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U of L researcher studies Macleod’s social inclusion

Sharon Yanicki of the University of Lethbridge

Sharon Yanicki of the University of Lethbridge is studying social inclusion and exclusion in Fort Macleod.

A University of Lethbridge teacher has chosen Fort Macleod for a social inclusion and exclusion project.
Sharon Yanicki, co-ordinator for the public health degree in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Lethbridge, wants to find out how low-income parents with young children feel about being included in – or excluded from – community life in Fort Macleod.
Yanicki is conducting her study with the help of Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre.
“We’ve given her access to our programs and services,” Kids First co-ordinator Susan Simpson said. “That’s where she’ll be doing her observation. We’ve also asked some of our clients and participants to sign a consent form so she can interview them.”
Participation in the study is voluntary, and confidential. No names will be used in the final report.
“I would like to talk to low-income parents with children who are current or past participants in the Kids First Family Centre, including First Nations parents and young parents,” Yanicki explained.
“I am particularly interested in understanding how parents come to feel included in the community of Fort Macleod. What makes this easier for some parents, and what makes this harder for others?”
“I would also like to understand their experiences of feeling unwelcome, left out, or kept out. Even when programs are available in the community some parents and children may have difficulty taking part in activities.”
Parents who participate in the study will be invited to a group meeting to talk about their experiences with the Kids First Family Centre programs.
Anyone in the community who has been involved with Kids First programs, as well as current and past members of Kids First – for example, board members – are invited to take part in the study as well.
Yanicki hopes the study will support the work of the Kids First Family Centre in creating opportunities for parents and children to participate in the community of Fort Macleod.
She also expects it will provide valuable information to the Southwest Alberta Coalition on Poverty, of which she is a founding member.
Yanicki, who lives in Lethbridge, has been involved in a variety of planning meetings, workshops and community events in Fort Macleod over the years.
Yanicki has been particularly interested in the efforts of various community members to reduce poverty and promote the participation of parents and children in their community.
“I am particularly interested in community development and social inclusion projects in Fort Macleod,” Yanicki said. “I first became aware of the community development initiatives in this community through my participation in the Southwest Alberta Coalition on Poverty.”
The research study, called Social Inclusion/Exclusion: Low-Income Parents Participating in Community Development in Rural Alberta, is part of the requirements for Yanicki’s PhD in nursing through the faculty of nursing, University of Alberta, which she is enrolled in as a distance student at the University of Lethbridge.
Parents interested in participating in the study can contact Yanicki at 403-332-5233 or make arrangements through Kids First Family Centre at 403-553-5354.

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