Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Stephen Chris

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This critical ethnography examines the perceptions of adolescents at-risk with respect to their experiences of help, both formal and informal. Ten (10) adolescents who had been involved with the Bridges psychoeducational program, an interagency partnership intervention for high-risk youth in the Waterloo region, were interviewed about their experience with the programs and people who attempt to support them. Placing great importance on using the adolescent’s words to speak to their own needs and experiences, this study's main findings suggest that adolescents are not given voice by many helpers; most help agents fail to truly help these adolescents in a meaningful way, that effective helpers and healers have specific qualities to them; families are very important; and that a supportive community is essential to effective service delivery. The findings are discussed in relation to the literature on healing communities and other forms of service delivery for adolescents at-risk Recommendations for professionals and the community are offered.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season