Women's Network program provides support to at-risk girls

Journal Pioneer staff
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The crime prevention program, Girls Circle, is making a difference for at-risk girls on P.E.I., said Gail Shea, minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Egmont MP.

Egmont MP and Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea (from left) recently discussed the success of the Women’s Network P.E.I. Program, Girls Circle, with Sara Roach-Lewis, executive director of Women’s Network P.E.I., and Pam Atkinson, project co-ordinator. The Government of Canada provided $682,823 over three years to support this project.  

Operated by the Women’s Network P.E.I., Girls Circle is helping girls, aged 10 to 12, avoid involvement in criminal activities by providing support services that focus on increasing positive connections, personal strengths and competencies, as well as connecting participants to their community.

The Girls Circle program is preventative in that it builds on girls’ existing strengths and gives them solid, real-life applicable skills, which help them to build resiliency and good mental health. They have built critical thinking skills, confidence, and feel better equipped to make value-based and healthy decisions about their lives.

“Through this project, we are offering life skills that help at-risk girls make smart choices in their lives,” said Shea.

Michelle MacCallum, youth program manager with Women’s Network, described Girls Circle as “a wonderful program that supports our community to work with girls to address risk factors and build protective factors. Things like exposure to addictions, physical and sexual violence, mental health issues, relational bullying, etc. put youth at risk for both victimization and criminalization.”

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