Pathways Community Services Association
Our Story Why We Exist
“[With Pathways] I get the freedom to be who I want to be. I have learned to open up and be honest. They help me by talking, being there, and being caring, accepting and patient. When I mess up they understand and keep working with me. The Aboriginal culture at Pathways is important and it is my support. It is nice to know it is okay to pray and burn sweet grass and I can listen to the stories of the Elders and look to them as guides, following their advice." -Youth in a residential program.
If I did not come [to Pathways], I might have returned to the reservation to live on welfare. Instead I am inspired to graduate and attend university. I want to be a teacher and launch a school with environmental education, a school that encourages other native youth. [Pathways] support[s] my dreams and vision and as a result I have become more confident that I can achieve them.” -Youth in a residential program.
"Our home visitor made me confident in my parenting abilities. She listened to my concerns and showed my husband and I what we needed to do and how to do it. She also supported us and helped us find our new roots in Canada. We are very grateful for the help our home visitor gave us." - New mother in our Healthy Families program.
Pathways Community Services Association (Pathways) exists to respond to emerging social issues and provide supportive services that allow families and community to thrive. We are especially committed to meeting the needs of Aboriginal children, youth and families. As an agency, the outcomes we seek for our clients are as follows:
- Children and youth have strengthened resiliency and capacity for success, including preparedness for entering adulthood
- Children, youth, and families are healthier and more connected to their communities
- Children, youth, and families experience healthy and resilient relationships
- Aboriginal cultural integrity and identity is strengthened
Our Impact What We Do
Tapisahotiwin is a Cree word that means 'families and/or people making positive connections- not only for themselves- but the action of doing so with others.' Tapisahotiwin is the act of connecting and speaks to the deliberate way Pathways workers draw clients into supportive and helpful relationships so that they may benefit from our services. With our support our clients learn to engage in Tapisahotiwin with us and with significant people in their lives.
Pathways strives to minimize the impact of social issues and guide the children, youth, and families we serve towards creating better lives. Our own relationships and connections with those we serve are the foundation for the services we provide. Respect and recognition of culture is embedded in our work with individuals and families, and within our community.
- Offers residential and support services that strengthen the caring connections people need to be healthy and strong.
- Provides assistance for vulnerable parents as they adjust to the birth of a new baby.
- Connects teens with caring mentors who they live with and from whom they can learn the skills necessary to be healthy adults.
- Links vulnerable people in crisis to immediate supports that offer stability and safety and we stay with them until the crisis has passed.
- Promotes and creates opportunities for urban Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal individuals and communities to partake in and learn about celebrations and ceremonies that honor Aboriginal culture and history.
OUR MISSION | Drawing on the strengths and guidance of Aboriginal traditions and teachings, Pathways:
- Engages children, youth and families through delivery of a continuum of resources, supports and services;
- Strengthens Aboriginal cultural integrity and identity;
- Creates and celebrates community unity, dignity and wellness.
OUR VISION | Children, youth and families thrive within a culturally responsive community.
- Excellence - we are committed to the highest standards of practice, including consensus-based decision-making.
- Humour & Trust - we nuture healthy and resilient relationships.
- Integrity & Honesty - we declare our authenticity & genuine approach to community service.
- Respect & Inclusiveness - we embrace all cultures and invite all people.
Our Programs How We Do It
Pathways works with children, youth and families whose primary relationships and connections with caregivers and their communities have been disrupted. We draw jointly from the strengths and guidance of Aboriginal teachings and traditions and from the most promising practices in human services to strengthen and help rebuild these relationships and connections. From these two influences, we offer services that are culturally appropriate and respectful of our clients' own traditions and customs.
1) MISKANAWAH CULTURAL RESOURCES:
Miskanawah (meaning ‘pathways’ in Cree) is our philosophical framework that is rooted in Aboriginal teachings, ceremonies and guidance from Elders. These traditional values and beliefs have tremendous healing potential and are embedded within our service delivery practices. As its name implies, this approach assists individuals and families in building pathways to and within the community, strengthening their natural supports, and engaging in healthier ways of living.
We provide opportunities to take part in smudging, talking circles, sweat lodge ceremonies, drumming classes, a Round Dance and special ceremonies and celebrations to our clients, members of the community, and other groups like schools or businesses.
