The Benefits of Exposing Youth to Art


Children naturally love art – painting, drawing, doing crafts, making music and the theater.  In our Project Sunset programming, we place a high value on the arts and have seen results when it comes from our youth engaging in activities.



The benefits of exposing young people to art:

  • We learn to think creatively, with an open mind as well as to observe and describe, analyse and interpret
  • We learn to express feelings, with or without words.
  • We practice problem-solving skills, critical-thinking skills, music, theater and art-making skills
  • Everyone discovers that there is more than one right answer, multiple points of view
  • Youth learn to collaborate with other children and with adults
  • Many people blossom and excel in the arts.  Those with physical, emotional or learning challenges, can experience success.
  • Arts build confidence.  Because there is not just one right way to make art, everyone can feel pride in his or her original artistic creations.
  • Arts build community.  Schools with a variety of differences can celebrate the arts as one community.


See Project Sunset in the Latest Cdn Society of Evidence Based Policing Newsletter

We’re on page 5–check it out and let us know what you think!!

CANSEBP newsletter February 18 (1)


OPP Turning Creative Ideas into Action with Project Sunset and Project Journey

OPP Turning Creative Ideas into Action with Project Sunset and Project Journey








OPP ‘Project Sunset’ – A Paradigm Shift For Policing





Getting Back to Nature with Special Guests from the OPP

In October 2017 special guests from the OPP Indigenous Police Bureau visited each of the Project Sunset communities and led an outdoor lesson that included singing traditional songs, lighting fires and making soup, tea or hot chocolate.

The students all showed their fire making skills from gathering kindling and using a flint and steel to get a flame, to making the tripods and supervising the boil.

Beautiful weather created a stunning backdrop for the youth to get outside and practice experiential learning.
Check it out!


Crafting Togetherness

Project Sunset participants regularly have the opportunity to learn from local Elders, community leaders and artists to explore their creativity during our Music, Arts and Culture days. We have had the opportunity to make traditional drums and drumsticks, bags, earrings, dreamcatchers and artwork on canvas and paddles!!

Check out our video and let us know what you think!


We LOVE Healthy Food at Project Sunset

Young people need nutrition education to help them develop lifelong healthy eating patterns.  With help from our friends at the Northwestern Health Unit (, Project Sunset provides healthy foods consistent with school food and beverage policies.  Project Sunset events are ideal settings for nutrition education for several reasons:

Project Sunset uses strengths-based approaches to work with schools in reaching almost all children and adolescents to model healthy lifestyles and behaviours.

Project Sunset provides practical opportunities and mentorship to youth in practicing healthy preparation and eating.

Project Sunset team members teach youth how to resist social pressures, including eating behaviours. Together, with community stakeholders, we acknowledge and address peer pressure that discourages healthy eating while harnessing the power of peer pressure to reinforce healthy behaviours.

And, Project Sunset can take lessons one step further with our Community Service Ethic Component!  We work with youth to build their understanding of food sustainability through our community garden projects!


How will Project Sunset be Evaluated?

Program evaluations collect, analyse, and use information to answer questions about projects, policies and programs, particularly about their effectiveness and efficiency. Stakeholders often want to know whether the programs are producing the intended effect. While program evaluation first focuses around this definition, important considerations often include how much the program costs per participant, how the program could be improved, whether the program is worthwhile, whether there are better alternatives, if there are unintended outcomes, and whether the program goals are appropriate and useful. Evaluators help to answer these questions.

During the Project Sunset evaluation both program and school documentation is utilized, for example how often the children attended, the descriptions of the activities and reports of student participation.  Project Sunset process and impact evaluation will be performed by qualified external evaluators adhering to and practicing Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAP) principles.  Evaluation practices adhere to the highest ethics standards.

Site visits will be conducted each year by the evaluators where they will conduct focus groups, face to face interviews with youth, parents, teachers, school administrators, police officers and community partners as well as control group surveys.  Photovoice experiences with reflection techniques will be employed to elicit responses from the participant- based on their experience in the project.

An extensive Community Partner survey will be widely administered to all community organisations engaged with Project Sunset to develop or deliver the program.  It will assess the level of involvement partners have with the development and implementation of Project Sunset as well as the perceptions of community partners in the operation and impact of the program.  A key objective of Project Sunset is to sustain program deliverables through a network of key community organisations, so it is essential that the evaluation determine its effectiveness so community partners can determine their ability and willingness to take on program delivery in the future.

Interviews will also be conducted to determine

  • The extent to which the project has been implemented as intended
  • Whether the intended outcomes have been achieved
  • If there are any unintended outcomes
  • Lessons learned in implementing the program (any adaptations or modifications)

Interviews would be conducted by a third party evaluation team in conjunction with Project Sunset core delivery partners including parents, community leaders or elders as well as teachers and Police Officers participating in the Project.

Focus groups with students participating in Project Sunset will be held during site visits to obtain additional information about program implementation and contextual information about student satisfaction with the program.

