The focus has been to provide a safe, supportive, culturally appropriate environment for the participants and to learn and develop healthy behaviours, and to develop community capacity through training local facilitators that understand, and are accountable in their communities.
A secondary objective of each program is to connect individuals to the resources they need within their community and to help community organisations better understand the participants’ needs.
What does the program look like?
Each program is 15 weeks long and starts and ends in ceremony with a local Indigenous Elder.
- Weeks 3-13 consist of approximately 45 minutes of physical activity, a 20-minute wellness module, and a 20 minute sharing circle.
- Throughout the program you will also be introduced to resources in your community and special guests may be invited to present on a range of health topics.
What is included in the progam?
- There is no cost to join the program and no equipment is required.
- Each participant will be given a manual and pedometer at the start of the program.
- Childcare is free and provided on site.
- Athletic footwear may be provided on request.
- Transportation may be reimbursed on a case-by-case basis for those who need it. Please inquire with your facilitator.
- Participants will also receive a water bottle and program T-shirt, and be given access to traditional medicines (e.g., sage or sweetgrass).
Weeks 3-13 consist of approximately 45 minutes of physical activity.
Some of the types of physical activity our groups have done, include:
- Aquafit/ Deep water aerobics
- Belly dancing
- Bollywood dancing
- Bootcamp/circuit training
- Hula Hoop Dance
- Land-based activities (may vary based on the season)
- Learn to run
- Traditional games
- Urban Poling (Nordic Walking)
You will be supporting research to improve the program for your community.
Part of MKS’ funding goes towards evaluating the program itself so we can monitor participants’ progress, see what works best for improving health and wellness and note any barriers to participation or gaps in accessibility for future improvement.
Ultimately, we aim to make this type of programming more accessible to all women.
The evaluation is integrated in the program and includes:
- Weekly attendance at the program and daily step-counts
- Measures of height, weight, body fat %, waist circumference, and blood pressure
- Grip Strength and a 1-mile walk test
- A blood test
- A reflective photovoice/storytelling project at the end of the program
Wellness Modules and Nourish Manual
The goal of MKS+ is for participants to develop a community of support and safely engage in physical activity and learning.
The goal of Makoyoh’sokoi is to support women to:
- Learn and carry out holistic ways of health/wellness.
- Reflect on health and well-being.
- Become a part of a community in which trust, respect, family, and culture are valued.
- Explore physical activities and increase their capabilities to enjoy movement at a capacity suitable to their individual needs and ability.
- Develop a positive relationship with food.
- Encourage eating habits to support well-being based on flexibility and their own unique needs, instead of a plan focused mainly on weight control (using the Health at Every Size® (HAES®) approach)
All participants will be given a manual containing the NOURISH HEALTH AND WELL-BEING MODULES© that have been developed for this program in consultation with physicians, dieticians, community members, and Elders. Below is an example of what to expect!
Nourish Health and Well-Being Modules
- Week 1. Welcome and Elder Teachings
- Week 2. Starting Your Health Journey
- Week 3. Getting Active! – keeping fun, variety and safety in mind
- Week 4. Understanding Your Natural Healthy Self
- Week 5. Holistic Approach to Health
- Week 6. Positive Eating Attitudes & Take Time to Eat
- Week 7: Putting Together a Meal
- Week 8. Nutrition Week 1: Fibres & Grains, and Protein Foods
- Week 9: Nutrition Week 2: Fruits & Vegetables
- Week 10: Beverages and Sugar Intake
- Week 11. Food Skills – Menu Planning & Grocery Shopping
- Week 12: Relationship with Ourselves & Self-Care for Our Body
- Week 13: When Life Takes Us Away from Eating Well
- Week 14: Your Health Journey
- Week 15. Culture and Traditions: Photovoice and Closing Celebration
Download our infographic with more information!
Each session concludes with a sharing circle.
From Elder Ruth:
“In the sharing circle we are all calling to the creator to come and help us and we call the spirit Makoyoh’sokoi to come into our circle.”
Typically, the community elder will describe and facilitate the sharing circle on the first day of the program. Sharing circles also may follow certain protocols such as wearing a long skirt or blanket to cover up– Your facilitator will let you know anything you need to know ahead of time!