Stardale Women's Group offers services to Aboriginal women and girls as well as to women of poverty. Developed by the Stardale Women's Group Inc. Foundation, the centre opened its doors for service in Melfort, Saskatchewan in 1998, to serve the communities in Northern Saskatchewan. Since that time, it has expanded to provide outreach to Southern Alberta. We are a non-profit organization and a registered charity (# 894942622RR0001).
A Holistic Approach to Education and Training
"Wholeness is not a quality of the mind but an aspect of the spirit. That wholeness is a unique presence that is within you - it has only to be rediscovered."
Our mission at Stardale is to provide life skills and literacy education, as well as advocacy to women living in poverty and abusive situations. We work toward empowering their lives, their families, and their communities, thus overcoming systemic barriers.
We strive to provide, at our centre in Melfort, a space where clients feel comfortable to express their feelings, past experiences, traumas and hurts. It is a friendly and caring environment that respects their individuality and freedom of thought. The four components of the holistic Stardale Model encompass the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of life. As building blocks to a journey of awakening, healing, self-respect and empowerment, the Stardale Model encourages development of skills and enlightenment by healing with compassion.
Art Within the Stardale Model
"Can we play with art, if we haven't gotten the chance to play as a child? I sat down with Helen McPhaden, the Executive Director of Stardale Women's Group to talk about her work with Indigenous girls, why using art is powerful, and how to make believe and play with art." - Emilija Angelovska
Helen McPhaden, the Executive director of Stardale, was interviewed by Emilija Angelovska for Back to the Drawing Board. The interview is on the podcast platform. It can be accessed through iTunes: apple.co/2qTKJo4
Stardale developed and implemented self-development programs using creative processes, such as dance and modelling, to educate the girls in matters of self-esteem, building skill sets in cooperation, and learning how to perform in a public setting. The proactive interventions empower the Aboriginal girls to overcome systematic barriers and internalisation of lower standards of wellness, achievement, education, and employability by providing classroom educational opportunities as well as skills-training and strategies for healthy choice-making.
From the keynote speaker's introduction:
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Stardale evening at MRU- Mount Royal University. And what an evening it was for those who were in attendance.
The whole purpose of the evening at MRU was to introduce the girls to a higher learning centre. One never knows that the girls could possibly be intrigued with the facility and could set their minds to one day attending the establishment.
Stardale staff, girls and volunteer mentors were welcomed as they arrived by the Associate Vice-President, Randy Genereux. Randy escorted the girls to a quiet area (Terrace Room) which was set aside for the gathering. All of the Stardale Group were served lovely meals. With those underway, they were formally greeted by Vice President Randy Genereux. Then there were two presentations. This included Tori McMillan - Aboriginal Education Administrator of the Iniskim Centre and Lindsey Wynder - MRU Recruitment Officer. Both presentations were informative and friendly.
Upon the conclusion of the presentations, everyone moved to the Wright Theatre. This was a terrific opportunity for the girls, who got to experience a huge stage with appropriate lighting, sound, and an audience. What a difference to the multipurpose room that the girls take their acting lessons in!
The interpretation of the experience was electrifying. The girls were on stage, where they had to adapt to being the centre of attention in this huge space. Therefore, how they would normally perform in their acting class setting became defunct to them. It was an entire range of new experiences such as positioning themselves to the audience and voice projection. Jamie the drama coach was excellent in manoeuvring the girls to and fro, and reaching into their souls to draw more creative juices from them.
We are all grateful to MRU for having us come into their facilities. Hopefully some of the Stardale girls will one day attend the university.