WORKING FROM THE INSIDE OUT
When developing a new youth program, the Barrie Police Service first had to examine our ‘why’.
Developed by Simon Sinek, the Golden Circle philosophy notes that inspired organizations and leaders “all think, act and communicate from the inside out.” (5) This has been the guiding philosophy and framework in the development of the Inside Out Program.
Do you do what you do?
What is the purpose?
Do you do what you do?
Do you do?
THE ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCE PYRAMID
Children who have experienced, or are experiencing ACEs, also face prolonged activation of the stress response system. This exposure to chronic stress disrupts neurodevelopment and can prove harmful to learning, memory, and emotional regulation for youth.11 This understanding was integral to the development of Inside Out’s ‘why’, as the program aims to interrupt social, emotional, and cognitive impairments before the adoption of health-risk behaviours that can result in increased harm and victimization.
Our ‘how’, or our processes, heavily leveraged research across various disciplines to better understand what works in youth prevention programming.
RESILIENCE AND PROTECTIVE FACTORS
Research shows that the most effective programs that target ACEs and toxic stress exhibit a large emphasis on developing resilience through protective factor development. (13) Therefore, Inside Out aims to enhance wellness by building resilience and protective factors through our programming. Inside Out teaches protective factors that combat ACEs and toxic stress.
Examples of protective factors include: (14)
- Character – Development of personal values
- Competence – A focus on what we are good at
- Confidence – Creating a belief in one’s self
- Connections – Foster a sense of belonging
- Contribution – Build a sense of purpose
- Control – Having a sense of power in one’s own life
- Coping – The ability to manage stress
Factors of Successful Programming
Research in prevention programs note that programs should have an emphasis on:
- Goal setting
- Meaningful mentors
- Multi-year programming
- Strength-based programming
- Trauma-informed programming
- Youth-centered programming
Traditional police-led programs are often deficit-based. For example, they focus on ‘at-risk’ kids. This implies the child has a ‘problem’ inherent to them, which is a defining principle of who they are and what separates them from others.
Instead, Inside Out practices strength-based programming. It aims to facilitate resilience and assess what resources an individual has to positively address potential problems and to further develop assets. (16) For example, focusing on changing behaviour that is separate from a youth’s identity. (17)
Effective Program Models
Research shows the S.A.F.E. Model is often leveraged in effective youth programs. Evaluations showed increased self-confidence and self-esteem, an increased sense of belonging in schools, positive social behaviours, better school grades, and ultimately reduced problem behaviours and substance use. (20)
A Strength-Based Mindset
Below are examples of leveraging strength vs. deficit-based terminology.
The S.A.F.E. Model says programs should be:
High Five Principles for Healthy Child Development
Developed by Parks and Recreation Ontario in 2001, High Five is an evidence-based national quality standard for youth recreational programs to ensure quality programs and positive experiences for children in an environment in which youth can thrive. High Five boasts a quality standard tool that allows for constant evaluation and improvement for both the program and the facilitator. (21)
High Five has three design guidelines:
Physically and emotionally safe
Welcomes diversity and uniqueness
High Five guiding principles for programming:
1. A caring leader
2. The opportunity to make friends
3. The opportunity to play
4. The opportunity to master skills
5. The opportunity to participate
Positive Youth Development
The Positive Youth Development model uses a strength-based, proactive approach to prevention and intervention for all students. It leverages the fact that we have a better opportunity to create a generation of competent, caring, and resilient young people when we collaborate with students, schools, and our community to construct these key developmental assets.
- Boundaries and expectations
- Constructive use of time
- Commitment to learning
- Positive identity
- Positive values
- Social competence
Our ‘what’, or our outcome, is an evidence-based, trauma-informed prevention program that aims to improve student wellness. As our program is implemented, we will continue to update our ‘what’ to ensure we are meeting the needs of the students and the community.
Implementing Inside Out
Inside Out is an interactive, activity-based learning model to encourage participation for all comfort and confidence levels. Facilitators will begin the lessons with an introduction to the topic and activity, conduct interactive, student-involved activities, and close each session with an informal de-brief conversation about lessons learned and takeaways.
The Inside Out Program is delivered with no cost to schools.
Inside Out Vision, Mission, and Values
Promoting the success of every child.
To offer an effective program that responsibly builds and supports our young people in an inclusive environment.
Trust, inclusion, diversity, education, and community.
Inside Out Pilot Structure
The Inside Out Program intends to run an initial pilot throughout the school year, from October to June for grades 5-8. It consists of 3-5 visits per grade mixed with informal, positive, and non-punitive interaction, such as recess drop-ins and school events. By including both formal and informal interactions, we will work to strengthen relationships between youth and the police and help break down barriers that may exist between them. We aim to build resilience and ensure on-going wellness within our youth and our community as a whole.
The Inside Out Program will take a multi-year approach to programming, as research shows that building upon skills over school years develops a sense of mastery and strengthens relationships with adult mentors. (26) These are considered strong resilience-based protective factors. Based on program evaluation findings, the Inside Out Program has the potential to expand beyond its pilot year to include all elementary grades.
