Housing Solutions for Indigenous Youth Aging Out of Care in Winnipeg

“Housing Solutions for Indigenous Youth Aging Out of Care in Winnipeg” has been announced as one of twelve projects being funded from Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation as part of the National Housing Strategy.

This is a one year project, with HTFC Planning & Design as the main proponent, recieving $122,666 from CMHC to do this solutions lab featuring partnerships with Aboriginal Youth Opportunities (AYO), HTFC Planning & Design; Ready to Shift and Scale (RSS); Nigaanii Wabiski Mikanak Ogichidaa (NWMO) so far!! We are also grateful to have suppport from the University of Manitoba, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences throughout this initiative. AYO hosted a Meet Me at the Bell Tower Gathering last week on this topic and also hosted the first of their leadership lab team gatherings to kick off the project. Future gatherings and identifying additional partners will happen throughout the duration of the project.

“I am beyond excited to be a part in project because I know first hand how inconsistent and challenging navigating the systems are before and after you even ahead out. I am vet happy the project uses Indigenous youth voices, like mine, that know from experience what’s not working, and what is.” – Kakeka ThunderSky

More about our project “Housing Solutions for Indigenous Youth Aging Out of Care in Winnipeg”:

Our Solutions Lab will address the issues of housing insecurity and homelessness that Indigenous youth in care in Winnipeg face when they age out of the child welfare system at age 18.

Our project leverages the processes and methodologies of Solutions Labs to collaboratively explore the specific needs of Indigenous youth in Winnipeg who have grown up in the care of Manitoba’s child welfare system and who are at the point where their institutional supports are removed.

Many child welfare advocates and organizations have identified this pivotal point in the experience of a youth in care, a point at which they face a high probability of entering into a cycle of poverty and housing insecurity or homelessness.

We will approach this issue from different perspectives and worldviews, including those of people who:

  • are or were in the system (young people who have aged out or are aging out of care);
  • are working in the system (caregivers, child welfare caseworkers or administrators, policymakers, etc.); or
  • are “around” the system (as advocates or community organizers, or those who work for organizations involved with housing, including the CMHC).

In doing so, we aim to build bridges of empathy and provide advocates and policymakers with a more complete picture of the issue.

Our hope is that the solutions that are co-developed in this process will be taken up by decision makers to close the gaps and further reduce the number of young people facing homelessness year over year.

Anyone wanting to get involved in, support the development of or speak to someone about this initiative please see details below:

Zoe Mager, HTFC
Email: zmager@htfc.mb.ca

Kakeka ThunderSky, Nigaanii Wabiski Mikanak Ogichidaa
Email: 2braidz@ayomovement.com

Michael Redhead Champagne, AYO
Email: mc@ayomovement.com

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Opportunities – April 2018

It’s April and there’s no better time to come check out what is happening with AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities). Find below opportunities that Indigenous young people and community members are invited to attend. Please see the corresponding Facebook Page or website link for more details.

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Inner City Voices: You can hear the ICV crew on the air 3 times this month! This is a weekly radio show where you get to hear about some inner city events and activities and music and people. We are Mondays on CKUW 95.9fm on the following dates

  • April 9 – Inner City Voices, 5-6pm
  • April 23 – Inner City Voices, 5-6pm
  • April 30 – special episode of ROGUE VOICES,  our semi-regular collaboration with the rogue primates of CKUW!

Speak Cree?: Speak Cree is a weekly inter-generational conversational group that hopes to revitalize the Cree language right here in the city of Winnipeg. We meet Tuesdays from 6:30-8:00pm at Ralph Brown Community Centre, 460 Andrews. Check out our below poster and feel free to share with anyone interested in learning the language! Happening April 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th

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Fearless R2W: Manitoba Child Welfare Education and Advocacy group meets every Wednesday at 6pm at Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre at 510 King Street. Find below the topics of the learning circles for April

 

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Meet Me at the Bell Tower: Anti Violence and community building rally, open to inner city residents and anyone else!! Young people are encouraged to share their ideas on how we can address the challenges we face as a community with the rest of the village as their back up. Find below the themes or each Friday in April (its always at 6pm, and always at 470 Selkirk Ave):

 

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AYO Politix – Saturdays at noon! The only planned Brain Storm we have is the YOUTH ENGAGEMENT BRAIN STORM that is happening Saturday April 7th at Boogies Restaurant at 1155 Main Street at 12 noon. Hope to see you there!

