This weekend was my first official shift running an arts/culture/lifeskills program at a local Aboriginal Community Centre.

It’s a program targeted at kids who are in care or at risk of going into care and their foster/biological caregivers. It is meant to teach them resilience so that no matter where they are in life they can turn to arts or Indigenous culture to keep them going.

This week, the first week back after winter break, we only had one family make it. In some ways it was good because that meant I got to paint too!

We wanted something simple for our first day back so we organized painting. We introduced the family to Cree artist Jerry Whitehead. He is an artist who uses beautiful bright colours and typically draws families and pow wow scenes. So, we encouraged the families to draw their family, no matter which kind they come from, or a pow wow if they had been to one.

The picture above is the one I painted. It is a little cartoon of all of my family members. As much as I enjoy drawing, I have not tried painting since I was in elementary school. It was fun to be able to try it out (and not have to buy all the supplies for myself).

I have actually worked this program a few times last year. I got called in when someone was sick or on leave. However, at the end of last year the woman who normally runs the program found a new job somewhere else. I was asked to take over along with my coworker (who had been working with the other woman for about a year).

It’s very different now though because we are fully in charge of planning and running this program on our own. One of the things we are also in charge of are files! I realize, in a few weeks, files will probably become a little tedious. But, for now, it feels very professional, grown up, and social work-y (I realize that isn’t a real word).