Bringing accessibility, trauma-informed practice, and culture into my work

Bringing accessibility, trauma-informed practice, and culture into my work

The NWT Recreation and Parks Association and Youth Centres Conference this past fall was full of information and inspiration that is helping to re-shape our Take a Break resource for parents and family literacy programs.

Qaggiavuut! an organization that promotes Inuit culture and language use through the performing arts suggested using cultural activities to create a bridge between generations and use everyone’s strengths to coach someone else.

Recreation and Parks Association President, Cynthia White, reminded me of the many visible and invisible barriers during her Accessible Recreation presentation. I like to think that I keep accessibility in mind, but this session showed me more ways the NWT Literacy Council can make our programs safe and accessible. We are more conscious when choosing locations for our events, trying to have training sessions in the same building where participants are staying. We are holding family literacy nights in a building with ample parking and transit access.

All our events are free, helping to remove financial barriers to participation, and all families are welcome. We still have work to do to ensure our programs feel welcoming and safe for everyone, but hope we are making progress. If you have recommendations for us, please reach out.

The Boys and Girls Clubs Of Canada’s Bounce Back League is a trauma-informed sports program, designed and pilot-tested with the support of Edgework Consulting. The hands-on workshop at the conference gave useful tools to help program facilitators gain the language of trauma-informed practice so they can ask questions to help kids talk about the trauma they are carrying. Understanding how trauma affects the brain, and the ways to help reverse these effects fascinates me.

The trauma information from this workshop, along with what I am learning through the Mehrit Centre’s Self-Regulation Foundations courses, has helped me as a parent. I am using this lens to revise the units in our Take a Break parenting resource. The information will form a large part of the Stress Management chapter. When we do training and pilot-test this resource, we will support facilitators to use a trauma-informed practice with parents.

Thanks to the NWT Recreation and Parks Association and to the SideDoor youth resource centre.  I look forward to next year’s conference.


— Katie Johnson, Family Literacy Coordinator

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