Flying solo but never alone
By Kerri Irvin-Ross, Chief Executive Officer
I concluded week four during the night shift at the Youth Resource Centre. I want to thank the team members for their patience as I visited with them, learning about their invaluable service to youth, families, and service providers in the province. April 30th was my first day flying solo. That day we held our first weekly smudge at 175 Mayfair. The smudge room was filled with the scents of the sage as we united in the circle to smudge together. The power of the circle was felt by all who attended. It gave me the confidence to embrace the upcoming week and helped me to realize that as a member of the MYS team you are never really flying solo.
During the week, I had the privilege of meeting with Indigenous leaders to listen to their experiences with MYS. Elders Clayton Sandy and Jack Mercredi spoke about their personal interest in the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and their commitment to being a bridge between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Chief Dennis Meeches (pictured with me below) from Long Plain First Nation shared his vision of economic development for his community and the province.
I reunited with child welfare advocate, Michael Redhead Champagne (pictured below in red), and listened intently to his continued call to action for more meaningful support for families and the needs of youth currently in care. Their shared commitments to improving families, strengthening relationships, and promoting cultural opportunities align with MYS vision. I found the conversations enlightening, the potential partnerships inspiring, and a call to action essential.
We had some excitement at the office as we hosted our very first potluck lunch meeting for Indigenous employees. This group will meet monthly and will help to lead the way forward by providing advice, ideas, and feedback as we work towards ensuring we are a welcoming place for Indigenous people.
I ended the week by meeting with Cory Campbell and Tim Spring from Project Neecheewam—we value the 20-year partnership we have had with this Indigenous organization. We have been invited to host our next Board meeting at Project Neecheewam and we appreciate this opportunity.
On May 3rd I joined our Alternative Parent Home (APH) team at McDonalds on Goulet for McHappy Day. We worked alongside volunteers from Ronald McDonald House, radio personalities and staff from McDonald’s to sell socks, buttons, bags, and bracelets to raise money for Ronald McDonald House. It was a great demonstration of our team members contributing to the broader community. Congratulations to Margaret and the McDonald Team for their continued support to families in Manitoba! Thank you APH for your leadership!
I was fortunate to be able to go on a ride along with the Mobile Crisis Team (MCT). It was so informative and inspiring to listen to team members as they spoke with families and service providers. Their expertise, knowledge, and camaraderie all lend themselves to positive outcomes. I look forward to future ride alongs with the MCT.
I had the pleasure to join a group of youth for dinner at their home. We enjoyed a KFC dinner and great conversation. Everyone was so welcoming, I felt right at home! While sharing chocolate chip cookies I listened to the youth tell their stories about family, their interests, and dreams. It reminded me of our responsibility to honour their spirits and continue to do our best to nurture their dreams.
As the week ended I reflected on the hope of new partnerships, further understanding of the role of MYS in the community, and the determination to continue building on the foundation built by nearly nine decades of community involvement.
Pictured below: Indigenous employees at MYS hosted their putluck lunch/meeting on May 3, 2018.