Brave Bear’s Story

#MoccasinsontheMove – Brave Bear’s Graduation

I’d like to start this story out by saying how honoured and privileged I am to know the young man that this story is about. He goes by the name of “Brave Bear”, and brave he is! The name is so fitting, bears are well known for their sensible forward thinking attitudes that crave stability. The bear people are well-known for desiring to “fix” things when they sense an injustice lurking in the forest, this is where bear shows courage and critical thinking skills.

                All of the things about the Bear People perfectly describe our client Brave Bear, he has overcome so much in his short time here on this plain. He is an old soul written into the story of our modern day to bring teachings of bravery, courage, and resiliency.

                Brave Bear and his Mama Bear first came to know about the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association (FRAFCA) in the midst of a life-crisis where their basic necessities of life were compromised. Mama Bear found out that due to some unfortunate circumstances that her and her son were going to be absolutely homeless and they had one day to find a new house in the midst of the housing crisis. They were at that time homeless living in hotels, motels and couch surfing. They were left with no place to go, and no money to attain anything that would afford them a safe home. Mama Bear and her Brave Bear were in crisis. Brave Bear was not attending school regularly as he wasn’t able to attain an address.

When all of the stress of not having a home for so many months, not having her son able to attend school, and at their absolute bottom it finally came crumbling down. The “Survival Mode” that they had been living in so long had now taken it’s toll on this family. Mama Bear finally met her complete breaking point at Surrey Central Station where she was in tears and in distress talking to her son about their situation. A passerby overheard her and gave her a card for the Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Program (AHOP) at FRAFCA. She put the card in her purse and didn’t give it much thought at the moment, the stress of the situation didn’t allow her to think past the immediate circumstances at hand.

Mama Bear remained in a place of complete crisis over the duration of the day, time was running out they had no place to go. Brave Bear being the “fixer” he is told his Mother, “why don’t you call that phone number you got today?” Mama Bear with nothing to lose called and spoke with the AHOP Worker at FRAFCA. The AHOP worker let her know that all would be okay, she would help in all ways she could to find them a home. Within a day the AHOP worker was able to find her a home, financially supported the transition, setup the family with services to move their things, and filled up their fridge with groceries. Mama Bear and Brave Bear were able to breathe knowing that they had a stable and safe roof over their head for the first time in months.

                The AHOP Worker and other Housing workers continued to build a connection with the family over the next year. In the following months Brave Bear and his Mother fell on some hard times and were having financial difficulties. Brave Bear felt the need to take care of his new home and his Mama Bear so he came to FRAFCA to announce he would be leaving school in order to financially support the family. The Housing team made him a deal. They said, “if you promise us to graduate then we will assist your family with a rental subsidy,” Brave Bear being a man of resiliency and courage agreed. By this point he had already missed 5 months of school. This is when he decided to go to school in East Vancouver to catch up. He transited from Surrey to East Vancouver every single morning for months in order to catch up on the work he missed. He attended school everyday in all conditions in order to maintain his bus pass that his school program would pay for under the agreement the student had perfect attendance. Brave Bear was able to catch up in all his school work and continued to stay in connection with FRAFCA for the duration of his schooling.

This year we were proud to attend Brave Bears highschool graduation. This young man had defied all odds, defied the status-quo, and stood brave in the face of all that was meant to tear him down.

He is now in contact with the Indigenous Youth Urgent Needs Worker who has set him up with new work gear so Brave Bear can work over the summer. He plans to join the trades in September and his ultimate goal is to become a trained Red Seal in his choice Trade.

We have no doubts that this young man will accomplish whatever he sets his mind to in his lifetime.

Thank you for your story Brave Bear, thank you for showing others that courageous, brave young warriors like you still do exist- you are a true trailblazer.

Indigenous Wellness Training Society Now in Surrey!

Indigenous Wellness Training Society Now in Surrey!

The Indigenous Wellness Training Society provides:

  • A residential recovery home promoting resiliency;
  • A therapeutic and a warm supportive environment;
  • A “recovery system” assisting clients to overcome alcohol and drug addictions;
  • Wellness promotion teaching life skills and job skills;
  • Addiction related workshops and one-to-one counselling;
  • Education of traditional Indigenous Values;
  • To promote healthy eating and living;
  • Providing skills sets and training for clients to operate their own business;
  • Operation of social enterprise businesses for the purpose of on-the-job skills training.

To accomplish this we have five drivers of empowerment which are Recovery, Education, Employment, Culture and Life Skills.