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Midnight Medicine Walk – Thunder Bay: On Friday April 27th at 10pm at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario! We will be joining our relatives from the Student Enterprise 2nd year class and residents of the community in smudging along the river of tears. Check out the FB event HERE for up to date info about the route and the official poster!

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Grand Opening of Merchant’s Corner: On April 28th at 11:30am the Merchant’s Corner is having it’s Grand Opening! If you have ever wanted to be a part of what is happening with the revitalization of that former bar/hotel that has transformed into an educational and community hub (with a cafe coming soon). Check out the Merchant’s Corner website for more info!

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Ottawa Fam: We have to give props to the Assembly of 7 Generations and the team in Ottawa, ON who began meeting weekly a month ago and are continuing to build community and celebrate First Nations and Metis culture! Follow their Twitter account here!

 

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Opportunities – March 2018

Do you want to get involved with the AYO team in Winnipeg? Take out your calendar and circle these dates!

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Inner City Voices (radio show): bi-weekly, hour long radio program featuring a panel of real people sharing real stories, discussing real topics and celebrating real music. Listen to old episodes of the show by clocking  HERE.
Monday March 12, 5-6pm on CKUW 95.9fm
Monday March 26, 5-6pm on CKUW 95.9fm

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Speak Cree? (free community language nest): this weekly community space invites Cree/Inninew speakers of all dialects, ages and experience levels to learn and share the language!
Tuesdays: March 6March 13, March 20 & March 27 @ 6:30pm
@ Ralph Brown Community Centre – 460 Andrews St

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Fearless R2W (Child welfare education & advocacy group): We meet weekly and invite parents and community helpers to come build their networks and system literacy.
Wednesdays @ 6:00pm @ Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre
March 7 – Learning Circle with Winnipeg Boldness Project
March 14 – Advocacy & Crafts
March 21 – Topic To Be Determined….
March 28 – Sharing Circle

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Meet Me at the Bell Tower (anti-violence, community building gathering): weekly event for families and youth to encourage healthy living. We also connect members of the community with relevant supports in creative ways.
Fridays @ 6:00pm @ 470 Selkirk – Indigenous Family Centre
March 9 – Restoring Justice
March 16 – Food As Resistance
March 23 / March 30 – Topics To Be Determined….

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AYO Politix (system literacy, self directed learning for Indigenous youth): We meet in local businesses to brain storm topics and plan solutions and actions to support our community and AYO initiatives.
Mental Wellness Brain Storm, Saturday March 17 @ 12:00pm
Newcastle Restaurant – 1010 Main Street 

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Midnight Medicine Walk (cultural walk for those being sexually exploited on the streets): In response to the recent verdicts relating to Tina Fontaine and injustices across the country we will be meeting at
March 19 @ 11:45pm on Alexander & Waterfront

March 17,2010-2018

AYO To Celebrate 8th Birthday: Nothing has been planned yet, but keep your eyes posted to the page or surprise AYO team members with birthday gifts all month!

 

January 2018 Opportunities

 

We’re halfway through January, but it’s not too late to get involved with AYO! in 2018! Check out these opportunities for urban Indigenous youth and community members this month with Fearless R2W, Canadian Roots Exchange Youth Reconciliation Initiative, AYO Politix, Meet Me at the Bell Tower and Inner City Voices!

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The Canadian Roots Exchange National Story Blanket Tour – Winnipeg Stop
Jan. 16 – Jan 18
EVENT: Jan 17 / 6-9pm
Canadian Museum for Human Rights – 85 Israel Asper Way

Join the Winnipeg Youth Reconciliation Initiative Team as they welcome the NATIONAL STORY BLANKET to Winnipeg at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights! Stories from youth leaders from across Canada of reconciliation, community and solidarity! There will also be an activity Wed January 17th from 6-9pm at the museum!

