THE CHALLENGE FACING OUR COMMUNITY
While there has been significant number of positive steps toward the inclusion of the trans community in recent years, trans and gender diverse individuals, and youth in particular, continue to experience significant systemic and social discrimination in near every facet of their lives causing significant impact on their physical and psychological wellbeing.
We see these impacts spelt out with sobering clarity in recent research conduced by the ‘Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey’ and the ‘Trans Pulse Project’:
• 8 in 10 youth reporting not having a signal adult in their lives who they can talk to about their gender identity
• 1 in 3 having been physically or sexually assaulted
• Over 40% of trans individuals have attempted suicide in their lives.
WHO WE ARE
Skipping Stone is a nationally and internationally recognized and acclaimed charitable agency based in Calgary and are leading the way in providing inclusive and affirming care to trans and gender-diverse youth, adults, and families by connecting them to the supports and services that they need and deserve.
In the 6 years since Skipping Stone was founded, we have profoundly changed the narrative around how to provide truly affirming, transformative and often life-saving care to trans and gender diverse youth having supported over 10,000 families in over 30 communities across Alberta in that time.
OUR SOLUTION: COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM
Skipping Stone’s Community Empowerment Program is its core and flagship program.
The program works with trans and gender diverse youth and their families to connect them with the supports, services and skills to navigate and overcome the systemic and social barriers facing transgender and diverse individuals in Calgary and area. Through building personal capacity and a strong community support network, participants in this program are empowered to grow from surviving to thriving.
We employ a ‘for community, by community’ approach in this program ensuring at a minimum of 75% of our staff & program team are trans and gender diverse themselves and use a 2 pronged model:
• ACTIVELY REMOVE BARRIERS – through community-based coaching and counseling to provide immediate support and any needed crisis intervention to both the youth themselves and their families in the short term, and then by developing strong interpersonal relationship skills and community support networks through peer mentoring and group programming.
• DISTRESS TOLERANCE – we acknowledge our clients still need navigate a world outside their community that is far from perfect. As such, our second priority is to empower youth and families with the skills they need to successful navigate challenging experience through programming such as our DBT skills groups, self-advocacy coaching, and capacity building activities.
We have and will continue to measure the impact and success of the program through a combination of qualitative and quantitative measurement tools, including feedback surveys and client interviews. Below are a few highlights of the impact of this program to date:
• 95% have a significant reduction or elimination of suicidal and self-harming thoughts
• A 40% increase in those who self-assess their mental health as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’
• Over 95% have a significant stronger sense of community and coping skills.
In additional, here are a few quotes from feedback interviews:
“You’ve given me so many of the greatest gifts: strength, empowerment, & most importantly, hope.”
“Having someone that understands & can help me navigate has made such a huge difference in my quality of life.”
“I’m so happy and relieved I found this program. It feels like home.”
The pandemic has had an exponentially hard impact on the community we serve and as a result we have seen over a 100% increase in the demand for our services. At the same time, due to the impact our corporate and private donors have also experienced and the inability to host in person fundraising efforts, which together account for over 65% of our program, we are facing a $100,000 shortfall in income for this program for 2022 compared to previous years.
These realities together have created the perfect storm which risks stretched us beyond capacity to be able to provide this life changing program to all who need it. You support can help us overcome this storm and provide access for over 500 new youth and families to access this program in 2022.
We would proudly display your foundation’s logo on all material relating to this program including all print materials for clients, promotional material, digital spaces such as our website as well as social media spotlights.