Gift Of The Gabs

October 14, 2008 09:00 ET

Canada Pioneers Innovatory Social Confidence Programme

EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Oct. 14, 2008) - A world-first project tackling a range of personal addictions via a ground-breaking social confidence programme is to be launched at Cambridge Bay in Nunavut on October 19th.

Developed from innovative teaching techniques, Gift Of The Gabs originated in Scotland to help underperforming school pupils, and then trialled in South African townships, with the Canadian programme being the first full implementation. It will focus on young women, mostly teenagers, who are out of school, out of work, and who have had, or are having, babies. The second group will be young men, all with drug and alcohol addiction.

It will involve the whole community (population 1,500, predominantly Inuit) and is designed to help tackle addictions to drugs, sex, gambling and unhealthy food. It will be coordinated by the Wellness Centre located in Cambridge Bay and funded from its Solvent Abuse Program.

Gift Of The Gabs (GOTG)is based on building the 'Four Cs' - confidence, character, communication skills and good citizenship - and was originally developed to help school pupils, resulting in measurable advancement in the individual's confidence and academic performance, while improving classroom discipline.

Its originator, Libby Hammond, comments:

"GOTG has a particularly profound effect on youngsters termed as potential NEETS - young people not in Education, Employment or Training, a social category attracting increasing concern.

"We visited Cambridge Bay in February this year and met the Wellness Centre team led by Director Rhonda Reid and have developed a customised programme to meet the needs of the community. Part of this preparation involved spending 10 days in South Africa running a trial with townships facing major social challenges, including serious drug problems and high rates of childbirth against a backdrop of high level HIV and AIDs problems.

"The first full social confidence programme will be at Cambridge Bay, and although the focus is on two groups of young people, the core values based on Respect, Honesty and Healthy Choices are being introduced to the whole community."

Rhonda Reid, Director, Cambridge Bay Wellness Centre, continues:

"The Gift Of The Gabs team will work directly with the two groups to help them understand how to make better life decisions. The team will also deliver training sessions on GOTG techniques for individuals drawn from the whole community who will shadow the team and continue the work after the GOTG personnel depart.

"In February next year GOTG personnel will return, assess the progress made, fine tune the programme and we will then continue to deliver this important means of helping individuals tackle their problems, find employment and become valued members of the community once again.

"It is tremendous that Cambridge Bay is going to be at the forefront of a social programme that could have significance not just here in Canada, but right around the world."

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