FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth)
Description of Program
What is the intervention/program/project?
FOXY uses the arts, public speaking, theatre, and storytelling to let teenage girls express their knowledge, opinions, and questions about sex, sexual health, and relationships. In Phase I, staff and adolescent peer leaders have facilitated day-long workshops at schools across the Northwest Territories (NT). Various arts-based activities, including drama and body mapping, help to facilitate discussion and sexual health education for participants.
Phase II of FOXY is a peer-led leadership retreat which expands on the day-long workshops to offer a weekend of drumming, photography, music, story-telling, leadership development, and facilitation skills. Participants identify issues that youth are facing in their own communities and develop arts-based projects to address these issues in their home communities. Phase III of FOXY will build on lessons learned to offer another Peer Leader Retreat in summer 2014 that includes additional arts-based methods such as digital storytelling and an enhanced use of social media.
What is the goal/objective of the intervention/program/project?
The ultimate goal of the project is for FOXY to become a phenomenon and to be able to reach all young women in the North. The project aims to build skills for young women in negotiating around sexual health and to develop a network of strong young Northern women.
Why was the intervention/program/project originally developed?
The project lead grew up in the North and conducted her graduate research in the region, interviewing young women about sexual health and resource needs. She found that there were gaps in the sexual health education conducted in schools for young women, and that many young women experienced difficulties asserting themselves with their partners. Young women wanted hands on, fun and more relevant sexual health education. Arts emerged as a good way to do this work and facilitated a new way of learning.
How was the intervention/program/project developed?
Staff from Northern V Network (a group that produces the “Vagina Monologues”) and the FOXY project lead began writing a workshop together and conducted focus testing in two communities. They found that something was missing in the workshops. They approached a 17-year old girl who was part of the “Vagina Monologues” production and brought her with them to conduct a workshop. The peer-to-peer piece was what was missing and dramatically changed the outcome of the workshop. They then focus tested the workshop in 3 more communities before beginning to write the program manual and offering the “complete” workshop approximately 25 more times in 15 communities across the NT.
OrganizationInstitute for Circumpolar Health Research
Name: Candice Lys
Position: Project Lead
Nearly every school in NWT and an annual Peer Leader Retreat in Blackford Lake, NWT
Project ResourcesNot yet available
Resources for Program
Two staff and Peer Leaders to conduct workshops.
Long-term sustainable funding.
Travel (currently almost every Northern airline provides free flights or discounts to the FOXY project).
Workshop and art supplies.
Clothing, condom cases, stickers, etc branded with the FOXY logo, as branding has been an important component for FOXY’s success.
Process and outcomes evaluation
- Independent evaluator extensively evaluates FOXY. Project is also a component of project lead’s doctoral research.
Audience/client feedback or evaluation
- Pre/post surveys on knowledge with participants, 6 month follow-up from peer leadership retreat with participants, focus groups at the end of the retreat with participants, one-on-one interviews with facilitators, counselor, Elder and others involved with the Peer Leader Retreat.
Evaluation TermsAudience/client feedback and satisfaction, Outcome evaluation, Output tracking, Process monitoring or evaluation
The importance of projects developed by Northerners for Northerners.
The importance of peer leaders. Everything that is done is directly developed or modified in partnership with peer leaders.
The importance of flexibility/adaptability. Travelling in the North can be challenging, with missed flights and weather delays. Flexibility and adaptability need to be built into the program.
Partners are everything. It is essential to maintain good relationships with the gatekeepers in schools that do the work in communities that FOXY staff cannot accomplish from a distance (e.g., consent forms, etc).
The importance of food. Critical learnings often come out while participants eat lunch together.
The value of arts-based education. A suitcase full of props encourages girls to get up and act out scenarios.
Evaluations and evidence-based knowledge is extremely important. Evaluations that are written for funders are drastically different than evaluations written for the program.
Partner with media and invite them to everything. The media can be a project’s best ally.
Offering school-based programming can be challenging and unpredictable. Schools are busy and it takes time to gain initial access. Once the first workshop is held, it is easier to access the school the next time.
It can be a challenge for girls to get out of school for a whole day.
The cost of travel in the North is almost prohibitive. FOXY is fortunate to have partnerships with airlines.
Applying for funding takes time and resources.