The Institute has provided an opportunity to create a space for programs focused on equity and inclusion on campus to work collaboratively and enhance each other’s work. Since its inception, the Institute has successfully added the following new programs:
Offered under four categories:
- Capacity-building workshops and classroom presentations, which include the new fYrefly in Schools program;
- Training and development of youth leaders at all Camp fYrefly locations;
- Development of a campus-wide Safe Spaces Initiative and staff resource network; and
- Leading edge policymaking and its implementation starting with staff training, and resource development.
The Institute’s Family Resilience Project operates year-round to provide professional supports, resources, and counseling for SGM children, youth, and families. This intensive work is transforming lives through the development of community supports, increased advocacy, and new models of care that promote resilience and positive identity development. The Family Resilience Project also offers two social/support groups - for parents and for trans and gender questioning youth.
The ComprehensiveHealth Education Workers’ (C.H.E.W.) Project provides sexual, mental, physical, and social health education and outreach to 12 to 29 year olds, with special foci on MSM (males who have sex with males) and trans-spectrum (transgender and gender nonconforming) youth subpopulations among other vulnerable SGM (sexual and gender minority) youth.
Key emphases include HIV and STI awareness, harm reduction, and prevention (promoting sexual health), addressing risk behaviour (promoting mental and physical health), gender and sexual identity development (physical, mental, and social health); coming out, suicide ideation, body image, and depression (social and mental health); and testing and sex positivity (sexual health).
This is the Institute’s award-winning summer youth leadership program for SGM and allied youth. Each summer, Camp fYrefly offers programs in three locations, which include Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatchewan with camps alternating between Saskatoon and Regina each year. At Camp fYrefly, young people engage in over 25 arts-informed workshops, which strive to develop personal resiliency and leadership skills to support them in becoming agents for positive social change in their schools, families, and communities.
Over 1000 youth have attended Camp fYrefly since its inception and can attest to the transformative power of the Camp to not only change, but also save lives. It is our hope to continue to expand Camp fYrefly across Canada, to serve more outstanding youth, and build an empowering wave of support across the country.
This initiative strives to make campus life better for SGM students at the University of Alberta. A campus-wide safe spaces program has been established, which includes a staff resource network, with members in every faculty on campus. In March 2013, as an extension of our Safe Spaces work on campus, iSMSS and partners hosted the first-ever Pride Week at the University of Alberta. The Institute also provides the Michael Phair Leadership Award, which is an endowed scholarship that provides two $1,000 scholarships to undergraduate students who have demonstrated exceptional community service and leadership to LGBTQ communities on and off campus.
An educational initiative designed as university-community outreach for junior and senior high school students. Workshops are free and available upon request to all schools. All workshops are facilitated by an experienced teacher, peer-led, and feature activities focused on inclusive language, positive identity development, and the creation of a discrimination free educational environment.
Since being launched on September 26, 2012, the Institute’s NoHomophobes.com project has attracted 3.5 million page views and been listed on the 2013 TheGayUK New Year's Recognition List. This project raises awareness about the shocking prevalence and damaging nature of causal homophobia online and has attracted international attention and interest, having been featured by more than 50 different world-wide media outlets including the Economist, Atlantic, Guardian, and Independent.
In essence, this educational project is focused on using social media for social good. The second phase of the NoHomophobes.com project analyzes content by using crowd-sourcing techniques and computer machine learning to better understand how derogatory language manifests online.