Each year, the City of Kamloops issues a call for proposals for registered charities and non-profit agencies in our community to apply for Social and Community Development Grants, which are intended to fund special projects, operational costs, and/or capital expenditures that address specific current social problems and/or issues related to the City’s Social Plan or the Livability pillar of the Council Strategic Plan.
Thompson Rivers University received a $11,561 Social and Community Development Grant in 2022. This is how the grant was used:
Submitted by Thompson Rivers University
The Consent Café was co-founded by Thompson Rivers University (TRU) faculty Chelsea Corsi, Faculty of Student Development, and Tanya Pawliuk, Faculty of Education and Social Work, in conjunction with students from the TRU Wellness Centre and the TRU School of Social Work and Human Service. The Consent Café has fostered integral partnerships with campus and community agencies such as the Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre, School District No. 73, Safe Spaces, ASK Wellness, and the TRU Sexualized Violence Prevention and Response Office. We were privileged to receive this grant to share our consent and communication curriculum with local youth.
The Consent Café is an activity-based consent education, communication, and sexualized violence prevention program for youth and young adults. Our overarching goal is to introduce and reinforce rights-based consent literacy and sexualized violence prevention early to ensure youth transitioning from high school to post secondary (TRU) or high school to the workforce have this critical knowledge. The Consent Café works because we meet participants “where they are at”, where they learn, and where they are navigating consent every day. Our curriculum and consent mentors are relational and capacity building, peer and community supported, reflexive, strengths based, and trauma informed.
Because gendered violence remains a significant issue across Canada, the Consent Café provides our community with the opportunity to assume a leadership role in educating youth about these foundational and critical topics. We strongly believe the program builds youths’ capacity, comfort, and confidence to communicate more effectively in relationships, and strengthens their ability to access and navigate resources and supports when needed.
We believe that our program benefits the community in a myriad of ways. For example, we anticipate that local youth who participate in the Consent Café will leave with:
- increased and enhanced knowledge and skills to seek out accurate and legitimate sources of health information related to consent, relationships, communication, and sexualized violence prevention and response
- increased and enhanced skills to navigate communication nuances within relationships that promote healthy sexual decision making
- increased and enhanced confidence to enact strategies that aim to protect them and others from potential exploitation, abuse, and harm
- increased and enhanced literacy and skills in identifying and accessing sexualized violence prevention and response resources and supports
- increased and enhanced literacy and skills about how to respond to disclosures of harm, violence, and sexualized violence
We do believe that our program is making a difference in the lives of local youth. The following was shared with us by an educator who participated in a Consent Café in spring 2022:
“I would like you all to know how grateful I am for the opportunity that you have given our students. Many of them have come and talked to me since, some sharing experience where their consent was not given, and some sharing how empowering they felt the workshop was. I would also like to give a special thanks to [Consent Mentor]. The kids she supported engaged more than they ever have at school. One of the young people rarely lifts their head off their desk in their classroom, and by the 3rd day, they spoke in the group! From an outsider, it might not have seemed like a lot, but in the last 2 yrs at our school, that is the most they have engaged in any subject matter!! This speaks to how very safe the space you all created was! Thank you all for your kindness, understanding and hard work! I look forward to perhaps hosting a larger, more diverse group again in the future if you are able! Thank you.”
- Educator from School District No. 73 Alternative Education Setting
We have immense gratitude to the City of Kamloops Social and Community Development team for choosing our application for this grant. It has provided our Consent Café team with a serendipitous opportunity to build our relationship with School District No. 73 leadership and teachers. We are truly excited to announce that we will be piloting our Consent Café with all 852 grade 8 students in the district, including both urban and rural areas in the 2022–23 academic year.
As we learn about consent, we must recognize that the Canada we know was built on Indigenous lands without consent. Manipulation and violence have been, and continue to be, used to control Indigenous peoples' bodies and lands through colonialism. Importantly, alongside every act of violence exists a parallel story of resistance to that violence. We recognize and honour Indigenous peoples historical and ongoing resistance to colonial violence.
To learn more about this grant, visit Kamloops.ca/Grants. To view stories on how other groups used their Social and Community Development Grants, visit Kamloops.ca/CityStory.