Our mission is to help Indigenous young women and girls overcome systemic barriers by providing life skills, foundational learning and literacy, and advocacy for themselves, their families and their communities. We strive to provide a space where they feel comfortable to express their feelings, past experiences, traumas and hurts. We offer a friendly and caring environment that respects their individuality and freedom of thought. Your support is vital as we continue to educate and empower the girls, their families and their communities.
For 23 years, we’ve designed and tested the Stardale Model for the enlightenment of females as a multi–disciplinary approach to community development, culture, education, healing, social inclusion, prior learning, and social justice.
Stardale takes a two world view and includes Indigenous literacy which is a learner–centred approach to lifelong learning that honours the interconnectedness of all aspects of creation for personal empowerment, community development and self–determination. Indigenous literacy encompasses first languages, elder involvement, culture and community in a holistic developmental approach to unify mind, heart, body and spirit.
Mandate of Stardale:
Program Activities embedded in the Stardale Model framework: Over the many years of service delivery, Stardale has initiated programming through group dynamics, whereby, the sharing has vastly similar experiences and realities.
Teaching Approach: Stardale’s programming format is multi-dimensional, but for the period of 2005 to the present it may be best understood by grouping healing strategies under two the broad, non-exclusive headings: the artistic and the communal. Art is employed as a healing tool in the program framework by adapting the woman’s sacred circles to work in harmony with the art, allowing an entire new dimension of [self-/ group- /ancestral-] awareness. It is a portal for the awakening of the young girls’ spirit. The art heals by freeing their creativity and expression, and resonating in their bodies, minds and spirits. When working within the group context, the healing becomes transpersonal. It connects one to another; it is an art of interconnection. The art may become ceremonial, environmental, performance or static. Whatever the art form is, the community becomes directly and indirectly involved. Stardale exploits the benefits of the support group and the mentorship relationship as educational tools, to enhance the girl’s development and to overcome self –destructive behaviours.
For the past ten years in Calgary and area, Stardale has worked with over six hundred Indigenous girls, who are at-risk for experiencing violence, sexual exploitation and other destructive behaviours in their lives.
“I’m so glad we were able to get you on the program and am also glad we were able to get the girls there. They really are delightful. I really commend you for the great work you are doing through Stardale. It’s a terrific program and one can tell that you are really making a difference in the lives of these young ladies” – Steve Allen past president of the Rotary, CEO Canadian Tourism Commission, Vice Chair of the Calgary Stampede Foundation.
Awards and Recognition: Although not solicited, over the years Stardale has received recognition for its work. Most recently, these include:
Priorities: Stardale has taken an approach to Indigenous girl’s issues by giving credence to social constructs that can create a potential for harm. Such constructs have been the sexual exploitation of the girl/ child through the media, through the internet, through prostitution and more. We have identified and widened the scope to protect the vulnerable due to their age, poverty, and subjection. We have examined many of the activities that create, maintain or exploit the girl child. What does constitute a means of prevention and combats the sexual exploitation of the girl/child? The Stardale Women’s Group has introduced social and cultural activities through a diversionary process which strengths resiliency and combats destructive behaviours. Stardale will continue to explore dynamic intersections of art and mentorship and to advocate for Indigenous female youth by “honouring our girls stories”.
Goal: To introduce an educational footprint for Indigenous girls in Calgary and area that incorporates a preventative model of life skills and literacy that builds resiliency among the girls against exposure of destructive behaviours.
The Stardale program is open to all Indigenous girls aged 10-17 and targets those girls in particular who may be at-risk or at high-risk of destructive behaviour and/or whose families are financially vulnerable. The girls who come to Stardale are referred through various sources. I.E. school counsellors, teachers, social workers, agencies, and word of mouth. Also, we have referrals through visiting our website and word of mouth. All participants will be fully informed about the goals of the project. Girls will need to have consent given by a legal guardian, and this will be arranged before the program commencement. Stardale, in conjunction with each referral source, will facilitate the consent form completion process.
The culturally-sensitive girl-focused content of the program engages girls in the areas of health and wellness, self-confidence, conflict resolution, constructive communication, emotional awareness, and risk-factors for destructive decision-making. The program builds on many unique experiences. This includes: fashion modelling – especially – as a tool for imparting skill sets in etiquette, poise, public speaking, personal hygiene, body awareness, and confidence while challenging the participants to discover a new lens for perceiving and engaging with fashion media. Then there is the dimension of performance art, which opens group discussions to the depths of abuse, violence, traumatic incident, suicide prevention, etc. Physical well-being, body awareness, and coordination are further emphasized in the classes on dance, hoola hooping and running.
Volunteering: Not only does Stardale have a variety of dedicated and loyal women who volunteer with the girls. It is the girls too who are encouraged to volunteer within the community. It is giving back to the community that they feel a deep sense of purpose. The girls have volunteered at the Red and While club for the Minister of Indigenous Affairs – Len Webber, RBC – Stampede BQ on the Eight Ave mall, Clearstream for the Cochrane Rodeo, etc. They really enjoy getting out into the public and demonstrating their self-confidence.
An Artistic Lens for advancing social change: It has been through the communication of creative innovation that Stardale continues to voice the needs of Indigenous youth and the fostering of knowledge from what we learn in our processes of programming that we have developed and experienced.
“We really need a program like this specifically for the girls. They are the forgotten ones.” “Nobody knows how to handle them” – Community Elder Stardale’s focus is to give young Aboriginal girls a leg up in life! No more sliding through the cracks of the system. We want these girls’ lives to matter. We need your support to continue to make this a reality.
I believe that by working with these youth, we will not only provide an immediate safe option for their lives during the time they choose to be in a dance environment, but also be able to provide them with enough tools and support through their natural interest in dance and fashion, so that we may find a way to gently transition them over the course of a year to a point where they could confidently participate in a mainstream dance or performing arts class of their choice. We can then take the lessons we have learned in working with these clients and share our experience with other non-profit arts and service groups working in related areas. Tara Blue – December 11th, 2009
Attention Must Be Paid by Eugene Stickland Posting excerpt: Last night, I attended the Stardale Indigenous Girls Christmas party. (I wrote about my teaching experience with the girls in October in the post titled Do No Harm…) Their confidence and charm and humour came through in all aspects of the evening. So much care and preparation went into the Stardale Christmas party that when I arrived and saw all of them dressed up to the 9’s, I almost felt like running home and putting on my best suit. (If I had a car, I probably would have!) [cont’d]… Read on at: http://eugenestickland.com/2012/12/07/attention-must-be-paid/
By mentoring the girls you will learn about Indigenous cultures as well as the trends of the youth of today. It will give you a picture of the challenges at –risk Indigenous girls must endure on a day to day basis. i.e., Walking to school and being harassed by men who want sex.
Donations may take many forms. Times are tough out there, especially for our cohort. We must continue to aware of the needs of the girls.
Address: #900-903 8 Ave SW, Calgary AB, T2P 0P7
Helen McPhaden - Executive Director
Charity Number: #894942622RR0001Visit our Website