Good bye to the OUTFRONT / Welcome to BHF website news
Since 1999, BHF has published a published a quarterly newsletter, Outfront.In Vol. 1 No. 1, our then Executive Director, Lorne Weir, offered his views on the meaning of addiction, the inadequacy of harm reduction as an aspiration for those affected by substance abuse, and the need for comprehensive wholistic programming such as that offered at BHF. In the years since then, Outfront served to explain various aspects of BHF programming, celebrate milestones, and report on some notable activities in our therapeutic community. We mailed out each issue proudly and with the hope that it would strengthen our ties with the broader community.
But times change, for newsletters as for all things, and the time to move away from a print and postage newsletter has come. We hope a quarterly news report on our website will be a more accessible and effective way to share some stories from the therapeutic community.
CHANGES, CLOSURES and MOVES
June was a month of major change at BHF. Systemic barriers to treatment for youth and the lack of a sustainable funding formula necessitated the closure of both Male Youth Services and Female Youth Services, ending our ability to provide wholistic residential treatment for teens affected by addictions and co-occurring mental health issues. Sadly, we had to say good-bye to many valued employees who were laid off. It has been good to hear that many have moved on to new positions and heartening to hear that they continue to wish BHF programs and participants well.
With the closing of our youth programs, a second major change logically followed. The Breezy Point Program for women moved from its original home on the Selkirk property to the St. Norbert building which had previously housed Female Youth Services. BHF’s Selkirk property was listed for sale. Now settled into the house in St. Norbert, the Breezy Point program continues to provide gender specific and trauma informed treatment within a therapeutic community for ten women. The move to St. Norbert brings some added value for Breezy Point participants- access to on-site licensed infant care and an on-site adult education centre. The nine bedroom house also offers the potential for reducing wait times for treatment. If additional treatment funds are approved, this house could accommodate 16 women. BHF will continue to advocate for these increased spaces over the coming year.
EARLY LEARNING, LIFELONG LEARNING
We are very proud of BHF Daycare staff member Danielle Stacey who graduated from the Red River College Workplace Diploma Program in June 2016, earning the Early Childhood Education award. Now an Early Childhood Educator II, Danielle is attending evening courses at the University of Winnipeg, working toward a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Developmental Studies. Parents, children and co-workers all benefit as Danielle shares emerging trends in early learning and implements new curriculum ideas in our daycare.
LIVING TRADITIONAL VALUES, SHARING TRADITIONAL TEACHINGS
A Sundance Ceremony took place July 21 – 24 in the arbour at Breezy Point Road, under the direction of Mike Calder, Director of Indigenous Programs. Of the 85 dancers, 38 were BHF staff, residents, and graduates. Some of the young dancers were graduates of BHF Youth Services; they make us proud and hopeful for the future.
Mike and his Program Assistant Darryl Desjarlais, receive many requests to participate in events and ceremonies around Manitoba. They and their crew respond to as many as possible. On September 9, Mike and the Brown Bear Spirit Singers took part in an event at the Mennonite University, welcoming Indigenous women artists from Tiamacazapa, Mexico with an honour song and a closing song.
The Behavioural Health Foundation acknowledges with thanks funding provided by the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy program. This funding, administered by the City of Winnipeg, allowed us to replace worn flooring in several areas of the building, to purchase a new commercial grade dishwasher, and to rebuild two flights of a century-old wooden staircase”.
45th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
On September 16, an honour song by the Brown Bear Spirit Singers also opened BHF’s 45th Annual General Meeting and Open House. Listening to the drum and the voices, and looking around at the group of residents, staff, friends, family and supporters, many of us were feeling pride and gratitude for all the good things that happen at BHF. But we were also thinking about those who were not there with us, past residents and former staff members, particularly long time staff member Danny Calder who died suddenly in June 2016. Danny will be remembered with affection and respect.
Board President Jodi Ostapiw welcomed everyone and thanked all those who supported BHF through a difficult year. She spoke about the challenge of change but also acknowledged some of the accomplishments of the past year including that 400 people from all over Manitoba had chosen to participate in BHF programming that year. This included 28 pregnant women who gave their babies the gift of a better start in life, and 11 adults who reached the milestone of a full year in an abstinence-based mutual help program. Visitors were invited to tour the BHF grounds, the common areas of the residences, the daycare centre and the on-site St. Norbert Adult Education Centre. Residents, staff and guests all enjoyed a feast prepared by BHF staff and the resident kitchen crew.
Copies of the 2015 – 2016 Annual Report and Audited Financial Statement were available at the meeting and will be provided on request to anyone interested (email email@example.com).