Aboriginal Mentoring Homes | Aboriginal Mentoring Homes is a residential program where youth live with a mentor family until they return home or become adults. Mentor homes offer a safe and supportive place for youth to finish growing up and develop the strengths and skills needed for adult living.The focus is on building trust, mutual respect and making healthy lifestyle choices while supporting and strengthening cultural identity and connection. The age range is typically 12 to 18 years. This program operates with the guiding concept of Oskipmatsahk, a Cree word meaning "youth transitioning to adulthood."
Regional After Hours Youth Support (RAYS) | The RAYS program provides safety and stability to children, youth and families in crisis situations through immediate response. RAYS workers support clients in the crisis situation but also reduce the long term negative impacts of crisis. RAYS staff might be called to support medical or mental health needs, accompany clients to clinics or the hospital, provide behaviour management support within a home, and supervise clients at risk of suicide or self-harm.
Pathways Summer Camps | Pathways hosts summer cultural camps for youth ages 10 to 17 at no charge to participants. The camps focus on ‘Quieting the Spirit’ of young people by exposing them to traditional teachings, songs, stories, and ceremonies within the natural, comforting surroundings of Mother Earth.
Healthy Families | Pathways’ Healthy Families program provides a home visitor for families with newborn babies. Visits focus on strengthening parenting, attachment, and child health and safety. Pathways helps families to monitor the developmental milestones of their child. Home visitors also support the physical and mental well-being of the parent(s).
Nehiyaw Kihokewin | A Grandmother’s Council (Kokum’s Council) was called in order to develop our newest program, Nehiyaw Kihokewin. The name, Cree for “families visiting with the spirit of our grandmothers,” speaks to its development and its objective. Through this program, Aboriginal families with young children will be provided a home visitor that will support them in their child’s critical early years of development. In addition to a strong parenting curriculum, families will have access to the support of Elders, ceremony, and traditional teachings passed down directly from our Grandmothers.
Mahmawi-atoskiwin | Mahmawi-atoskiwin is a Cree word meaning “a group of people coming together to work as one.” Pathways has teamed with committed partners to work with Aboriginal families requiring Child and Family Service’s support. The program is led by the voice and needs of each family as everyone works together to ensure children are raised in safe families.
For more information, visit our website.
Our Requests What You Can Do
Support Vulnerable Youth
- Become a mentor home and support a youth in developing healthy relationships and resiliency
- Provide art supplies, sports equipment, punch passes for activities or movie passes to further programming activities for at-risk youth, helping develop feelings of self-worth
- Help us reduce our costs by donating coupons for food or activities that youth participate in with their mentors and support workers
- Volunteer to teach youth arts, music, sports or life skills
Create Strong Families
- Donate baby items (such as diapers or clothes), toys or furniture to ease the stress of new families
- $30 or a book of 10 transit tickets will give new parents transportation for 5 doctor’s appointments
- Give gift cards to help new parents provide for their children and meet their family’s basic needs
- Host a collection room to help us organize the donations for our programs and families
- Volunteer as a family to mentor and offer friendship to a vulnerable family
- $500 allows our Grandmother’s council to facilitate a group learning experience, where they pass on traditional child rearing knowledge to new Aboriginal parents
Connect with Aboriginal Culture
- $10,000 makes your business or employer a presenting sponsor of our Annual Honour Round Dance connecting almost 1,000 attendees with Cree/ Saulteaux traditions
- Volunteer and help celebrate our Round Dance or Seasonal Celebrations, engaging with community members to dance around the drummers from east to west, the direction of the rising and setting sun
- Participate in our drumming or beading classes, a pipe ceremony, a traditional sweat, a talking circle, or any of the other traditional practices we offer through our Miskanawah cultural resources programs
- Invite an Aboriginal Cultural speaker to your team meeting
Strengthen Aboriginal Opportunity
- $30,000 sponsors our Miskanawah Cultural Youth Camp for the season
- $6,000 supports our Elder’s Advisory council for one year
- $750 will send one vulnerable Aboriginal youth to Miskanawah Cultural Youth Camp, connecting them to traditional ceremonies and increasing their understanding of cultural knowledge and self-identity
- Join our Board and help serve an organization committed to Aboriginal cultural identity and integrity