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

Healthy Relationships: Women

Program name:

Walking The Journey

Organization:

Kinsmen Activity Place (KAP)

Location:

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Target Group:

Women and their children/families.

Contact Name:

Kathie Pruden, Program Coordinator

Phone:

306-931-6962

Email:

kpruden@kaphouse.ca

Website:

N/A

Program Overview
History:

The program was started in 2009 and has been ongoing ever since. Aboriginal women are a focus of the Woman's program at the Kinsmen Activity Place, however all girls and women are welcome. Research conducted in the City of Saskatoon confirms that the majority of young women engaged in high risk behaviours and activities are Aboriginal. Many girls and women who have been caught up in the street life do not have basic skills or supports to enable them to make positive changes to their lifestyle. However, often the first positive changes in one's life can create the synergy and confidence to make other positive life changes given the necessary supports. Furthermore, experience shows that girls and women at risk require a continuum of intervention and support to go from dependence and dysfunction to empowerment and independence. Walking The Journey strives to be that support for these women.

Program Description
Goals & Objectives:

To provide daily, holistic, individual and family support to clients and the surrounding community.

Traditional/Indigenous ways:

Women gather medicines with children and when the program has the financial resources, they will bring in an Elder. Women might request to see an Elder and the Coordinator sets up the meeting with a male or female elder. The sharing circle is based on a traditional sharing circle. They use rocks, smudge, etc. to assist them in the circle.

Components of program:

The program seeks to provide resources, referrals and supports to women who are struggling with poverty, homelessness, addictions, health issues, abuse, and family breakdown. It offers a weekly women's group session that aims to expand opportunities for women through educating and making them more aware of available options to assist them while at the same time allowing clients to voice their experiences in a safe and supportive environment. There is also one on one counselling available to clients. The program seeks to offer workshops and training to assist clients with enhancing their marketable skills and becoming more employable. The program strives to develop and engage in diverse partnerships with various organizations and government departments to better enable the sustainability of the KAP Woman's program.

Services/How they work:

Services are provided on site at the facility.

Funding:

Funding is provided through the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's Urban Aboriginal Strategy.

Relationships and Stakeholders
Involvement of Target Groups:

The sharing circle is driven by the women and they direct it. There is no facilitator. Staff are included as an equal in the circle. The women in the circle are the decision makers and plan workshops, etc. They take ownership and volunteer their time and services.

Partners:

Saskatoon Tribal Council; Child Hunger Education Program; Saskatoon Health region; Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op; Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's Urban Aboriginal Strategy; City of Saskatoon; Social Services; parole and Probation; Saskatoon Police; Boys & Girls Club; and the International Women of Saskatoon.

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:

Witnessing women come out of the program and becoming leaders. This is a success. They are moving past the victim stage and are now role models and mentoring others.

Achievements:

Women step into leadership roles and become mentors to new clients of the program. Seeing client's personal growth.

Challenges:

Obtaining funding. Lack of transparency in government measurements on what constitutes "success" for a program. Sometimes, there is difficulty dealing with unhealthy Elders. For example, they have wisdom and good life teachings (especially if they are at the table making decisions), but at the same time they are being abusive. How can a program approach this without being disrespectful (i.e. sitting in circle with the women with their own addictions)?

Things to Know to Replicate
Replication Advice:

The program is considered replicable. One of the main principles of the program is that there is no judgement no matter where the women are at in their journey - "We are all sisters here". Programs need to focus on the children and have Elders provide teachings that they need to learn.

Resources:

Funding is needed for honorariums; for women's personal needs; travel money to attend funerals; and to feed the participants. Providing food is a very important cultural component of the program.

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