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Fearless R2W Mental Health Supports
Thursday, January 18 at 6 PM – 8 PM
Turtle Island Community Centre – 510 King Street

Join the Fearless R2W team as we learn from the WRHA about what types of mental health supports we have available in the city!

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Bell Tower Pipe Ceremony
Friday, January 19 at 6 PM – 8 PM
470 Selkirk Ave

Join us as we sit together in ceremony to pray for a good year with the bell tower family and the whole village! Ninoondawah Richard will be smoking his pipe, but all pipe carriers and drummers are welcome to come sit with us!!

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The Culture Brain Storm
Saturday, January 20 at 12 PM – 1:30 PM
Newcastle Restaurant -1010 Main Street

Urban Indigenous young people are invited to come sit with the AYO leaders and discuss our CULTURE initiatives! We will also welcome any knowledge keepers to share their idea with us on how we can approach reclaiming this important part of our identity as First Nations, Metis and Inuit young people!

What type of cultural opportunities would you like to see? Ceremonies? Language? Elder/Youth activities?

We’ll also discuss the AYO culture initiatives:
– Youth Pipe Ceremonies
– BYOD – Bring Your Own Drum
– Midnight Medicine Walk
– AYO Language (Cree/Ojibwe)

**This is our first time going to Newcastle at 1010 Main Street, come on down and support a local North End restaurant**

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2nd Inner City Voices Show of 2018
Monday, January 22 at 5 PM – 6 PM
CKUW Radio 95.9fm – 515 Portage Ave

New music, guests, and interviews on inner city topics that matter to you! Monday at 5pm on CKUW Radio 95.9fm in Winnipeg! Post in the event shout outs or events you want us to share on air
Listen to CKUW online here: www.CKUW.ca/listen

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Fearless R2W Sharing Circle
Thursday, January 25 at 6 PM – 8 PM
Turtle Island Community Centre – 510 King Street

Monthly sharing circle, come share with us!

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Mental Health Bell Tower #BellLetsTalk
Friday, January 26 at 6 PM – 8 PM
470 Selkirk

This week we discuss Mental Health and also encourage those in attendance to take action in various ways: Participating in the #BellLetsTalk Day Jan 31,2018; supporting one of the BLT Winnipeg organizations; Do one of the 5 simple ways as discussed by bell; or Access supports with the WRHA. We will also have guest speakers Andi Sharma and Shania Pruden in attendance to share their stories with us! What other ways can we share to help people improve their mental wellness? You’re invited to join us and record a message of HOPE we can share via Video on the MM@BT Facebook page!

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Rogue Voices (Inner City Voices)
Monday, January 29 at 5 PM – 6 PM
CKUW Radio 95.9fm – 515 Portage Ave

Sometimes in 2018, there’s a 5th Monday in a month….and on those Mondays we bring you ROGUE VOICES!! Rogue Voices is an hour long episode from 5-6pm combining Inner City Voices and Rogue Primate shows together focusing on topics of ecological importance and how they can relate to inner city living. Tune in to CKUW Radio 95.9fm for this special collaboration! Guests will be announced, but we can reveal one of the voices we’ll be hearing from is Audrey Logan, a local knowledge keeper! 

400 Toys Needed to Make Christmas Brighter for North End Children

Hello Winnipeg!

AYO and Meet Me at the Bell Tower are proud to support our relatives at the North End Family Centre as we work to get as many toys together as we can for their annual Christmas Party. This year we are hoping to get 400 toys to donate, can you help us?

 

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If you want to help, you can get at the AYO team tonight at the Bell Tower or anytime before the December 14th at 6pm at St Johns Cathedral ( the one beside St John’s Park, in the graveyard)! We will be sure to keep you up to date on the AYO/MM@BT Facebook pages!

See you tonight!

6 Years Later: Meet Me at the Bell Tower

This Friday November 17th at 6:00pm, you’re invited to a celebration of community building and peace at the North End Bell Tower (470 Selkirk Ave) as we celebrate our 6th birthday!

