Kids Help Phone helps others speak out
by Jillian Pavlin
“Break the Silence of Violence” conference enlightens
The upcoming “Break the Silence of Violence” conference will attempt to enlighten Regina residents, specifically young women, in regards to the increasing levels of female youth gangs, prostitution and bullying in the city.
This year’s conference will take place on Wednesday, October 20 and is the sixth to be held in Regina.
“This conference is a great opportunity for people in human justice or social work at the university level to learn more about this issue,” says Gaylene Ryan-Jeannot, Kids Help Phone regional director for Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Janice Solomon, a City of Regina representative, has taken part in the organization of three previous “Break the Silence of Violence” conferences, including those dealing with family violence and addiction within the city. Solomon says that the conference has always been well attended and that it has appealed to service providers who do not have the opportunity to attend more expensive conferences often held outside of Regina.
This year’s theme centres on youth violence involving females, but Solomon wants both genders to take an interest.
“We have chosen this year’s approach because [female violence] is a growing trend in Regina and we feel that our young students-in-training should be aware of locally-based problems, but we want both males and females to attend and take part.”
The conference will begin at 8:30 a.m., at the Pearl and Max B. Herman Centre, and will continue until 4:30 p.m. The complete conference fee is $75.
Money earned from the conference allows organizers to offer a free public event for those who are unsure as to what the conference entails, but are interested in learning more.
This portion of the conference will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Evening events include an information fair, a panel discussion from conference presenters and a dramatic presentation by the “Youth Voice Theatre Group.”
“We are including locally-based talent and we are dealing with locally-based issues,” says Solomon. As a result, she says, “We speak to service providers who do frontline work on the streets with our youth.”
Regina Hadassah-WIZO and Regina Crime Prevention Commission of the City of Regina jointly organize the “Break the Silence of Violence” conference.
As the conference is receiving support from Kids Help Phone, Kids Help Phone representative Shelley Levitz will deliver the conference’s opening address, on “what [her organization] has learned in over 15 years about girls and violence.”
While Kids Help Phone is playing an active role in the province, Ryan-Jeannot says that university students do not consider themselves “children” anymore and therefore fail to take advantage of its services.
“Kids Help Phone is available to youth ages 4 to 21. We realize that university can be a difficult time for students and that they may need someone to talk to.
“For the mature students who have returned to university and are juggling children and family, as well as school work, we have the Parent Help Line to offer them support and advice.”
In 2003, Kids Help Phone helped more than 413,000 Canadian youth, including 28,300 from Saskatchewan.