Frequency of Classes per Year
|Grade 5||3||45-minute lessons|
|Grade 6||5||60-minute lessons|
|Grade 7||5||60-minute lessons|
|Grade 8||5||60-minute lessons|
Themes, Topics, and Activities
The Inside Out Program focuses on a variety of themes, topics, and activities aimed at building protective factors and resilience in youth.
- Coping strategies
- Conflict Resolution
- Decision Making
- Personal Safety
- Social Media
- Support Systems and Resources
- Goal Setting
- Healthy Friendships
- Community Service
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Responsible Citizenship
Activity Highlight: Four Corners
The Four Corners activity focuses on decision-making and allows students to discuss and choose their own course of action.
- The classroom is set up with signs in each corner: strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree.
- Students stand in the center of the room as scenarios are read out one-by-one.
- As the instructor reads through the scenarios, students choose their response by standing in the corner that corresponds with how they feel about each scenario.
- Students can discuss their choice with the other students in their corner.
- A spokesperson in each corner can share the thoughts of the corner.
- The different views of each corner are explored as a group.
- Students are given the opportunity to change corners after discussion
Examples of Four Corner Scenario
1. Legal drugs are safe, that’s why they are legal.
2. Media influences my life and decisions.
3. It takes more courage to stand up to your friends than your enemies.
Plan for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
The Barrie Police Service and the Inside Out Team understand the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in youth programming, especially as it relates to law enforcement within schools. We aim to foster an environment in which all students feel safe, welcomed, and respected. We acknowledge this commitment involves ongoing collaboration with, learning from, and listening to, our community.
The four-step framework of Inside Out’s EDI action plan to ensure a safe, respectful, and welcoming environment is:
- Consult with key stakeholders to ensure all programming materials, topics, and activities are safe for students.
- Provide Inside Out facilitators, and the Barrie Police Service as a whole, with training opportunities focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion, as well as racial trauma.
- Facilitate discussions and activities focused on equity, diversity, inclusion, and privilege with the help of community partners.
- Analyze measures of acceptance as a key performance indicator in the program evaluation.
The Inside Out Program has been designed with evaluation as a priority. In order to measure the effectiveness of the program we will:
“Planning in the area of prevention involves proactively implementing evidence-based situational measures, policies or programs to reduce locally-identified priority risks to community safety and well-being before they result in crime, victimization and/or harm.”
Facilitator knowledge and training is important for the successful delivery and
implementation of the Inside Out Program. Training above and beyond the standard
training for police members includes:
- Brain Story Certification
- Bridges Out of Poverty
- Children of Trauma and Resilience
- Commit to Kids, Canadian Centre for Child Protection
- Community Policing Amidst Racial Trauma
- Healing Trauma and Restoring Resilience in Schools
- High Five Quest 1
- High Five Quest 2
- High Five Principles of Healthy Child Development
- High Five Healthy Minds for Healthy Children
- Leadership for Self-Reg Schools
- Motivational Interviewing
- Resetting for Resilience
- Trauma-Informed Resilient Schools
… and more!
Shannon is a Special Constable with the Barrie Police Service. Shannon is a Starr Certified Trauma and Resilience Practitioner for the education sector, and recently completed the Evidence-Based Policing for Leaders course with distinction at the University of Cambridge. In addition to this, she is currently pursuing education on self-regulation, motivational interviewing, and racial trauma. Shannon boasts more than 18 years of experience in children and youth programs and brings practical hands-on knowledge to the creation and delivery of the Inside Out Program.
Charmaine Lane, M.Sc., RP
Charmaine is the founder and CEO of CLR Lane Consulting & Psychosocial Services and works as a consultant and Registered Psychotherapist practicing in the city of Toronto/Markham. Charmaine is an experienced client-centered therapist providing counseling and psychotherapy using a holistic approach; treating the “whole person, taking into account the mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of the disease.” She holds a Master of Science degree in Counselling Psychology. Charmaine specializes in racial trauma and is the developer and facilitator of the “Trauma and the Black Youth Experience” and “Community Policing Amidst Racial Trauma” workshops. Charmaine serves as a consultant on the Inside Out project for the Barrie Police Service, reviewing materials through a child psychology, anti-oppressive/anti-racism lens.
Madison Charman, M.A.
Madison works as an Organizational Researcher with the Barrie Police Service. She holds an honours bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in criminology and leverages her research skills to fuse evidence-based methods with police practices and policies. She plays an integral role by operationalizing research to inform the Inside Out Program, as well as using her skills to evaluate the program in the future.
Debbie Opoku-Mulder, M.A., RP
Debbie is a Registered Psychotherapist, a mental health advocate, and an inclusion and diversity workshop facilitator with Making Change. Debbie is passionate about equipping individuals and groups with the tools and resources needed to educate and motivate themselves to be innovative and creative. Her work is guided from an anti-oppressive, healing-focused, and anti-Black racism lens. Debbie has experience working in the school environment and with culturally diverse populations. With over 15 years of experience in children and youth programming, Debbie works to begin and continue conversations around race, diversity, and building community. Debbie plays an integral role in developing equity-based activities and lessons to facilitate with students during Inside Out programming.
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