The Kenora Chiefs Advisory has been providing the Wiisokodaadig Program for youth since 2008. In 2015 the program was given the name Wiisokodaadig through a ceremony by Elder Andy White. The previous name was the Peer Helpers Program. The program is funded by Save the Children Canada, with whom Kenora Chiefs Advisory has developed a positive and strong working relationship. It is also funded by FNHIB. The program is managed by the Director of Mental Health and Addictions Program, and is delivered by the Wiisokodaadig Coordinator. In addition, the Team Leaders and Case Managers of the Mental Health & Additions Team help with presentations and debriefing support during the training program. The program’s goal is to build community capacity by providing peer support training to youth. This training is based on the teen experience and reality of daily life in communities. It is a two-tiered approach of suicide prevention and helping at-risk youth cope, build resilience and confidence while experiencing life challenges.
The curriculum of the Wiisokodaadig Program has been adapted to the culture and teachings of the Anishinaabeg to ensure cultural continuity. The Wiisokodaadig Program utilizes the Anishinaabe Circle model (holistic approach) as the foundation for the program, in order to facilitate the teachings of becoming a confident Wiisokodaadig Peer Helper. The framework is based on the four aspects of a person: mind (mental), body (physical), spirit (spiritual), and heart (emotional). Within each quadrant, there are modules that correspond with the Seven Sacred Teachings. The program consists of two parts. Both parts are guided by the Anishinaabe Circle through the four doorways: North, East, South and West. Part I begins in the East – Spiritual, which covers modules regarding Anishinaabe identity, history, and culture. The next doorway for Part I continues in the South – Physical, which covers topics related to individuals, families, and communities. Part II begins in the West – Mental, which covers comprehensive modules involving Mental Wellness, Problem Solving, and Leadership. The final doorway for both Parts I & II is in the North – Emotional, which covers understanding, navigating and sharing the emotional aspects of life.