MOVE! Youth Ending Violence promotes leadership skills, media analysis and healthy relationships, examines racial and gender stereotypes, and identifies causes and acts of violence, by holding workshops for Yukon youth on topics including: Anti-Oppression and Leadership; Critical Media Literacy; Gender and (in)Equality; Sexuality and Consent, and Healthy Relationships.
It is run by Bringing Youth Towards Equality (BYTE), an organization that sees youth as leaders of a non-violent generation.
MOVE! is a 12-hour workshop (at minimum), usually completed over the course of multiple sessions, which explores the roots of systematic violence through the discussion of gender and racial stereotyping and oppression. The program includes the positive effects that bystander intervention, healthy relationships and peaceful conflict resolution can have on a community.
The Yukon, along with other Canadian territories, has a higher rate of violence – particularly sexualized violence – than the rest of the country.
BYTE was asked by the Government of Yukon's Women's Directorate in 2012 to take over its gender-based violence prevention program for youth in social justice clubs. BYTE redesigned and redirected the program to give youth who are likely to have experienced violence in their own lives the tools to identify and prevent violence from occurring in their communities in the future.
MOVE! has worked with 'at risk' youth, many of whom have already had interactions with the criminal justice system, since 2012. As a Northern organization, the majority of the youth in its programs are from a First Nations background and have experienced racism.
The program aims to provide a safe and engaging space for these youth to delve into the complicated issues of violence in their communities and within their own lives.
Youth are guided through a series of activities and scenarios in which they practice leadership skills. The goal is to give youth a comprehensive understanding of violence, and the tools needed to reduce violence in their lives, and to give support to their peers.
The long-term hope is that this will reduce violence in the Yukon, develop a youth culture of violence awareness and peer support, and contribute to strong future leaders in the territory.
This program works to reduce the Yukon's disproportionate levels of violence by educating youth. MOVE! helps them understand the history of violence and allows them to discuss a more positive future.
Making a Difference
The program's success lies in the relationships that BYTE facilitators develop with the youth, and the balance between fun activities such as games and multimedia, and serious activities such as in-depth discussions.
Workshops have received positive feedback from participants and facilitators. The Youth Achievement Centre, a diversionary centre for youth who have had interactions with the criminal justice system (which referred most of the program's 2013 participants), has also shared good feedback.
Participants are continuing the dialogue with each other, as well as with their peers, after the workshops have concluded. BYTE considers it a great success to see youth taking these messages home and continuing the conversations.
It is challenging to create a safe space to talk about issues of violence, racism and gender inequality for youth who have experienced these issues within their own lives. It is important that the workshop does not trigger emotions without being able to provide ongoing support.
To overcome this, MOVE! uses only its most experienced facilitators, who have the skills to deal with issues as they come up and workshops are run over a series of long sessions, which helps to build a sense of camaraderie and support amongst attendees.
Organizers aim to create a sense of fun within many of the activities and end all workshops on a positive note.
The biggest challenge in implementing MOVE! in 2013 was that there were too many participants in the Whitehorse series, which made it difficult to engage all the youth and create the safe space that is critical for the program's success. This made it challenging to foster more in-depth conversation and reflection. For this reason, a cap will be placed on the number of participants for the workshops.
Vision for the Future
BYTE received funding to run MOVE! twice in 2012 and will continue to seek funding to run it in future years. BYTE has also made it available 'for hire' as an intensive program by communities.
About Bringing Youth Towards Equality (BYTE)
Bringing Youth Towards Equality is a 'by youth, for youth' organization that focuses on empowering and promoting youth throughout the Yukon and Canada's north.
Its mission is to unite youth to strengthen their voice, take action and bring about positive change for the well-being of everyone. BYTE's facilitation team travels to communities throughout the Yukon, Northern BC and the Northwest Territories to deliver innovative and relevant programming to youth. It also host events and workshops in Whitehorse that foster creativity, culture and sport. Everything BYTE does is about helping youth to develop confidence, skills, openness and a sense of belonging.
Best Practice Contact
Bringing Youth Towards Equality (BYTE)
2-407 Ogilvie St.
Whitehorse, YT Y1A 3C9