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Thread: Social Capital

  1. #1
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    Social Capital

    Back in the fall of 2007, I coined the program title: Pangnirtung: Making Connections for Youth. In doing so, I was inspired by this piece of prose which I credit to Tullio Caputo at Carleton University in Ottawa.

    Research has demonstrated that for marginal youth, a lack of social capital especially contact with supportive mentors and role models, is a key factor in their continuing high risk behaviour. This is further exacerbated in communities struggling to protect and pass-on traditional cultural values. Youth are often caught between the values of modern society and their marginal role in it and a lack of full integration into traditional cultural practices. In a very real sense, they find themselves on the periphery of both worlds. For at-risk youth, school and, in particular, school failure becomes a focal point for a realization that they do not fit in and when this is coupled with a lack of traditional skills, knowledge and experience they find themselves with nowhere to belong and no role to play. What is left to them is engaging in high risk behaviours and practices that put them at risk and bring them into conflict with family, school, community and the law.

    We've done a lot of work since 2007. I wonder if the remarks above are still apt?
    Chris Heide - Guest moderator for June 17-20.

  2. #2
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    Most of the programs we have put in place since 2007 have been carried out by Inuit staff. I have been pleased to play a supportive role but as the previous post says "contact with supportive mentors and role models, is a key factor" for reducing high risk behaviour.
    Chris Heide - Guest moderator for June 17-20.

  3. #3
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    And another thought on this subject - staff - The rewards of our commitment to a youthful staff have also been a good lesson. Four of our five current key staff are under thirty. Building on the potential of young workers affords sustainability. Young workers are essential role models. They must be encouraged and celebrated in that. They must also be treated with respect by management who must place a strong emphasis on developing workable job descriptions within a clear and achievable organizational chart and ensuring fair pay regardless of age.
    Chris Heide - Guest moderator for June 17-20.

  4. #4
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    Hi Chris,

    I want to thank you for joining us on here, and thank you for all the support you've provided in Pang. You should come back up for a visit soon

    When I met Chris back in 2007, I had a chance to join on as a Member of the local youth council, It was quite an interesting year and one that possibly influenced me as much to cause me to continue working with the youth since. The making connections program and the work that Chris did, brought out numerous opportunities for others to recognize the role models and leaders within themselves.

    I love what you mentioned in your fist post, there's a whole lot of truth in it and I wouldn't want to picture the community without having experienced the making connections program, most of all the work and support you've put into it all. There is that huge need for supportive and motivated role models within the community, mostly because that clash between north and south societies have caused a lot of harm to the people and the culture in the past that still has influence on it today, and meanwhile while one tries to preserve the other bombards it with its own. Even though the making connections program had provided the community with a strong foundation through youth to preserve, not assimilate but adapt and strengthen themselves as Inuit, but sadly, if you were to look at the community you would still see voids, here and there, lacking the necessary role models.

    That's why I think Programs like making Connections should be looked at as a more long term project, in 5 years, we've made huge strides but it's going to take many more years before all those voids are filled. Programs like these have a huge influence on the developing generations, especially in a small community as it closes gaps by making those connections between youth, elders, the community, those within and the rest of the world.

    One thing I can say for sure though. Crime has dropped drastically within the community over the past 5 year. Instead of dealing with a drunk at the youth center ever 2nd week when I started, now, I've maybe seen 1 or 2 within the last 6 months or so and though there are still many at-risk out there there are more that are stepping up to the plate to be that positive role model and community member.

    The Ice in the Pangnirtung Fiord just washed out today and it's raining right now, but the weather has been beautiful over the weekend!
    Last edited by Eric; 06-18-2013 at 04:04 AM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for your kind words Eric - and your thoughtful remarks - and the weather update. It is always so exciting when the ice goes out. Even if it does come right back in again every now and then...

    I couldn't agree more about the long term nature of the work Making Connections for Youth is engaged in. I heard a story from a co-worker when I was part of a working group attempting to find better means of keeping young men in school. Apparently an Inuit elder was asked, 'How will we know that we are improving the lives of young men in the community.' The answer, 'When you see that those young men have grown up to be respected elders.' In other words, yes, it takes time... More on that later.
    Chris Heide - Guest moderator for June 17-20.

  6. #6
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    interesting

    Such an interesting way to look at things - very realistic view on life and the time it takes for change to be seen. Thanks for those words Chris!

  7. #7
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    Crime has dropped drastically within the community over the past 5 year. Instead of dealing with a drunk at the youth center ever 2nd week when I started, now, I've maybe seen 1 or 2 within the last 6 months or so and though there are still many at-risk out there there are more that are stepping up to the plate to be that positive role model and community member. Young workers are essential role models. They must be encouraged and celebrated in that.
    Last edited by David; 02-25-2014 at 03:39 PM.

  8. #8
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    This is great news Marceline, and yes your absolutely right, encouragement is important, and acknowledging those young people who work so hard at making change and being positive role models in communities.
    Although the hard work is not always visible immediately it is always noticed, and most times you do see the benefits down the road.

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