  • Recovery leads to self-efficacy which is a sense of personal accomplishment
  • Education leads to self-determination which is a sense of personal choice
  • Employment (Business Skills) leads to personal consequence which is a sense of having an impact
  • Culture leads to meaning which is a sense of having value in cultural activities
  • Life Skills leads to trust which is a sense of security

Check out their page for more information! http://indigenoustc.com/

 

Province invests $53 million for new Aboriginal housing

Aboriginal affordable housing received a major boost today with the announcement of more than $53 million in provincial funding.

The money will be used for eight housing developments throughout the province that will produce 378 units.

The announcement was made at the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association in Surrey, one of the housing providers chosen to receive funding.

The Province is providing more than $1.3 million in capital funding to the organization to create 15 units of affordable housing for Aboriginal women and children, in partnership with the City of Surrey and the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver.

Other projects include:

  • Kekinow Native Housing Society is receiving $9.4 million for a 106-unit project in Surrey.
  • Lil Michif Optipemisiwak Family and Community Services is receiving $3.9 million for a 30-unit project in Kamloops.
  • M’akola Housing Society is receiving $11.6 million for a 40-unit project in Fort St. John and $8.9 million for a 55-unit project in Langford.
  • Mamele’awt Qweesome Housing Society is receiving $10 million for a 60-unit project in Abbotsford.
  • Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre Society is receiving $4.6 million for a 35-unit project in Nanaimo.
  • Vernon Native Housing Society is receiving $4.3 million for a 37-unit project in Vernon.

The announcement follows a call for Expressions of Interest in June 2016.

The funding is part of a $355 million dollar investment announced by the Province in February 2016 to create more than 2,000 units of affordable housing in B.C.

These new units of Aboriginal housing are in addition to the 190 units – a commitment of over $40 million – that the Province has announced for Aboriginal housing in B.C. since June 2016.

Quotes:

Peter Fassbender, MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood –

“Addressing Aboriginal housing needs is a key plank of our government’s overall housing strategy. This investment will create safe, affordable housing for Aboriginal people in need, including youth, women, families and elders.”

Margaret Pfoh, chief executive officer, Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA) –

“Having Aboriginal housing providers able to meet the needs of their communities on the ground is essential to the reconciliation process and to helping our people in a culturally appropriate way. We’re delighted about these eight developments and we look forward to working with all of these providers and their new projects.”

Quick Facts:

  • Since 2001, the Province has invested or committed to a total of $6.3 billion to provide affordable housing supply and access for low-income individuals, seniors and families.
  • This includes new investment commitments of $920 million to support the acquisition, construction and renovation of almost 5,300 housing units throughout B.C. over the next few years.
  • More than 104,000 B.C. households benefit from provincial social housing programs and services.

Learn More:

To learn more about the Province's actions on housing affordability, visit: http://housingaction.gov.bc.ca/

To learn more about the Province's actions on housing affordability, visit: http://housingaction.gov.bc.ca/

Follow BC Housing on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BC_Housing

~ As posted on https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017MNGD0066-001078

FRAFCA’s 1st Gala a Success!

DONOR RECOGNITION

Journeys In the Right Direction Guiding Youth Home was the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Associations first ever fundraising Gala. We celebrated 10 amazing years of serving youth at the All Nations Youth Safe House and we raised over $5000 towards creating second stage housing for the homeless youth population we serve. Without the shared hope of our supporters and partnerships this opportunity for growth would not have been possible. We look forward to seeing you all again!

We would like to thank the following foundations, corporations, employee groups and sponsors for their contributions.

Foundations, Corporations and Employee Groups

Gold Sponsor

Vancity Credit Union

Riverside Signature Banquet Halls

 

Bronze Sponsors

City of Surrey

Toronto Dominion Bank

Air Canada Foundation

Surrey Board of Trade

 

 All other donors, sponsors & supporters

Laff Lines

Fraser River Raft Expeditions

BC Lions

Vancouver Canucks

Memento Mori Studios

Vancouver Aquarium

Source for Sports

Vancouver Art Gallery

BCGEU

Pacific National Exhibition

Pacific Surf Co.

Guildford Town Centre

Science World at Telus World of Science

BC 50/50

Metropolis at Metrotown

Kumsheen Resorts

Costco Wholesale

Safeway

CBR Photography

Perry James

Melanie Mark

JR Larose

Vera Lefranc

Suzette Amaya

Thank you Coast Capital Savings!

Your generosity is priceless.

We are so thankful for our donors and what they have done for our youth. I hope you all understand the gravity of what you have done for these Youth who otherwise would have had nothing.  The joy and happiness you brought our youth this year will have a huge impact for years to come.

Thank you!