Connecting the Dots



A Partnership between the Port Alberni Friendship Center and CMHA Port Alberni

Connecting the Dots is a program which seeks to promote the mental health of urban Aboriginal youth and families by mobilizing the community to address risk and protective factors influencing mental health.  While Connecting the Dots is focused on Aboriginal youth and families, this work engages with, supports, and affects the whole community.

Connecting the Dots utilizes the Communities that Care model to ensure a scientific and research-based approach to this project.  Communities that Care is a coalition-based community prevention system that is evidenced as effective in improving mental health indicators and risk and protective factors of mental health.  CTC is also known to be effective in preventing youth problem behaviours including underage drinking, tobacco use, violence, delinquency, school dropout and substance abuse.

Connecting the Dots and Communities that Care are inclusive and community-specific programs that are guaranteed to have positive outcomes for ALL YOUTH in our community.

Communities that Care helps decision-makers in the community select & implement tested, effective prevention policies and programs to address the most pressing risks facing their youth.  Communities that Care guides the community coalition through an assessment and prioritization process that identifies the risk and protective factors most in need of attention, and links those priorities to prevention programs that are proven to work in addressing them.


  • Identify and address readiness issues
  • Organize and involve all community members who have a stake in health futures for young people
  • Bring together diverse community efforts
  • Set priorities for action
  • Strengthen funding applications
  • Define clear, measurable outcomes
  • Identify gaps
  • Select tested, effective program, policies and practices to fill gaps
  • Evaluate progress

Communities that Care is renowned for contributing to an immediate reduction in youth risk factors and measurable reductions of criminal activity, drug use, and teen pregnancy. 


In the process of getting Connecting the Dots off the ground, we are seeking members for the following boards:

Key Leaders Board

This small board is made up of influential visionaries who have a high standing in the community and who have the ability based on relationships and roles to act as champions for Connecting the Dots and the Communities that Care process.  The Key Leaders Board will also help administer the multi-point youth survey in schools and in the community

Time Commitment: 3 to 4 board meetings annually, networking and promoting the programs formally and informally within our community, and a Key Leaders Orientation Training.

Community Board

The Community Board is a much larger board of community members who have an interest in developing healthy young adults and families. This board will also have active working groups who assist the Connecting the Dots coordinator with carrying out the Communities that Care process.  The role of this board is integral in administering the Youth Survey, defining and reporting successes and gaps, and will help to select evidence-based interventions based on the specific risk and protective factors identified by our youth and their communities.

Time Commitment: 6 board meetings annually, more frequent attendance on working groups as needed, networking and promoting the program formally and informally within our community, and associated trainings.

To sign up for either board, or if you have any questions, please contact Shelley at 250-723-8281 ext. 235 or email

Funding provided by

In Partnership