City of Calgary - CIS LEAD CAP Project
April 23, 2019
We are a group of passionate youth, who come from a variety of diverse cultural backgrounds, that attend the City of Calgary after-school Leadership program at the Calgary Islamic School.
In this program, we learn to develop and practice leadership skills while earning credibility, recognition and opportunities in the community that will strengthen our leadership skills. We are required to complete 20 hours of practicum experience that will enhance our skills even further in a hands-on practical way. Our community is very culturally diverse and we found that mental health is stigmatized or a taboo conversation, collectively we were motivated to create a CAP that engaged not only our LEAD group but also our friends and family outside in the community.
Our community has a very culturally diverse population. We found that many of the youth felt that their parents, peers and their community have a negative stigma towards mental health concerns – many people in face do not believe that mental health is an affecting issue.
We want all families and people within the community to be aware of mental health and the impacts it has. We want people to know that there are resources and that it is ok to talk about mental health and that it’s something that shouldn’t just be swept under the rug. We investigated the cultural impacts around mental health and why it has these stigmas attached to it. We also explored why it’s important to break them down and start having healthy conversation about how it affects us.
The main mentors and influences that have been involved in the CAP have been the City of Calgary leaders that work with the us. They supported us in creating a safe space around discussions regarding mental health battles. They also shared their personal stories of the impacts of mental health, this was important to our group as it was the first step for us in exploring how to breaking down the stigma barriers and that mental health is something we should talk about.
We created art that will be displayed on the fence for all passers to see. The art is meant to symbolize that it is ok to talk about mental health and more so it is also meant to symbolize that we don’t always know what is going on with other people. People go through their own struggles and their own battles – why don’t we try to not be another battle in their lives and try to be kind? We want the art to be a reminder to always be kind. It’s such a simple thing to do but can be easily overlooked and forgotten
Evaluate & Celebrate!
-I’m proudest about the project because I didn’t expect it to turn into this – I didn’t expect the youth to be so engaged in this activity about creating awareness for mental health.
-The biggest result that I would like to share is that we are all capable of being better – at first the youth had so much trouble in finding out what mattered to them and what we wanted to research but then slowly they all came together to create this project
-My most important learning is that mental health awareness is important. We should educate and continue to talk about it. The youth are also very knowledgeable and have talked about it already so let’s try to bring these conversations home and educate everyone.
-So far the impact that our CAP has had is that it’s given these youth the confidence to accomplish bigger things. At first none of the youth believed that they could do such a project but now that they are nearing completion they are much more confident in their abilities. As the unveiling of our CAP project has not happened yet we are still waiting to see the full impact of it