WALKING ALONGSIDE YOUTH - AN ONLINE ANXIETY COURSE
A warm welcome
We are so glad you have found your way to Walking Alongside Youth (WAY). This online course was created specifically to meet the unique needs and lived experiences of foster caregivers (caregivers) and out-of-care care providers (care providers) throughout British Columbia who are caring for youth with anxiety.
WAY was developed with careful consideration of the needs of Indigenous youth and families, who come from a rich diversity of traditional knowledges and practices that can guide culturally informed and safe responses to anxiety. This is a trauma- and evidence-informed course, intended to empower you with insight and practical, culturally safe ways of responding to youth with anxiety.
WAY is intended to create a sense of walking together in relationship, side by side, in a supportive and respectful way. The focus is on strengthening relationships between you—as a caregiver or care provider—and the youth in your care, through bringing together and drawing from best practices on well-being from Indigenous and Western knowledge systems. WAY recognizes and focuses on relationship as a universal, cross-cultural necessity for all peoples and across all generations. Walking alongside one another in relationship provides the most natural opportunity for healing and growth to unfold.
As you engage with this course, we walk alongside you, supporting and encouraging you along the way. We hope you find the courage and strength you need to continue this important journey to walk alongside the youth in your care.
About Walking Alongside Youth
WAY was developed to:
How this course is structured
WAY is a collection of anxiety literacy resources that begins with an overview of the foundations of WAY followed by seven lessons:
The Foundations of WAY
1. Understanding Youth with Anxiety
2. Four Relational and Culturally Safe Approaches
3. Honouring Identity, Experiences and Family Traditions
4. Nourishing Youth with Anxiety Through Relationship
5. Reducing Experiences That Fuel Anxiety
6. Restoring Conditions That Lead to Wellness, Resilience and Growth
7. Putting It All into Practice
Each lesson is intended to build on the preceding lesson, guiding you in strengthening relationships, responding to youth in culturally safe and practical ways, and understanding that walking alongside the youth in your care is the most effective way to address their symptoms of anxiety. The lessons include:
Each lesson should take you about 20 minutes to complete. On completing all of the lessons and questions, you will receive a certificate of completion for proof of learning.
How the course was developed
The Ministry of Children and Family Development’s Aboriginal Policy and Practice Framework (2013) outlines a respectful and collaborative process, referred to as “Gathering the Circle,” which has guided the development of all aspects of WAY.
Gathering the Circle ensures that the foundations and values of Indigenous Peoples are considered and kept at the centre by:
Recognizing the historical and ongoing impacts of colonization and intergenerational trauma on Indigenous families and communities, and the immediate need for culturally distinct approaches, WAY was developed collaboratively with Indigenous Peoples and communities throughout British Columbia. We have Gathered the Circle by forming a community-based advisory group made up of parents, caregivers, practitioners and youth.
How to get the most out of the course
We invite you to keep the relationship with the youth in your care at the forefront of both your mind and your heart while completing WAY.
Taking time between lessons to sit with, reflect, absorb and understand the teachings in each lesson of the course is highly recommended. Time for reflection will help deepen your understanding and increase your sense of confidence in applying what you have learned in meaningful and mindful ways.
Building on the previous lessons, each lesson is intended to provide practical insights that will develop your capacity for walking alongside youth with anxiety.
How to Proceed through Walking Alongside Anxiety
SETTING AN INTENTION
Intentions are powerful, and when we set them they tend to guide your actions and responses. During times of stress, intentions can bring us back to and remind us of what is most important. Intentions help chart a course for where we want to navigate to, and without them we can easily lose our way. Research on goal-setting and writing down intentions shows a decrease in stress and an increase in feelings of well being. Goals are also more likely to be achieved when we write them down.
Take a moment to reflect on your deepest longing for the youth in your care. If there is one thing you could provide to them in your relationship, what would that be? Good health, peace of mind, love, care, trust, safety? What is the most important thing you wish for the youth you are caring for?
Write your answers to the questions on the fillable / downloadable activity: