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Safe Spaces for Youth in Martensville, Saskatchewan

Q&A’s with Jennifer Dundas

Where are you from? What place do you currently call home and why?
I am originally from the Niagara Region in Ontario. After spending 26 years in various areas around Ontario I decided to move closer to family. I currently call Martensville, Saskatchewan home. After discovering my sister was going to be a mother, it was a very big indicator that being closer to her and her future family was something that was important to me. After spending five years in Martensville, it is safe to say I can call it home. It is not like the big city of Niagara Falls, but just big enough to make a house a home.

What community/communities are you part of ?
I am part of an Urban community. In the city of Martensville it is easy to find out how the local highschool teams are doing, or what times the local farmers market is open in the summer. A sense of community in Martensville is something that I pride myself on being a part of.

Also working in a Correctional Service environment allows me to be a part of a rehabilitation community. By understanding the core issues of some of the patients, it helps create a better understanding of how to help these individuals better themselves for their future.

What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies?
I am very passionate about the youth of today’s society. The environment in which they are growing up in today reflects a different narrative on how these children are being shaped into society. The speed of which the youth have to adapt and change is unprecedented.

I am also passionate about reading. Lived experiences can be seen from a different perspective just by reading a book. It isn’t all fairy tales and romance. Sometimes reading about things that are tough to discuss with others makes it easier to understand that certain things do happen. Some experiences in life, even though a person has yet to experience them, do indeed happen to people. Or vice versa, some things happen to multiple people and you’re not alone.

How did the idea for this project come to you?
By reflecting back to my own childhood and analyzing that there was a safe place for teens to hang out and seek guidance from other individuals, it allowed for myself to branch out and see how it would be possible to bring that to Martensville. Even though we are about 20 km away from Saskatoon, there is still room to bring bigger city plans to a smaller city like ours. To say I didn’t go through some hardships as a young teenager would be a lie. Bullying is something that is still very systemic in today’s youth population. By being able to bring a group that addressed mental health and other issues to Martnesville, it can create an improved narrative for today’s youth.

What was your motivation behind this project?
The motivation behind the project was to shed some light on today’s youth in response to finding out who they are. By giving the participants knowledge and a better understanding of different types of topics it can create a better environment for these kids to be themselves. Also, highschool aged children can be going through a difficult time not just externally but internally as well. They are not given the tools to navigate highschool, relationships, home life and so on and so forth. By creating a safe space it allows for a moment of safety and clarity for the youth to just catch their breath.

How did your community react to your project? Have they been encouraged to get involved in any other ways?
Yes, we have had Carter’s Counselling Services and Possibilities Recovery Center decide to continue to the programming and start bringing additional services and drop in programs to youth in need.



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