The Wasa-Nabin (Ojibway meaning 'To Look Ahead') Programme is designed to provide comprehensive services to urban Aboriginal at-risk youth between the ages of 13 - 18 with the support, tools and healthy activities that will build upon and foster their inherent ability to make healthy lifestyle choices.
The Wasa-Nabin programme was launched in the fall of 2008. Each Friendship Centre was able to receive a worker to deliver the programme. There has been a significant impact during the first year of programming and clients have learned how to deal with the loss of a family member, how to read and write, manage aggressive behaviour and improve their social skills.
Wasa-Nabin is also a one-on-one and participant based programme.
"A youth was referred to the Wasa-Nabin programme by the high school attendance counselor, who was unsuccessful in attempting to engage the youth. The youth has been without any formal education for at least four years and most of their time since then has been spent in their house playing video games. After some persistence on the Worker's part, the Worker was finally able to connect with the youth and mother. The youth's mother contacted the Worker stating she had concerns about the youth's mental health. The youth had been talking about suicide and the mother had also relayed the youth was in need of a drug and alcohol treatment programme. The Worker was able to connect with an Aboriginal treatment centre within the local community and was grateful the youth agreed it attend a pre-treatment visit. The youth chose to dismiss themselves from the treatment centre after two hours of admittance, but after a couple of days and encouragement from the Worker, the youth was able to bring themselves back to the treatment centre and remained their for one month. The Worker followed up on the youth's progress at the Aboriginal treatment centre and reported the youth is doing well. The youth's mother has repeatedly expressed her gratitude and relief that help was available for the youth and has expressed appreciation for Wasa-Nabin's involvement in the youth's success."
A briefing note was completed by the Akwe:go Programme Analyst which was approved by the Board of Directors to deal with and address Friendship Centres not being able to deliver their maximum programme client numbers of 20 children and conflict of interest issues between youth of Friendship Centre staff participating in the at-risk programme. These issues are being addressed through an Akwe:go/Wasa-Nabin Strategic Plan which was established by the Akwe:go/Wasa-Nabin working group in October 2009.
Williams Consulting was hired to develop the Wasa-Nabin Database system for tracking clients. They used the existing Akwe:Go Database system to create a new template for the programme. It will be completed in December 2009.