James Bay Girls At Bat
Between 2009 and 2011, approximately 600 children and youth in First Nations communities west of James Bay considered or attempted suicide, according to testimonies compiled by the local Mushkegowuk Council. On April 9, 2016, the Chief of Attawapiskat First Nation declared a state of emergency after 11 attempts of suicide occurred in a single day. As a result, the youth in Attawapiskat and in neighbouring communities are uniting to speak about what their communities need to overcome the suicide crisis and how they can drive this change. Inspired by stories of resilience, a collective and passionate group of organizations across Canada have partnered with Jays Care Foundation in the design and implementation of the James Bay Girls At Bat program.
James Bay Girls At Bat is increasing the amount of programming available for youth in nine First Nations along the James Bay coast. The program works with Indigenous female youth who want to strengthen their leadership skills and who are willing to try leading programming for their peers. The program is predicated on the understanding that some of the best programming available to youth around the world is designed and led by youth.
Jays Care has committed to being the backbone organization in this long-term collective impact initiative. Working to support the design and delivery of the program are a long list of passionate and experienced community members from each of the following First Nations: Moose Cree First Nation, Taykwa Tagamou Nation, Fort Albany First Nation, Kashechewan First Nation, Wapekeka First Nation Attawapiskat First Nation, Chapleau Cree First Nation, Wahgoshig First Nation and Peawanuck First Nation. In addition, more than 20 charitable and non-profit organizations, government ministries and Indigenous agencies have teamed up to help ensure that the design and delivery are sound and culturally responsive.