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First Nation Zippy
Zippy has travelled far and wide over the past 20 years, since his first trip to Copenhagen to meet the pilot groups of Danish children. But one of the most remote places he’s reached recently is the Long Point First Nation Reservation of Winneway, over 600 km north of Montreal in the province of Quebec, Canada. With Lorraine Millette, Canadian Programme Coordinator, to help him along, Zippy travelled by plane and then by car to reach this community of around 900 Algonquin Anishinaabe people, deep in the forest of northern Quebec. Along roads built for timber trucks, he reached the clean, well-run reservation which contains a brand new, beehive-shaped school for elementary and secondary children, a youth centre, an elder centre, a community centre , a government services building and a fire department.
Zippy had been invited to Winneway by Arlene Laliberté, who came from the area and studied with Michel Tousigant, professor and colleague of Brian Mishara at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM). Now a clinician, Arlene decided to offer Zippy and Passport to the community after seeing how effective the programmes were. With drug and alcohol abuse causing problems in the reservation, Arlene saw the value of programmes that would promote positive coping skills. She liked the fact that the programmes don’t stigmatise children, and there’s freedom to bring in aspects of local customs and beliefs into the sessions.
Lorraine trained two future trainers, as well as teachers and school counsellors, in both Zippy’s Friends and Passport, with the aim of making the programmes sustainable for the future in this little school. As the children are being taught in English, their second language, the teachers will go slowly with the programmes and spread Zippy’s Friends and Passport over grades 1 – 5.