Family Violence Initiative

COMPENDIUM OF PROMISING PRACTICES TO REDUCE VIOLENCE AND INCREASE SAFETY OF ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN CANADA – COMPENDIUM ANNEX: DETAILED PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS

INTERACTIONS WITHIN COMMUNITIES

Family Violence Interventions

Program name:

Soaring Spirit Healing Program

Organization:

Helping Spirit Lodge Society

Location:

Vancouver, British Columbia

Target Group:

Aboriginal women 19 and over.

Contact Name:

Marla States, Program Manager

Phone:

604-872-6659

Email:

marla.s@hsls.ca

Website:

www.hsls.ca

Program Overview
History:

The Soaring Spirit Healing Program started in September 2011. This program is an integrated version of the previous "Visions and Decisions" program, with a more culturally relevant name. The Soaring Spirit Healing Program integrates the healing and pre-employment components of the previous program.

Program Description
Goals & Objectives:

To provide education to women on family violence prevention in a safe and supportive environment; to provide a foundation for First Nations Women to enter the workplace in mainstream society by creating a bridge to further education, skills training and/or employment; and to develop positive self-esteem in clients through education on First Nations culture and the history of Canada's relationship with First Nations people.

Traditional/Indigenous ways:

The program provides access to culture and ceremony through talking circles, smudging, and involving local Elders and knowledge holders to provide teachings to clients.

Components of program:

The program is run twice a year with each session being of duration of 16 weeks. The program offers workshops concerning life skills development, personal growth and development, financial planning, career and educational planning and goal setting. Program benefits offered include access to transportation, the food bank, interview clothing and one on one counselling. There is a strong cultural component to the program consisting of the use of talking circles, smudging, Medicine Wheel teachings, sweat lodge ceremonies and the inclusion of Elders. The hope is for women to become reconnected to the community.

Services/How they work:

Services are offered on site at the facility.

Funding:

Funded is provided by the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS), and the Metro Vancouver Urban Aboriginal Strategy (MVUAS).

Relationships and Stakeholders
Involvement of Target Groups:

Women provide input into practicum placements (on their own or through the help of a facilitator) as well as feedback through course evaluations.

Partners:

Vancouver Aboriginal Transformative Justice Services; Native Education College; and the Urban Native Youth Association.

Other relationships:

N/A

Details of Program Evaluation
Evaluation:

No evaluation has been completed.

Highlights of Evaluation Findings:

N/A

Program Outcomes
Measures of Success:

Success is measured based upon feedback from participants concerning their personal growth; levels of program attendance; and how successful clients are in gaining employment.

Achievements:

Successfully connecting women to their culture. Clients are successfully learning skills to take with them out into the world once the program ends.

Challenges:

Obtaining funding. Not knowing if funding will be available from session to session.

Things to Know to Replicate
Replication Advice:

The program is considered replicable. The vision must be community oriented and staff must have relevant cultural and spiritual backgrounds to provide the relevant counselling and mentorship needed.

Resources:

Sufficient funding and properly qualified staff are necessary to the success of the program.

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