Healthy Relationships Newsletter

Breaking New Ground With Youth Corrections Programming

Waterville, Nova Scotia - Healthy Relationships is being used at the Nova Scotia Youth Centre in Waterville, which is a detention centre for boys between the ages of 16 and 18 years old. One hundred and twenty-two youths are presently housed at the Annapolis Valley facility.

Kim Robson

Kim Robson, who is program coordinator at the centre, advises that some of the lessons in the curriculum are being incorporated into existing programs. The Personal Development and Relationships (PDR) component which is in the process of becoming accredited will likely include Healthy Relationships.

"There are some areas that are controversial that we've not been as up-to-date on: racism and gender issues," says Robson. "We're sort of breaking new ground with this (curriculum). It has helped staff feel comfortable (with the material) because they can refer to the package and find strength to broach some of the topics they feel are not being talked about.
Kim Robson

"In our system, that's one of the sensitive areas: not always willing to take risks. It's been a real plus for us to be able to go to something that's already out there, and to be able to use it as a source of strength."

Robson adds that she's trying to get the program formalized, so that every young person who comes through the centre is exposed to it as part of the standard fare. She says it fills a hole in the existing curriculum because "general life skills education doesn't get to the heart of some of the issues." The youth, she says, respond to the issues raised "because they can see you're not just making it up. They see the newspaper articles; they see that something has actually taken place. Our guys respond better. These are current issues."

Rather than adopt a take-it-or-leave-it approach, the teachers at the Waterville Youth Centre often use the curriculum to test the waters on a touchy subject. "You can take it to whatever level you want to; that's what's good about it," says Robson. "You can step in a little. You don't have to make a real issue out of it; you can broach it and see where it goes."


  1. Curriculum Selected for Three-Year Evaluation
    Update February 1997
    "Our research assistants are excited and challenged by what is going on in the classroom, and we are very pleased with the response we're getting from school administrators and teachers."

  2. A Challenge for Educators
    "On the basis of time alone...the entertainment industry is the first curriculum in young peoples' lives."

  3. The Making of this Curriculum
    "We began to look for proactive ways to take responsibility for male violence, and to contribute towards the evolution of a violence free society."

  4. In Ontario, Gender Analysis is Key
    "HRC looks at stereotyping of both men and women as victims of socialization. It's not one half of the population that's at fault."

  5. Educating for Change
    Recommended Materials on Violence Against Women and Children.

  6. Gender Reactions Differ in B.C.
    "From her vantage point, Hill has noticed different gender-based reactions to some of the material she's presented."

  7. Public Health Nurse Uses Healthy Relationships Curriculum
    "I'm going to start a project in junior high schools on awareness, violence, and bullying..."

  8. Multiple Applications in Edmonton
    "This material provides a way to stimulate discussion and to develop strategies for intergenerational connections."

  9. Breaking New Ground With Youth Corrections Programming
    "It's been a real plus for us to be able to go to something that's already out there, and to be able to use it as a source of strength."

  10. Students Promote Zero Tolerance for Violence
    "The $64,000 question remains: Is the curriculum actually making a difference in the students' attitudes and behaviours? MacNeil says it is."

  11. Going to the Heart of the Matter in Dade County, Florida
    "The reason your curriculum is so good is because it touches the soul. It goes to the heart of the matter. It is not superficial."

  12. A Foundation for Other Programs
    "Sometimes Healthy Relationships is not used overtly in program delivery. Instead, it's used behind the scenes."

  13. Children's Aid Uses Healthy Relationships
    "The boys have had problems in relation to sexuality...We have found (HRC) a very useful reference and resource."

  14. Curriculum Supplement: Gender Justice
    Some suggestions which expand this unit of the Grade 9 curriculum.

  15. Organizations that have ordered Healthy Relationships
    Update December 1997

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