Our mission is to work with traumatized and marginalized youth who live high-risk lifestyles. We work with young people to help them find their creativity, a sense of belonging, and a sense of themselves in a world that neglects and rejects them. At iHuman, young people are supported by our staff to obtain housing, get mental health and addiction support, and build on their creative strengths as artists.
At iHuman, young people begin to recognize they are more than the negative stereotypes they have been labelled, more than their actions, and that they have the agency to create their own identity and life for themselves and their children.

 
 

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Most of the youth that come to iHuman Youth Society have had to learn the hard way how to survive on the streets of Edmonton. They are defensive, angry, and in most cases not thinking very clearly (usually due to drugs).
iHuman takes one step at a time with these kids, helping them tend to their basic needs of clothing, food, and shelter first. From there, trust starts to build.


  • Aged 12 to 24 years old.
  • 60 to 80 youth per day.
  • Aboriginal youth make up a significant portion.
  • We serve youth from every demographic and socio-economic group.
  • Vulnerable / Traumatized
  • Dysfunctional Family: Abuse/Neglect
  • Gangs / Life on the Streets
  • Illiteracy
  • Drugs / Addictions
  • Mental Health Issues
  • Poverty & Homelessness
  • Criminality & Incarceration
  • FAS Children
  • Live rough on the streets
Often known to Criminal Justice and Child Welfare Systems

Health care, education an opportunity are distant dreams not accessible ‘social services’

Our youth are often disenfranchised from other services because of the high-risk nature of their lifestyles and needs.

Feel no sense of self-worth.

They have nothing to hope for. Hope for a stable and happy life has been taken away from them.

The multiple challenges faced by traumatized youth such as poverty, homelessness, addictions, mental health issues, gang affiliations, abuse and violence requires iHuman to be adaptive.

Youth have lived and experienced the raw and ugly outcomes made from the imperfections in our social fabric.

Youth live in a dangerous world where violence against them is an everyday fact of life.

Some youth may have been ignored or abandoned by those entrusted with their care.

The “iHuman Trust Compass” enables youth to regain their bearing in life through adaptive engagement with a balanced program of services including:

Caring
Creativity
Authenticity

These all help to build trust and lead to positive personal and social change.

The authentic culture at the iHuman Youth Society is one of acceptance, openness and a genuine willingness to support youth.

iHuman never gives up on anyone. We never turn a youth down.

Through iHuman’s youth outreach programs, Edmonton youth are able to rebuild trust, reconnect with the community, and plan out a practical and positive future. iHuman is all about creating workable pathways for Edmonton youth to live healthy lives. Through these pathways, iHuman staff work with youth to establish a support system and build trust relationships.

Establish a support system that covers basic needs including safe shelter, food, mental and physical health care.

Our outreach workers develop a trust relationship and bond with youth to deliver personal and individualized service to address needs.

Collaboration & connection with a variety of social service agencies is key.

iHuman enjoys a strong working relationship with over 35 community and corporate partners as well as over 125 committed volunteers.

Through creativity, youth empower themselves to make positive changes towards healthy life choices.

Emotions such as anger, fear and sorrow are put into a more realistic and balanced perspective.

Trauma becomes transformed into a healing energy that allows youth to move forward with life.

Art Studio Program
Sculpting, Painting, Drawing, Print making

Music Studio Program
Youth write, compose and perform their songs, raps or beats. Often the music speaks to their experiences on the street or in life.

Textile Studio Program
Youth draw, design and sew their fashion pieces or dance regalia.

Youth Led Programs
(this is why our programs are successful, i.e. youth have ownership over the outcomes)

Life Skills Development

Natural talents redirected = positive contributing community members.

Woven Journey
Helps young moms develop their parenting skills, deepen or form attachments to their children, and develop life skills and education goals.

Friday Night Challenge
Weekly meeting and activities to support their peers in their goals to remain clean and sober. (Keeps youth off the street and out of trouble)

iHuman our name comes from an Inuit term identifying the symbiotic relationship of the individual within the collective community; ‘one for all and all for one’.


WHEN PASSION MEETS PASSION

When a passion for art was combined with a passion for helping troubled youth – the magic of iHuman and Social Innovation was born.

iHuman is an Edmonton non profit organization that was first formed by Wallis Kendal and Sandra Bromley in 1997. Its original goal was to support arts activities that led to positive social change. Kendal and Bromley first encountered a small group of youth while they were working on the Gun Sculpture www.gunsculpture.com a five-tonne anti-violence art project. Since many of the youth had troubled pasts and the Gun Sculpture was constructed out of actual deactivated weapons, they decided to redirect and mentor the youth in an anti-violence initiative called the Red Tear. This project premiered at the Art Gallery of Alberta in 2000.

