-known guest speakers, respected Elders and other youth participants focus on 4 programming elements:1) Oral Tradition, 2) Understanding Our History & Rights, 3) Medicine & Skill Development, and 4) Here In Community – Putting Your New Skills & Knowledge Into Practice.
The project, including a cultural retreat for Indigenous youth, was featured in a 2019 edition of Power Pages, a magazine distributed to more than 2,000 youth and service providers (see page 22).
"There are all these policies and professionalism, but sometimes you need to be a person. You need to bring a level of humanity when you are trying to build trust with a young person. It is about creating this ripple effect. We need to trust people to hold our hearts- to help us get to where we need to be." - Cheyenne Stonechild, 4 the Generation Program Manager