Our Core Connector Initiative branches from our Apple Program. We are aware that youth may have conversations with their peers around topics of bullying, abuse, suicide, familial issues, substance abuse, stress and mental health problems when taking a break and enjoying an apple at their school’s or community centre’s Apple Program axis point. Many time, young people find it difficult to disclose personal information to adults and instead trust their peers to provide them with support. Often times we are not familiar with the steps involved in getting the right help for our friends or fellow classmates.
That is why Adam’s Apples has developed an initiative that provides youth with mental health education and trains them in peer support strategies, based on the Youth as Gatekeepers (YAG) program launched in Chilliwack.
Our goal is to provide youth with a safe place to learn material and skills so they can lead their peers to seek professional or adult help in tough times. The Core Connector Initiative carries on Adam’s legacy of connecting people together and supporting them through crisis.
Our Core Connector Initiative targets both elementary and secondary school-aged youth. Our trained and qualified facilitators present the initiative to young people through engaging classroom presentations and recruit 8-15 students who are interested in joining our Core Connector’s group.
The facilitators meet with these students in a safe and confidential space (usually a classroom at their school) on a weekly basis to facilitate youth-lead discussion around mental health topics and train them on support strategies.
Curriculum and Training
Fred Chou, a registered clinical counsellor has modified the Youth as Gatekeepers (YAG) curriculum to meet Adam’s Apples mission and goals. Our Core Connector Initiative runs for a 14 week period. Students meet with facilitators on a weekly basis for an hour and half long sessions. Our facilitators promote discussion on topics around mental health by encouraging them to engage in individual and group-based, visual and hands-on activities.
Our curriculum is split into three phases: relationship building, education and training, and action plan.
Please click the icons below to learn more about our weekly topics.
WEEK 1. Vision and group norms.
WEEK 2. Mental Health Stigma
WEEK 3. Mental Health Overview
WEEK 4. Supporting a Friend
WEEK 5. Active Listening Skills
WEEK 6. Empathy
WEEK 7. Support Networks
WEEK 8. Anxiety and Depression
WEEK 9. Positive Psychology
WEEK 10. Addictions
WEEK 11. Suicide
WEEK 12. Celebration
Youth are encouraged to become socially responsible agents within their school and community by advocating and sharing what they have learned through awareness projects and presentations. All projects and presentations are youth-lead and monitored by our facilitators.
There are several benefits of supporting or joining our Core Connector Initiative. Below are just a few reasons why:
Each youth participant receives volunteer hours for the time they dedicate to our program.
This includes the time they spend learning mental health material and peer support strategies, as well as creating presentations or projects to raise awareness on these topics.
All participants receive a personalized reference letter from the organization to use for job applications, and scholarship or university applications.
Only our Core Connectors have a chance to apply to our $500 scholarship opportunities. If you are a participant in our Core Connector Initiative and are interested in learning more about our scholarship opportunities, please contact your facilitator.
At the end of the 14-week long initiative, all participants will be awarded with a certificate that recognizes them as our official Core Connectors.
Adam’s Apples launched the first Core Connector pilot at Vancouver Technical Secondary School. We had a total of five participants who were interested in helping their peers through crisis situations. They officially graduated our initiative and are now identified as our very first Core Connectors. They help us continue Adam’s legacy of connecting youth together and providing peers with support through difficult times.