Youth Conference stirs emotions and makes an impact

harjo and martin

The Sanderson Centre was packed with over 400 Six Nations youth from Grades 7-12 last week for the P.A.R.T.Y. Program – Preventing Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth.

The one-day workshop was hosted by New Directions Group and brought representatives from Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital together with Six Nations youth to address issues such as alcohol poisoning, drug overdose and reckless driving.

Youth were also able to hear the story of Sarah Ginn. Sarah was involved in a serious car crash in 2003. She sustained life threatening injuries and was given a 10% chance of survival. Miraculously she pulled through, but the accident left her legally blind with vertigo. Her sense of taste and smell were also affected. Students listened to Sarah and her parents re-tell the story of that accident and how it changed their lives.

Sadly, Six Nations has been all too familiar with loss. During the conference some of the students in attendance became overcome with emotion and had to leave the theatre. Gail LaForme of New Directions spoke with Two Row Times about how they prepared to offer help to the youth in attendance. “Some of the videos that were shown were very graphic and it hits the young people. We let them know there are counsellors available, there is support people available for them and it will go on into the school over the next couple of days.” Thankfully, New Directions Group was prepared with counsellors on site to help those students process what they were experiencing.

Six Nations students Ascencion Harjo and Martin closed the workshop with a dance performance promoting the choice to leave behind a life of drug abuse and reckless decisions in favour of honouring culture and traditions.


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