28Jan2022

Welcome to The Link (formerly Macdonald Youth Services)

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Board and CEO Unveil New Name and Identity

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Knowledge Keeper Gifts Youth Council a Name

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National Day for Truth & Reconciliation

On Wednesday, September 29, the Indigenous Initiatives Team lit and tended a Sacred Fire between 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM in recognition of Orange Shirt Day.

On Thursday, September 30, 2021, the MYS office will close. Staff, residents, youth and families will join the rest of Canada in honouring Indigenous Children and Families impacted by the residential school system.

This isn’t a passive holiday. Many of us will reflect, pray, meditate, and learn, keeping the memory of the many Indigenous children who never came home in our minds, honouring those in our lives today, nurturing the child within ourselves and acknowledging those who survived and were impacted.

There are a number of things we encourage staff, volunteers and the general public to do on this day. Wear an orange shirt. Watch Every Child Matters (free on You Tube or CBC Gem), or We Were Children. Or read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.

There are also a number of in-person and virtual events being held throughout the city.

In-person Events

  • Reconciliation through education, a walk with Bear Clan Patrol Bear Clan Patrol. September 29 at 5:30 pm. Gordon Bell High School. More info.
  • Reconciliation Week Sacred Fire, Anish Corporation, Wa-Say Healing Centre Inc. September 27-29, 10 am. Memorial Provincial Park. More info.
  • Healing Walk for Orange Shirt Day 60s Scoop. Legacy of Canada- MB Region. September 30 at 11:00 am. Canadian Museum for Human Rights. More info.
  • Every Child Matters Corn Maze. Deer Meadow Farms. All season. See Deer Meadow Farms website.
  • Orange Shirt Days. Manitoba Museum. September 30 – Oct. 3 at 11:00 am. Manitoba Museum. More info.
  • Orange Shirt Day Pow Wow. Wa-Say Healing Centre Inc.September 30 at 1:00 pm. St. John’s Park. More info.
  • Southern Chiefs’ Organization Orange Heart Awareness Campaign. More info.

Virtual & Broadcasted Events

 

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Board Approves Decision to Rebrand

After more than 90 years operating with the Macdonald moniker, the MYS board approved the decision to beg a process to rebrand the organization.

MYS was named after Hugh John Macdonald, the son of Canada’s first prime minister, John A. Macdonald, a widely acknowledged architect of the residential school system.

The volunteer Board of Directors acknowledges the harms from residential schools and the role the Canadian government had in their establishment and unanimously passed a motion to rename the organization during a meeting on June 10, 2021.

“We really feel as a board that the time is right now,” said Shane Storie, Board Chair who announced the change to team members during a virtual town hall. “We will begin the process by engaging with Indigenous knowledge keepers, funders, Manitoba youth, families and other stakeholders to ensure the new name reflects the people we serve, conveys what we do, and represents the values of inclusion, community and the evolution of MYS.”

The organization’s name has been an ongoing conversation for some time said Cheyenne Chartrand, Knowledge Keeper and Auntie. “The change in name is an essential step in addressing the legacy of residential schools and the impact it has had on Indigenous families. Being a large, child and youth focused, non-Indigenous organization, we have the responsibility of being a good relative to the community we serve. Children need action, not another apology. This is us keeping our word.”

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Response to News from Kamloops

As an organization and community, we are devastated to learn of the loss of 215 children discovered at the Kamloops Indian Residential School site during the week of Friday, May 28, 2021. We stand in solidarity and grief with all Indigenous community members and all Indigenous employees, volunteers and students within MYS.

As people living in Canada, we continue to learn about the Indian Residential Schools’ traumatic reality on Indigenous children, families, and communities. Still, on Friday, the truth broke our hearts as we try to comprehend the loss of 215 beautiful lives and the impact their death has on their parents, grandparents, families and communities.

We must honour the lost lives, support the warriors that have survived and stand together at MYS to take action by creating space to learn the truth and commit to reconciliation.

Over the next four days, we will be hosting a sacred fire at our main office, 175 Mayfair Avenue in honour of the children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School.

The fire will burn for four days and four nights. We encourage all MYS teams and foster parents to pay their respects by offering and acknowledging the families impacted by Indian Residential Schools.

All COVID19 protocols are in place and require everyone to wear a mask. Practice social distancing by lining up and waiting until it is your turn to provide an offering. There will be fire keepers onsite throughout the day, evenings and nights to help facilitate.

MYS North is hanging orange shirts in the windows of MYS Healing Homes and offices and doing art therapy with Heart to Home.

We will also be tying 215 orange ribbons to honour the children who were found, and we will be asking youth and employees onsite to support this installation later this week.

If you or someone you know is experiencing pain or distress at this time, please reach out to the Indian Residential School Survivors and Family. They are available 24-hours a day 1-866-925-4419.

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Introducing Heart to Home

Dear MYS community,

We wanted to share some important news about our foster care program.

For many years, these programs have operated under the identity of Alternative Parent Homes (APH) and Purple Martin.

For some time, we have felt that neither the APH or Purple Martin labels adequately or consistently conveyed the benefit or function of this service.