By the time the project ended, the group of Edmonton youth at risk had grown to twelve with many more showing interest. Kendal and Bromley continued to mentor these high-risk youth until iHuman received its first grant two years later, at which time iHuman’s first employee was hired. As more youth came to iHuman, it became obvious to the founders that iHuman would have to expand further and provide youth services (support and outreach), as well asarts training.

Today, iHuman has become a youth-driven entity that develops programs solely for youth, responds to youth’s changing needs, and uses the arts as a positive engagement tool.

  • We never give up on youth.
  • We respect youth as unique individuals.
  • We listen to youth and their needs and we change our programs according to demand.
  • We remain attractive to youth. We won’t become too institutional.
  • We are non-judgmental.
  • We promote opportunities for self-expression (e.g., in art work). It is empowering for youth who must feel they are heard.
  • We are open to all high-risk youth between the ages of 12 and 24, unconditionally.
  • We are committed to developing mentors among youth and want our staff to grow with them (personal development at all levels and for all concerned).
  • We value opportunities for youth to advance in life and make positive contributions in society.
  • We want youth to feel connected to iHuman as a family: supported to be healthy and productive while learning to maximize their own unique abilities.
iHuman has helped hundreds of youth that have beaten the odds, broken the cycle and become healthy members of our community.

Partnership and Success

  • U of A Partnership
  • Boyle McCauley Health Centre
  • Mental Health Clinic (LiNKS) Justice Canada
  • Leader in Social Innovation
  • Social Payback: $5-6 Million per youth (over a lifetime) we are successful at saving.
  • Global leader in harnessing the “Power of Creativity” to create dynamic and healthy communities.
2005 TIME MAGAZINE (CANADIAN EDITION)
Canadian Hero honour to Wallis Kendal for his work with high risk youth.

2006 UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA
Alumni Honour Award to Wallis Kendal for his work with high risk youth.

2006 KAISER FOUNDATION
Excellence in Youth Leadership awarded to Brianna Olson, iHuman Social Worker.

2011 DUNCAN & CRAIG LAUREL AWARD
Recognizing the Innovation & Creativity of Not for Profit OrganizationsGold Laurel Award for “High Risk Youth Uncensored: An Educational Exchange (Uncensored)”.

2012 LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR’S CIRCLE ON MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION TRUE AWARDS (INAUGURAL YEAR)
True Imagination Award to iHuman Youth Society: presented to an individual, group, or public, private or non-governmental organization that has initiated imaginative approaches to the improvement of mental health and reduction of addiction through treatment or programs.

2012 LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR’S CIRCLE ON MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION TRUE AWARDS (INAUGURAL YEAR)
True Grit Award to iHuman Youth Society: presented to an individual who has made use of mental health and/or addiction services and has inspired others in their own recoveries or dedicated her/himself to furthering mental health and addiction programs.

ADDITIONAL AWARDS TO YOUTH RESTORATIVE ACTION PROJECT (YRAP) WHICH WAS INITIATED BY IHUMAN BUT BECAME ITS OWN NON-PROFIT (2003) BY THE TIME THESE AWARDS WERE ISSUED.

2003 CITY OF EDMONTON, EDMONTON YOUTH COUNCIL
Youth Investment Award to “Youth Restorative Action Project (YRAP).

2004 ROYAL COMMONWEALTH SOCIETY – COMMONWEALTH YOUTH
Programme Commonwealth Youth Gold Award for “Youth
Restorative Action Project (YRAP).

2004 CITY OF EDMONTON, EDMONTON YOUTH COUNCIL
Youth Investment Award to “Youth Restorative Action Project (YRAP).

2004 RECOGNIZING IMMIGRANT SUCCESS AND ENDEAVOURS (RISE)
RISE Award to ” Youth Restorative Action Project (YRAP).

2004 GOVERNMENT OF CANADA, RESTORATIVE JUSTICE AWARD
Ron Wiebe Award to “Youth Restorative Action Project (YRAP).

2004 ALBERTA SOLICITOR GENERAL
Certificate of Achievement to iHuman Youth Society and YRAP for “Promoting Community Safety and Crime Prevention”.

Youth Characteristics:

  • Resiliency
  • Highly Talented
  • Creativity
  • Loyalty
  • Perseverance
  • Protector Instincts
  • Ingenuity
  • Leadership
  • Ambition

 


Mentorship: Youth help warn and divert other high-risk youth from following a destructive path (responsibility to themselves and the community). The positive outcomes iHuman works toward are:
  • Confidence and self-esteem.
  • Enhanced and informed decision-making skills.
  • Identifying personal strengths and creating a future plan.
  • Developing a support network.
  • Basic training in nutrition, cooking on a budget, health and child care.
  • The creation of personal inventories and strategies that will assist with unexpected problems and/or bad days.
  • Stability and practical skills that will encourage healthy life choices and re-integration into the community.