Civic Belonging in a Northern Resource Economy: At-Risk Youth Re-connection in Northwest Alberta
Principal Investigator/Project Director: Dr. Connie Korpan
Researcher: Dawn Moffat McMaster
“Our hope is that the young co-researchers will gain a means of contributing to social change and feel empowered by the experience.” – Dr. Korpan on the use of Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) in the Civic Belonging Study.
This project represents the first regional use of YPAR. This Community Enhancement Research project will address the issue of low community connection and engagement among youth in resource-dependent northern Alberta communities. Lack of community connection and engagement is associated with higher instances of poverty and crime, lower levels of education attainment and other poor social outcomes. Young people are especially likely to report low connection and engagement, and recent evidence suggests that many people living in northwestern Alberta communities experience a relatively poor sense of place belonging.
Korpan, Moffat McMaster, and their co-researchers will perform interview research with engaged and disengaged youth in Jasper and Grande Prairie to identify factors that aggravate and mitigate community connection. They will use Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), which involves recruiting students and other young people in the community to act as co-researchers.
Identify the relationship between northern resource economy contexts and youth sense of connection, how this relationship affects youth decisions, and how, in turn, these decisions affect connection and belonging.
Furnish municipal leaders, social support funders, agencies, and service providers with evidence to inform funding priorities, identify service needs and overlaps, and to capitalize on existing community strengths.
- City of Grande Prairie – Community and Social Development
- Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta
- RCMP Grande Prairie Detachment
- Sunrise House
- Jasper Community Team