After a great deal of thought and consultation, we are pleased to announce that as of Jan 1, 2021, these programs will be amalgamated and known henceforth collectively as Heart to Home.

We believe this new name represents a unified identity and conveys a more appropriate emotional value of the service. It should be noted that nothing else will change. Agencies and families can continue to rely on the same specialized supports and service for children they’ve come to expect.

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The Link Partners with SCO

A new partnership between Macdonald Youth Services (MYS) and the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is a trailblazing collaboration in reconciliation that will mean better and more appropriate supports and services for youth and families from 34 southern Manitoba First Nation communities, where half of Manitoba’s 11,000 children in care are members.

On September 18, 2019, Grand Chief Jerry Daniels annouced to the Chiefs-in-Summit that a signed Friendship Memorandum of Understanding between SCO and MYS ratifies the relationshijp and process for the two organizations to collaborate on a governance and community care model, which is guided by the principles of reconciliation and reflects the needs and aspirations of First Nations of southern Manitoba.

“There is an alarming overrepresentation of southern First Nations’ children in care, many of whom are in placements that are detached and foreign to our communities and culture,” said Grand Chief Daniels. “It is a growing crisis and there is a need for dramatic and urgent system change. My intention is that this partnership will be a big first step signaling signficant and postive change that transitions governance and services for our children, families and communities.”

For MYS, it means an opportunity to help more youth and families from southern Manitoba First Nations’ communities and build on a network that already includes northern Manitoba, north-west Ontario and Nunavut.

“We are honoured the Southern Chief’s Organization has placed its confidence in MYS to work with its communities to provide hope, healing and growth,” said Jim Krovats, MYS Board Chair. “In Manitoba, 90 per cent of children in care are Indigenous. Our team is dedicated to providing effective social services that are consistent with treaty and Indigenous rights.

“This partnership is the first of its kind in North America but we see it as the best path forward for better outcomes for children and families in the future.”

The federal government recently passed Bill C92, which legislatively recognizes the jurisdiction of Indigenous peoples to create their own legislation regarding child welfare. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission outlined five calls to action in relation to child welfare that it perceived as essential in order to begin the process to rectify the residential school legacy.

Founded on the principles of reconciliation and the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the new partnership will include:

  • The appointment of a SCO representative to the MYS Board of Directors.
  • The establishment of an advisory group to help steward the partnership.
  • The development of a joint work plan that meets our shared goals to improve social programs and infrastructure for southern First Nations.
  • The establishment of joint reporting mechanisms to measure partnership outcomes.

The new partnership stems from opportunities created by significant child welfare reform at all levels of government consistent with southern First Nations’ aspirations.

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Announcing our new CEO

Mr. Jim Krovats, President and Chair of the Board of Directors of MYS is pleased to announce that Ms. Kerri Irvin-Ross will assume responsibilities as Chief Executive Officer, effective April 1st, 2018. 

“Kerri brings with her a long-standing commitment to children and families, as well as a wealth of knowledge and experience. We look forward to Kerri continuing to build upon the good work that has been happening at here since 1929.”

Kerri served in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly from 2003 to 2016, representing the constituencies of Fort Garry/Fort Richmond. During that time she was appointed Minister of Healthy Living, Housing and Community Development, and Family Services. Kerri spearheaded initiatives that contributed an additional 3,000 housing units and 20 child care centres across Manitoba. She also supported the implementation of the Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion Strategy to improve the lives of all Manitobans.

With a Master’s degree in Social Work and over 20 years of experience in the public sector, Kerri has worked front-line protection within child welfare as well as serving as a school social worker. She has also volunteered extensively with not-for-profit agencies such as Winnipeg Harvest and the West Central Women’s Resource Centre.

Kerri will promote the mission and mandate of MYS while sustaining and growing the agency’s profile as a trusted and valuable contributor to Manitoba.

“Providing empowering programs and services for Manitoba children, youth, adults, and families is at the centre of everything we do,” says Krovats. “It is an exciting time for us looking forward to our work with our new CEO, yet we must be sure to acknowledge how we arrived here. We acknowledge and appreciate the many contributions of our outgoing CEO, Dr. Erma Chapman. We thank her for her dedication and service to the children, youth, families, and everyone at MYS over the years. Her work has made a lasting and positive impact on many Manitobans and MYS, for which we are truly grateful.”

After 17 years in a leadership role Dr. Erma Chapman will retire on March 31, 2018. Dr. Chapman’s recent career highlight includes raising funds for and overseeing the construction of a state-of-the-art 33,000 square foot facility at 175 Mayfair Avenue in Winnipeg. The one-year-old Therapeutic Centre replaces three aging buildings and centralizes staff who were previously spread throughout six locations in Winnipeg.

Incoming CEO Kerri Irvin-Ross will be overseeing the operations of MYS, an agency that helps over 8,000 children, youth, adults, and families across Manitoba annually, with offices in The Pas, Thompson, and Winnipeg. The agency has more than 700 staff members and an annual operating budget of $30 million.