SHINE is tailored for students 9-13 years-old and its objective is to help them develop healthy and egalitarian friendships and/or relationships, thus preventing their aggression and exploitation. These workshops are available in both English and French and are conducted throughout the province of Quebec, both on-site and via an electronic platform for schools located in remote parts of the province.
In our very first year of implementation, our team visited 89 schools, conducted 347 presentations and empowered 9,272 preteens who learned that by saying NO!, and setting physical, emotional and virtual limits, are key to preventing them from falling victim to acts of aggression, abuse and exploitation. Today, over 41,000 youths have been empowered! Already adapted to support youth with special needs and those in search of their sexual identity, SHINE also engages at-risk youth in First Nations communities. To this end, at the end of 2019, the program was translated into four Native languages (Mohawk, Inuktitut, Cree and Innu).
SHINE is designed to help students build a positive self-image, recognize the components of healthy and egalitarian relationships and learn to set boundaries. We provide them with the tools and resources that help them develop effective communication skills and they learn the importance of respecting themselves and others.
In our workshops, we address the following themes:
- Trusting one’s instincts and the right to say NO!
- Developing healthy and egalitarian relationships;
- Identifying and setting one’s emotional, physical and virtual boundaries;
- Recognizing gender stereotypes that influence one’s perception;
- Identifying safe adults to approach in difficult times;
- Disclosing abuse and/or any inappropriate behaviour to safe adults.
SHINE is tailored for youth all across the province of Quebec and has also been designed to meet the needs of at-risk youth that includes youths from First Nations Communities, as well as the LGBTQ community. We are currently working with these communities and training their educators to deliver the program to youth throughout their networks.
With the participation and collaboration of key stakeholders and experts in the field of sexual exploitation of youth, we also developed a bilingual turn-key toolkit intended for educators, spiritual animators and youth-serving leaders throughout Quebec, who are being trained to conduct safety workshops to groups of students within their respective regions, both on-site or via REACTS, an interactive electronic platform designed for at-distance training.
In order to support and connect victims of exploitation, we developed a comprehensive and up-to-date on-line directory of resources and services for victims, caregivers and professionals that is available for consultation on our website.
The Missing Children’s Network has come a very long way since we first opened our doors back in 1985 … however, the issue of missing and exploited children is still very prevalent and keeping kids safe from those looking to exploit or harm them must remain a top priority in our society. Safeguarding youth is at the heart of our mission. It is with firm resolve that we will continue to work on their behalf.