Finally, a non-traditional data collection method using Photovoice. Photovoice is an innovative method for showing how projects had impacted the lives of youth and/or families.

It allows for people to record and reflect on a program, highlighting its strengths and problems to promote a dialogue through discussion and photographs, to shed light on the impacts of the program.  It is particularly helpful in empowering youth and allows them to give their observations in a way that values personal knowledge and experience.

The use of Photovoice promotes trust between the researcher and the youth, allowing for an honest dialogue about the project’s impact and the participants views of the experience.  It creates a window from the individual experience into an understanding of community members and their needs.

As part of the evaluation of Project Sunset, program participants will be asked to take photos that demonstrate something about Project Sunset and then describe in writing, how it has impacted them.  This valuable information will be collected in years 2 and 3 of the evaluation


What is Project Sunset?

Listen to the latest and let us know what you think!


Community Partner Profile-Fresh Market Foods in Sioux Lookout

Since May 2017, Project Sunset has been delivering in-school and after-school programming at Sioux Mountain Public School in Sioux Lookout. Project Sunset is an initiative that aims to build sustainable community partnerships with the goal of identifying innovative solutions that proactively address the root causes of youth crime, social disorder and crisis. One of the sustainable community partnerships that we have built is with Fresh Market Foods in Sioux Lookout, Ontario.

Fresh Market Foods, is a local independent grocery store owned by Todd Nadon and Tracey Bullock. The owners are proud supporters of their community and often partner with local organizations to ensure that their community thrives. Fresh Market Foods have been partnering with different after-school programs and community organizations to promote healthy products and ultimately, the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. We reached out to the owners of Fresh Market Foods and they told us, “We believe all this contributes to a healthier attitude and a better sense of self, we hope that if some of these basic things take hold we will see our youth make better choices throughout their lives because they have the confidence and energy to accomplish anything they set their mind to”.

At Project Sunset, we know that nutrition is a critical piece in sustaining healthy children and thus, lends to a healthy community. Each week Fresh Market Foods delivers us fresh and healthy produce and goods. They have donated meals such as Greek wraps with fruit, lasagna with salad and moose stew. Todd Nadon, owner of Fresh Market Foods told us that,
“the challenges with nutrition are many, but ultimately we believe that education is the biggest barrier to good food choice. Providing an environment where youth can not only learn about the benefits of healthy foods, but how fun, simple, and great tasting these foods can be is essential to our endeavour.” At Project Sunset, there is no bigger joy than to watch our students discover all kinds of new healthy foods and enjoy some of their all-time favourite meals from Fresh Market Foods.

Fresh Market Foods has had a very powerful and positive impact on our initiative because they have become a strong and positive community partner. Their donations and support have allowed us to help our students in many ways and continue to aid Project Sunset in obtaining successful outcomes at this specific project site. It has been great to see the students enjoying all of the after-school snacks and meals and seeing them leaving with a smile and full belly thanks to Fresh Market Foods.

As a northern community, families in Sioux Lookout often struggle with nutrition because the cost of living is higher than other communities in Northwestern Ontario. According to The Report on the 2015 Northern Food Basket Survey[i], published in June 2016 by the Northwestern Health Unit, the cost of feeding a family of four with nutritious foods in Northwestern Ontario is $1,018 per month. This means that families working for minimum-wage or families on social assistance may be required to use 60-80% of household income to pay for food and rent alone, which does not leave a lot of flexibility on other family expenses.  This same survey indicated that over 1,600 people in Northwestern Ontario are food insecure. This means that they are unable to access the proper foods to maintain a healthy diet.

According to Diabetes Canada the incidence and prevalence rates of diabetes are several times higher among indigenous peoples compared to the general population [ii]To work towards lowering the rate of diagnosis of diabetes in First Nations, an active and healthy lifestyle needs to be accessible to youth in order to work towards preventing diabetes in at-risk youth. In addition, it is most beneficial when programs are developed in collaboration with community partners and promote activities and foods that are safe, acceptable and accessible to prevent the risk of diabetes[iii].

It is important to our team at Project Sunset to ensure that the proper ingredients for a healthy lifestyle are always accessible to all of our students. We are so grateful to Todd and Tracey at Fresh Market Foods for their immense contributions to our initiative. Their food donations not only help us continue to ensure that the students are fed, but also work to promote a healthy lifestyle. We use their donations to provide after-school snacks and dinner for the children at Sioux Mountain Public School. Their donations ensure that we can continue to deliver innovative and experiential programming while helping these students grow into healthy and active members in their community.

Once again, thank you from the entire team at Project Sunset for your support!

[i] Northwestern Health Unit. (2016.)  Northern Food Basket Survey Report.  Retrieved from:

[ii] Diabetes Canada. (2013.) Canadian Journal of Diabetes: type 2 Diabetes in Aboriginal Peoples

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[iii] Diabetes Canada. (2013.) Canadian Journal of Diabetes: type 2 Diabetes in Aboriginal Peoples

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