Walking Forward

 Walking Forward‘Walking Forward with Good Medicine’
Grief and Loss Program for Children and Youth

Over the past years, it had become increasingly clear that children and youth require grief and loss programs to address the many losses that they experience.  Most unfortunately, there were few targeted services or programs to address this need and, as a result, there had been an increase in the number of children and youth accessing substance misuse, mental health  and child protection services .  In response, a core group of people (from across disciplines and organizations) set out to develop a new program, built upon generally accepted concepts that many Aboriginal communities recognize as holding significance and value.

Called Walking Forward, the curriculum is divided into 12 one hour sessions to be delivered on a weekly or bi-weekly basis by trained facilitators.  It is adaptable to any audience (age group/cultural traditions) and is based on the core cultural values of wholeness and connectedness, balance, healing and respect.  While the focus of the program is on loss and grief, it is complemented by teachings on and about the Medicine Wheel and Medicine Bags. In addition, it is informed by the work of Bendtro, Brokenleg and Bockern (2004) in the Circle of Courage and the four core values of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity.

The 12 one hour sessions include:

  • Week 1: My Gifts
  • Week 2: Head and Heart
  • Week 3: Stormy Weather and Changing Skies
  • Week 4: Seeking Balance on a Rough Road
  • Week 5: Prickles and Tears
  • Week 6: Worries and Wishes
  • Week 7: The Many Faces of Family
  • Week 8: The People in My Life
  • Week 9: Release and Balance
  • Week 10: The Power of Memories
  • Week 11: Strength in Witnesses
  • Week 12: My Web

The curriculum is complemented by a facilitators guide which provides step-by-step instruction on how best to facilitate the curriculum.  Training is available for people wishing to facilitate a program in their community.

The curriculum, facilitators guides and facilitator training can be accessed by contacting Anne Cochran through the Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council at ac@annecochran.ca

Melissa Nielsen facilitates Walking Forward. You can view Melissa’s bio here.