The Aboriginal Youth Mentorship Program

The Aboriginal Youth Mentorship Program is an after-school program that provides physical activity, healthy snacks, games, and educational and leadership activities for children in grade 4 that is delivered by older adolescents from the local high school. The intervention is being delivered in 5 elementary schools in First Nations communities in Manitoba and we are determining its effectiveness for preventing type 2 diabetes.  The intervention is a quasi-experimental cross over trial with ~400 youth participating each school year. The intervention is guided around an Indigenous medicine wheel concept of health called the Circle of Courage that was adopted by Dr. Martin Brokenleg and the 4 R’s of child education by Dr. Verna Kirkness, a Cree Elder from Fischer River First Nation in Manitoba. Preliminary findings suggest this intervention is effective for preventing obesity, improving healthy living knowledge and self-efficacy. The study is guided by local and a communal advisory committee that honours and implements the OCAP and CBPR principals for conducting research in partnership with Indigenous communities in Canada. In 2016, the Public Health Agency of Canada added AYMP to it's list of recommended Best Practices programs for promoting healthy living.

In 2016 AYMP received funding through the Pathways to Equity  Initiative for Aboriginal People from CIHR's Institute for Aboriginal Peoples Health. Over the past 2 years, we have "rippled" AYMP to 13 communities across 5 provinces in Canada. This Expanded AYMP family has hosted several training events for youth in all communities and held 2 national team gatherings  to share knowledge and find our path towards wellness. With the support of Diabetes Action Canada we are planning to further expand across Canada through regional doors (i.e. nodes) of excellence. Currently, close to 1000 youth are participating in AYMP across Canada and using an implementation science model of evaluation we will be able to provide communities with the best models for promoting, running and sustaining this model of well being in their community.

New to the program in 2016 is the addition of the Aboriginal Children's Health & Well-being Measure an exciting tool to assess well-being using a wholistic approach, grounded in Indigenous worldview of health. This tool will allow us to quantify changes in wellness among youth involved in AYMP, beyond their risk for type 2 diabetes. Additionally, we will be Photovoice and the Aninishaabe Symbol-based Methods to determine if AYMP promotes Mino-Bimaadiziwiin/Mino-Pimitasiwin (living in a good way) among adolescents delivering the program. 

Pilot data published in Pediatrics here.

Training Manual for program published in Pediatrics 

Training manual for young adult health leaders - 2017 version

Facebook Page here.

To learn more about the latest AYMP updates and progress please check out our 2017 Newsletters: Spring & Fall/Winter

AYMP Video with youth involved in the program here

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