Resilient Futures is a trauma-informed wellbeing and resilience program for children and young people that is being delivered by youth and education partner organisations in our most disadvantaged communities.
The program uses explicit and implicit teaching strategies to embed evidence-based wellbeing and resilience skills in young people and their communities. Resilient Futures supports teachers and youth workers to develop mindful awareness of what’s most important to young people and to be explicit about the desired growth outcomes for young people and how they will be achieved. The intention is always safety, reliability and flexibility.
Resilient Futures provides measurable outcomes for young people and their families (improved wellbeing and reduced psychological distress) as well as clear benefits for staff and organisational systems (increased wellbeing, resilience and engagement, common vocabulary and a shared toolkit).
Resilient Futures is one of the Wellbeing and Resilient Centres most seminal projects, which has now been successfully improving the wellbeing of almost 1,500 disadvantaged youth across South Australia, for over three years.
The Centre partnered with seven youth agencies and alternative education providers in the most disadvantaged areas of South Australia. These agencies work with young people that have disengaged from mainstream education, are involved in the youth justice system, have been diagnosed with mental illness, and/or are under the guardianship of the minister.
This project was made possible by an AUD $1.3m philanthropic donation, the largest of its kind in South Australia. The funding was provided for a 3-year project, aimed at reaching large numbers of young people.
Disengagement from mainstream education is associated with several negative life outcomes. Youth agencies have been established to reconnect young people back into the education system, with mixed success. Resilient Futures represented an opportunity to upskill youth agency staff with the ability to improve the wellbeing and resilience of their young people.
Resilient Futures targets a range of outcomes. The main outcome of Resilient Futures is a focus on the wellbeing and resilience of young people. This includes emphasis on re-engaging young people back into the mainstream education system, identifying and accomplishing goals, and improved ability to problem-solve and regulate their emotions and behaviour. Secondly the project aims to improve the wellbeing and resilience of youth agency staff, and upskill them in trauma-informed adult mentoring practices. Finally, the project aims to work with the youth agency partners, to enable system-wide culture change such that the youth agency environments become conducive to wellbeing.
Over 50 youth agency staff members have participated in the Resilience Skills Training, plus a training session focused on mentoring skills and trauma-informed practice. Through a train-the-trainer methodology, these trainers then deliver the skills to the young people they work with, through both explicit (i.e. classroom teaching) and implicit (i.e. role modelling and coaching) approaches. The success of the train-the-trainer methodology has seen over 1,200 young people participate in Resilient Futures – significantly surpassing the original benchmark of 850 young people.
Preliminary results from pre/post measurement indicate that participants with high levels of psychological distress and participants with low levels of wellbeing are both experiencing statistically significant reductions in psychological distress and statistically significant improvements in wellbeing.
As a testament to its relevance and innovation, Resilient Futures was awarded the Good Design Australia 2017 Award for Social Innovation, and the project team has presented at international and national conferences.
Further stories about Resilient Futures are available HERE
Resilient Futures Evaluation
To access the official Evaluation, please click HERE