Join the #BellTowerFamily as we welcome special guests, live entertainment, bell tower awards, cake and of course prizes to “6 Years Later”, our birthday celebration. Whether you’ve been coming for years or have been meaning to come out for your first time, this is the perfect moment to come out. We will hear from youth leader Kakeka Thundersky about why building community is important to her; Winnipeg’s own Joe Curtis will share his Meet Me at the Bell Tower original song; and of course Cake from Gunn’s Bakery, and our yearly recognition of community the Bell Tower Awards. If you want to help, bring yourself, a friend, a prize to donate, a song to share or words to gift to the community!

All the festivities begin at 6:00pm, volunteers are asked to show up at 5:30pm. If you would like to donate, volunteer or schedule a media interview please email Quinton at Q@ayomovement.com.

Food As Medicine Notes

On September 8th, 2017, approximately 80 residents of Winnipeg’s inner city came together in a special event featuring the Bell Tower Family, the National Diabetes Association and researchers from the University of Manitoba to discuss FOOD AS MEDICINE. The conversation was highlighted by our usual Food Not Bombs vegetable soup (veggies donated by Food Fare) and some delicious Bannock Pizza from Neechi Commons. The discussion asked community members to identify ways we could use food to improve our health, how to improve services and costs so that all members of our community could access healthy and culturally relevant food.

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Find below a summary of our conversations grouped into the following 7 areas:

FOOD BANKS

  • Easy access food banks for people with a disability, wheelchair or walker
  • More emergency food available in the community
  • More MILK available for seniors AND children at food banks

PHYSICAL WELLNESS

  • Free Gyms
  • Exercise classes for low income people
  • More access to cultural/traditional health activities (example: singing/dancing/pow wow classes)
  • More opportunities in the community for people struggling with addictions

COMMUNITY GARDENS/GREEN HOUSES

  • More community gardens with traditional food (not just flowers)
  • Free herbal tea
  • Teach how to grow herbs and traditional herbs
  • Year round community gardens (including green house and winter activities where applicable)
  • Bring back Indigenous corn

LIVING WITH HEALTH CHALLENGES

  • Diabetes “rehab”
  • eating well with diabetes
  • Foot care if you have been amputated for diabetes reasons
  • Heart care for people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol
  • Increased access to alternative sweeteners (sugar and aspartame are both bad for us)
  • More information about the harms and benefits of alternative sweeteners and sugar
  • Access to appropriate foods for those who are diabetic or lactose intolerant

TRADITIONAL FOODS

  • Increase access to traditional foods on the land
  • How to braid sweetgrass  lessons
  • More berry picking groups (and planting berries in the city and out of the city, when we can provide transportation)
  • Sharing stories about how food can be medicine

ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE/HEALTHY FOOD IN THE INNER CITY

  • More community shuttles to grocery stores
  • Host a community vegetable sale at the end of every month (possibly at the bell tower)
  • Lower prices for healthy, organic food
  • Increased communications and access to farmers markets
  • Increase access to free healthy  family dinners throughout the week (like cooking classes that let you take what you cook home to your family ex. “make and take”)
  • Cheaper prices for local fish

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

  • Opportunities to teach community members how to grow traditional foods (in the city)
  • Cooking and preserving classes (for jams, pickling, etc.)
  • Cook Book/cooking classes with healthy recipes and ho to cook on a budget
  • More opportunities to learn about the teachings behind food (spiritually)
  • Recipe exchange program between community members and nutrition experts
  • Increased information about the dangers of dye food colouring in our foods
  • Increase the marketing of healthy foods locally
  • Art classes – make collages of healthy lifestyles
  • Ban marketing junk food to children
  • Ban free refills of sugary rinks at fast food restaraunts
  • Healthy cooking video series for YouTube/Facebook
  • Fire department could come to the bell tower to teach about first aid
  • Free Seeds / Seed Bank or Library

As you can see, there are various long term and short term initiatives or projects we could be working on as a community to try and improve the health of our relatives living in poverty or those who are already living with chronic illness. We will be sharing the academic report with community members when it is finished and will also be continuing our relationship with the National Aboriginal Diabetes Association to ensure we can do prevention and maintenance for our relatives living with diabetes.

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Natalie & Joyce from the U of MB rang the bell together