Throughout the pandemic the members of our network have worked tirelessly to create moments of joy and peace for our community. They have found innovative ways to bring people together and to alleviate suffering. For many, their innovative ideas wouldn’t have come to life without grants. This is the case with Sara Riel, Marymound and the Aulneau Renewal Centre who received the Safe at Home Manitoba grant in winter 2020.
The Aulneau Renewal Centre used the Safe at Home Manitoba grant to prepare and deliver 250 attachment kits for children 8 to 13 years old and for their caregivers. “As an organization that provides therapeutic services focused on attachment, we wanted to promote healthy caregiver-child relationships, especially during these times when lockdowns and physical distancing limit children’s interactions with people outside their household,” said Lise Furet, Student Wellness Check Facilitator at the Aulneau Renewal Centre.
The Aulneau Renewal Centre packed the kits with $150 worth of games, colouring books and other activities that could be completed by children on their own or with their caregiver. The organization gave the kits to fifty families (each family received two kits), Fédération des Parents du Manitoba, New Directions and My Tween and Me. “The kit was awesome and so appreciated!” Said a caregiver. “My kids were so excited and pleasantly surprised by the contents! It gave them something wonderfully positive during this tough time.”
Marymound took a different approach. They used the grant to help the Indigenous children they support reconnect to their roots. “Due to the effects of colonialism on Indigenous people, a lot of our people have lost touch with their traditional teachings, their language, their songs, their food and their dances,” said Chance Paupanakis, Indigenous Recreation and Land-Based Coordinator at Marymound. “It was important for Marymound to use this grant to help Indigenous people reclaim their identity throughout the pandemic.”
In order to deliver Indigenous teachings, such as cooking and snaring, Marymound ran an online program called Culture from Home. The organization used the grant to purchase 2 iPads and 10 Chromebooks so that the children they support had access to their online program. “It’s always humbling and rewarding to help Indigenous people rediscover who they are,” said Chance.
Sara Riel created 26 mini moment videos. In under five minutes, these videos cover a wide range of topics, including weighted breathing, developing a routine and physical fitness. “For a lot of people, addressing their mental health can seem intimidating,” said Danielle Lester, Community Connections Coordinator at Sara Riel. “These videos are gentle introductions to ways to promote your mental health.” To address the communal loneliness we’ve all been experiencing, Sara Riel also used the grant to create a video about loneliness. In the video, their executive director and an employee discuss the ways in which loneliness manifests itself, and how loneliness can be harmful sometimes and beneficial others.
The Safe at Home Manitoba grant allowed Sara Riel to purchase equipment to produce and edit videos. This included a camera, memory cards, lighting, editing software, and a laptop that can sustain heavy video editing. “We’re grateful we received the grant because without it we couldn’t have educated and engaged our community to the extent that we did,” said Danielle. Sara Riel’s videos can be found on their Youtube channel.