CiU Approach

The following concepts are the foundation of the CiU program and these principles are the lens through which all activities and interactions occur.

1. CiU is Strength-Based.

When the starting point is what a person lacks, it creates dependency, and dependence is disempowering. It lowers expectations and stops us from seeing a person’s unique capabilities and strengths – which limits opportunities for change. When we start with successes, strengths and abilities, however, it changes the helping relationship from fixing someone, to nurturing someone’s innate potential.

Instead of dwelling on problems and seeing hopelessness, our approach focusses on opportunity, empowerment, capacity building and hope. CiU starts where people are, with the strengths they already have. It provides extensive opportunities for participants to experience success and it focuses on the boundless nature of human potential. Every staff member needs to authentically demonstrate an unshakable belief in student capabilities and in their ability to learn and change.

2. CiU is Holistic.

As human beings we bring all of us with us wherever we go. Facilitating growth and removing barriers to employment must include engaging and developing all aspects of ourselves as people (emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual) and it must acknowledge that these parts of us are interconnected. If we are worried about our safety, or haven’t eaten since yesterday, writing a resume will not seem important.

The CiU program is specifically designed to assist participants in exploring all aspects of health, wellbeing and brain function so participants have the tools they need for their life journey and employment path. We encourage exposure to – and hands on application of – multiple strategies to help us all be our best selves and live fulfilling lives.

3. CiU is Learner Centered.

This is not one size fits all training. Participants need to be partners in their own learning, to have their experiences validated, their talents utilized and their needs addressed and respected. Facilitators need to understand that every participant is coming into this program with a unique story, which they will continue to write and alter during and after their time in CiU.

Program inclusions, projects and daily practices are decided together, creating an environment of choice. This means the content is relevant and participants are far more invested. Programming is individualized and instruction is differentiated to reflect the needs of each participant.

4. CiU is Hands-on.

Humans learn by experiencing things, and by reflecting on those experiences to find meaning. We could get fancy and call this Constructivist Learning Theory, but in the end, the important thing is that active learning and engaged participation really matter. We learn by doing.

In the CiU program, this includes real life work experience, incredible community projects and interactive workshops that allow participants to fully explore concepts and ideas, building deep understanding that facilitates real change. It also includes integrating and actively practicing all kinds of wellness activities to help people find a real world self-care practice that they can take with them for life.

5. CiU is Trauma Aware.

CiU is built to address the ways that trauma can affect the brain, the body and behavior. It is also structured to create opportunities for participants to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment through collaboration, choice, mutual respect and the building of trust. Key to the program is the creation of physical, psychological, and emotionally safe spaces.

Moreover, CiU has at its core the belief that each of us has the capacity to understand and heal ourselves and that there are paths and tools to address the symptoms and behaviours accumulated through trauma. No one is broken beyond repair.

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