Tikinagan’s central Prevention Unit established in Sioux Lookout

Posted: April 3rd, 2019

With increased funding for prevention, announced by the federal government in 2018, Tikinagan has been able to establish more prevention and intervention programming. This comes in the form of a Prevention Support Unit based out of Sioux Lookout, which supports our community-based Prevention Coordinators and creates more prevention programs for our families and communities.

“Having the increased funding has meant we’ve been able to start not just enhancing the work our current prevention coordinators do, but also start building more prevention programs for our community members. We’ve previously always been underfunded in this area, so now we can start doing more to help better support families and children,” explains Thelma Morris, Executive Director at Tikinagan.

By providing workshops in areas like parenting, life skills, traditional activities and promoting healthy living, it helps parents who are struggling and ultimately supports Tikinagan’s service model- Mamow Obiki-ahwahsoowin (everyone working together to raise our children) and our goal of keeping families together and helping parents raise healthy and happy children.

The central prevention unit is currently composed of five staff, who work with and support 11 community-based Prevention Coordinators with hopes of expanding.

“We have been short-staffed for Prevention Coordinators in our communities and would really like to encourage anyone who is interested in working with children and families, and especially individuals who are excited about planning community events,” explains Morris. “With more funding and more support, we feel that our Prevention Coordinators can really do more. These events can be movie nights, sewing circles, book clubs, cooking classes, food and clothing drives… things like that. One big part of prevention is making more positive family-focused events in our communities to better support our families.”

The Prevention Unit has started off with many new events this spring for families visiting Sioux Lookout and Dryden for regional First Nations hockey tournaments. In February, the unit hosted bowling, a free pizza/chicken dinner and a meet & greet which included a job fair and opportunities for Tikinagan’s departments to set up booths to share information about their services.

Then, during March break and the Northern Bands Hockey Tournament, the Unit hosted events in Dryden and Sioux Lookout. This included more free bowling, a pizza/chicken dinner, a meet & greet, a pancake breakfast and a family fun day out at Camp Brigitte just outside of Dryden. In Sioux Lookout, they hosted open gym time at the local recreation centre to allow parents and kids to come out and just have fun in the gym.

“We’ve been excited to start hosting more community events. The response has been amazing and we look forward to the coming months as we continue to grow our prevention unit,” says Desmond Singleton, Prevention Services Support Supervisor.

“We want to thank everyone who came out- we really hope they’ve been enjoying these free events and continue to come out to more. We also want to thank our staff and the staff of the venues where we’ve held the events. We’ve come together to really start doing more family-focused events and hope that this helps our families and children. Prevention is all about supporting families and we have so many ideas for events and initiatives to come.”

Whether you’re in Sioux Lookout or one of the 30 First Nation communities served by Tikinagan, we welcome any ideas and input into our Prevention events. If you have ideas, are interested in being a Prevention Coordinator or want to partner on a community event, please contact the Desmond Singleton or Greg Moe at 1-800-465-3624 or prevention@tikinagan.org.