Aanii, Shpigaabwi Kwe n’dizhnikaas, Maiingan n’dodem, Wiikwemkoong n’donjibaa
I have been married to my husband Gerard for 28 years, I am a mother to 4 beautiful boys (men) and a Gramzy (Grandmother) to 4 more beautiful boys.
I am excited to be starting this new work adventure with The First Peoples Wellness Circle. I have been working in Mental Health for about 27 years in different capacities here at home as well as in the city of North Bay and most recently with the Wikwemikong Board of Education as the Mino Bimaadiziwin Project. I began my career at Nadmadwin Clinic as a Mental Health Clinician and eventually became the Clinic Manager – It was a much smaller program then! My young family was involved in a lot of sports and so we made the decision to move to North Bay in order to create and access different opportunities for our family. It was a tough move that meant less travel to Sports, but also meant that we left behind our friends and family supports. I began work at the North Bay Regional Health Centre with a Regional Aboriginal Mental Health Program, initially as an Outreach Worker and then as a Program Manager. I was able to transfer into the Policy Department as the hospital worked toward reviewing, revising and integrating their policies once amalgamation of the North Bay hospitals began (downsizing). In April 2013, I began work in Nipissing First Nation as a Child & Youth Mental Health Counsellor with Giyak-Moseng – The Right Path Counselling & Prevention Services. I am grateful for and enjoyed the opportunity to work with a knowledgeable very skilled and committed multi-disciplinary team. My role was to provide direct mental health services as well as the inclusion of support and education to not only the children and youth, but also to their families. My service area was in both Nipissing First Nation and Dokis First Nation and much of the service delivery took place within the schools. In June 2022, I moved back home to spend time with my beautiful Mother. I accepted employment with the Wikwemikong Board of Education on the Mino Bimaadiziwin Project and my role was to create a School Mental Health and School Success Program for the Board. The Program is now fully functional and is very busy delivering programming year-round within the community. It is a beautiful program that includes Culture as a Foundation for Wellness, Mental Health Programming and Brief Intervention as well as Instrumental Support when required.
I am grateful and proud to be completing my Master of Social Work this Spring and will be graduating in the Fall. This new employment opportunity provides an opportunity to renew past work relationships and to create new ones. I am eager to begin working toward the creation of wellness opportunities for FPWC community partners.