A message from Dodie Jordaan, Executive Director.
As many of you have commented, 2020 was certainly a challenging year. Yet, as I now look back on the year, I realize some incredible things happened because of you. Because of our community.
When the pandemic hit Canada, we knew immediately that our community was most vulnerable and would be the most affected. We also knew support had to go on, so we were thrilled the community allowed us to move programming and supports remotely and online.
Thank you to staff and volunteers – everyone who helped develop online tools, dropped packages off directly to participants’ homes and engaged them regularly to ensure people’s basic needs were met.
Ka Ni Kanichihk was identified as an essential service early and we received donations, grants and COVID Emergency Response funding while the need and request for support from the greater community grew. We are grateful to you for the support.
The change happened so fast. Staff figured out how to move teaching online, and how to make it accessible. Knowledge Keepers and elders were connected to those who were struggling the most. Then, we began pulling together hampers and supplies and delivering them directly into the hands of community. Some of our staff brought their children on these runs as everyone was off school when deliveries began. The amazing Ka Ni Kanichihk staff didn’t flinched. They always knew exactly what to do. They never waivered in doing their Heart Work. To them, I say Ekosani and Chi-Miigwetch, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
When all this started, no one imagined it would go on this long and that the impact would be so deep.
We have seen mental health significantly impacted, both in the community and in our staff. We have seen the economy come to a standstill, leaving many people stranded or without, and crushing local businesses we rely on. And we have seen some organizations in the non-profit sector lay off staff, close programs, and in some cases, close their doors.
We must look forward, but what does looking forward mean? For Ka Ni Kanichihk, it means honing our education and training programs to focus economic reopening and ensure our community will be trained and part of that. It means expanding mental health and healing supports so together we can combat the long-term effects. It means supporting the community by listening, caring, loving, serving, and supporting.
As I look forward, I know that it will be difficult, but I am committed to my community. And Ka Ni Kanichihk is committed to the community, its people, and this heart work.
I am so lucky that I have a bunch of deadly relatives I get to work with, whose hearts are leading their work. Together, we have the strength and passion to continue to bring our people home…