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Healthy Girls, Healthy Young Women

William Whyte Community School (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
School Division: Winnipeg School Division
Student Population (approximate): 296
Grade Level: N-8

Contact: Darlene Searcy
Phone Number: 204-589-4313

Health Topics:

  • Self esteem, Body image
  • Healthy Relationships

Individuals Involved

  • School psychologist, Aboriginal Consultant for Inner City, and guidance counsellor
  • Female students

Target Group:

  •  At risk girls


We organized a Girls Group to meet once a week for eight weeks in the Art Room.
The objective was to explore our past, present and future in the context of Art Therapy and creativity. 

William Whyte has not had a Guidance Program in many years and many of our students are at-risk when choosing a healthy lifestyle and making good choices for their future.  Half of the eight girls who were asked to join the program are responsible for looking after younger siblings in the home during times that they are not at school so it was important to schedule the class during school hours.

A number of books were purchased to start us off including: "Girls Making Links" by Tanis Dick and Lisa Passante which primarily uses creativity to build self-esteem, positive relationships and leadership skills; "Salvaging Sisterhood" by Julia Taylor which used small group counselling techniques for lessons and activities. These gave us some guidance on working with the group of girls who did not necessarily 'hang-out' with each other in or out of school hours.

A healthy snack was provided at each meeting for the girls.  We opened the activity with a Sharing Circle and the passing of a Grandmother Rock; we gave thanks, made observations, provided encouragement and most importantly listened during this time.

We enlisted the expertise of Ruth Murdock for one meeting at the mid-way point of the eight classes.  Ruth is a storyteller with an Aboriginal background and she shared many lessons through her long history and the stories that were passed down to her through her own female relatives and elders.  The students were incredibly enriched by this experience.

We purchased Art Supplies since using your hands to create objects of art that define and explore the topic at hand; some of which were: Know Thyself Our Roots Our Present A Future of our own Self Esteem is Me The Tree of Life My T-Shirt My Body.

We purchased T shirts and fabric paint for the students and had an end of program lunch during which we talked about our gifts to our self and our gifts for others.  A closing circle was held to celebrate our learning.



Healthy Schools is a partnership of:
Health, Seniors and Active Living
Education and Training | Healthy Child Manitoba