Youth Leadership and Resilience Program

Brief Description

Youth from the Kainai (Blood) Reserve live in a community with some challenges, including poverty, drugs, alcohol abuse, and violence. These can be multi-generational issues which place some youth at high risk of committing crimes. The community is also home to many strong role models and caring Elders. The Youth Leadership and Resilience (YLR) Program draws on these strengths to improve youth outcomes by engaging at-risk youth through in-class programming, adventure activities, and community service.


The main goals of the YLR program are to:

  • Increase school grades;
  • Increase the high school graduation rate;
  • Increase youths' self-esteem and self-worth;
  • Foster positive adult relationships;
  • Increase youths' attachment to school;
  • Increase trust and foster trust with authority;
  • Increase youths' sense of empathy and compassion;
  • Foster a hope for the future;
  • Create attachment to family, community and peers; and
  • Increase awareness of cultural origin and identity.


The appropriate clientele for the program is 14 - 19 year old Aboriginal youth who are students at either the local high school or alternative school, that have current involvement with, or are at risk of, school attrition, violence and abuse, criminality, addiction, teen parenthood, and mental health issues.  Participants enter the program in Grade 9 and remain involved through the rest of their high school career.  From 2009 – 2014, over 300 students participated in the program.

Core Components

The core components of the YLR program include the following:

  • Building capacity in terms of cultural strengths, education promotion, physical health, and mental health; and
  • Activities created from this program included; School-based resiliency groups (i.e. Impulse control), Community engagement (i.e. Kainai Wellness Pancake Breakfast), Adventure activities (i.e. Rock Climbing), Wrap-around services, as well as Cultural support and engagement.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: The Canadian Red Cross is a not-for-profit humanitarian organization dedicated to mobilizing the power of humanity to reduce the suffering of vulnerable people around the world. Locally, the organization has a strong emphasis on violence and abuse prevention, primarily within an Aboriginal context.  As such the Canadian Red Cross is an established organization that had the full capacity to carry out this project
  • Partnerships: This project was a partnership between: Kainai Wellness Centre, Blood Tribe Department of Health, Blood Tribe Recreation and Parks, Kainai Children’s Services, Kainai Community Corrections, Crime Prevention, Blood Tribe Communications, Kainai High School, Kainai Board of Education, Kainai Alternative Academy, Blood Tribe Police, anf Blood Tribe Mental Health
  • Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

The project was run on the Blood Tribe Reserve near Standoff, AB from May 2009 – March 2014.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

A social return on investment (SROI) has been conducted on the YLR program. The findings from this study have shown the following:

  • The ratio for the YLR program is 1.05:1 over three years, indicating that for every dollar invested in the program, $1.05 of social value is created; and
  • SROI Indicators included in the calculation are: stay in women’s shelter avoided, counselling services avoided, addictions treatment avoided, incarceration for selling drugs/violence, youth court avoided, income support avoided (single adult living with relatives and single adult living with 1 child), subsidized housing avoided, and adult court avoided.


Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: Youth Leadership and Resiliency program. Recipient of Safe Communities Innovation Fund, Government of Alberta. Available from: 

For more information on this program, contact:

The Canadian Red Cross Society

Shirley Diaz

Telephone: (403)327-7117


Record Entry Date - 2018-03-15
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
Date modified: