Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/7/2014 (2193 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In Ojibwa, Wahbung Abinoonjiiag translates to "children of tomorrow." The North End domestic violence prevention centre hopes to live up to its name with its latest project.
Funded by Status of Women Canada, Building Leaders in Women of Tomorrow is a two-year project that focuses on a group of young Aboriginal women, addressing their barriers (poverty, violence, etc.) while providing leadership training and mentorship opportunities.
"Wherever their passion lies, ignite that fire and empower them," said Jana Gauthier, Wahbung executive assistant and Building Leaders co-ordinator.
Building Leaders features seven participants, Shae-d Ballantyne, Marissa Fiddler, Lavanna Batangan, Joselyn Moise, Jayna Moise, Abby Letander and Tyra McDougall, aged 16 to 20. The women meet and work with local leaders, like Métis artist Lisa Delorme Meiler, who facilitated a collaborative art workshop with the girls on June 21.
"We’re trying to connect with people within our community that have already paved that path, so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We can take these mentors and ask ‘How did you get there?’ and ‘What are things to avoid?’ because there’s always pitfalls," Gauthier said.
"The heart of it is just strengthening these girls, strengthening their souls and spirits and empowering them to do the things they want to do by connecting them with people who have already made a name for themselves in those areas, just shadowing them and saying ‘How do I do what you do?’ but with their own creativity, their own spin on it."
In addition to creating art, the Building Leaders women have attended events like Ka Ni Kanichihk’s annual Keeping the Fires Burning fundraising dinner, a screening of the film Girl Rising and the Grands ’n’ More potluck dinner in February, where they listened to Make Music Matter founder Darcy Ataman speak.
In October, the Building Leaders women will showcase their art and other projects at a gala event (exact date and venue still undetermined).
Gauthier said local photographer Ian McCausland will be taking professional shots of the girls, complete with hair and makeup, for exhibition at the gala. The photos will be accompanied by bios written by the women, with guidance from Governor General’s Award-winning poet Katherena Vermette.
"Underneath their portraits they can create a short autobiography about who they are, where they’ve come from and where they’re going and how this project has catapulted them into this idea, of ‘You know what? I have hope. Violence doesn’t define me. Poverty doesn’t define me. I define me.’"
Gauthier said local leaders like Meiler and McCausland have been quick to jump on board because they see the value of the project and its participants. She hopes that continues after the program’s funding ends in October.
"For me, I don’t think there will be a taper-off period with these girls," Gauthier said. "This project may be done in October but that doesn’t end my connection with them and our hope is it doesn’t end their connection with other people either."
Community journalist — The Times
Jared Story is the community journalist for The Times. Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7206
Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.
To those who have made donations, thank you.
To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.
The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.
After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.
If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.
We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.