Pathway to Miyo-Pimâtisiwin is a network of community-based agencies, people with lived-experience, Elders, and vested governmental agencies collaborating to provide our communities with equal access to supports. Our mission is to provide a collaborative and community-led initiative to combat the social factors that reposition some to street-based lifestyles; decrease social violence; and promote community healing. Our vision is for safe, healthy communities, where all citizens are valued and have equal access to meaningful supports, connections, and avenues to healing.

Pathway to Miyo-Pimâtisiwin acknowledges the devastating effects incarceration can have on mental health. Paired with COVID-19, it is no secret inmates around the world are grappling with the new realities of their physical and mental health over and above their imprisonment. We do not need to look far to find stories of grief, loss and sorrow around the world stemming from COVID-19 and related pandemic burnout, but with all these stories of sadness, there are also complementary stories of resilience, kindness, healing, and hope. Yet, so many of these stories leave out the voices of incarcerated people from the narrative, the majority of whom identify as BIPOC.

Art work for the Altogether Gallery: Through Prison Eyes by C. Slippery.

Pathway to Miyo-Pimâtisiwin has developed a virtual art gallery as a means to give those who are incarcerated a chance to showcase how COVID-19 has impacted them and tell the personal story of their mental health journey through art, writing, beading and other available mediums. Our intent was to create a space to give incarcerated individuals agency over their experiences and provide opportunity to connect with the community through art and story.

Art work for the Altogether Gallery: Through Prison Eyes by Tanya Sayer.

To kick-start the virtual art gallery, we held two contests: one to choose the name of the gallery and a second to submit artwork for the gallery. Through these contests, we arrived at the name of “Altogether Gallery: Through Prison Eyes”, which was a combination of two submissions by Julie McAdams and Gary Iron. The artwork chosen to represent the gallery was also by Julie McAdam and her piece titled “Through Prison Eyes” beautifully represents the gallery name.

Art work for the Altogether Gallery: Through Prison Eyes by Ceekay Bird.

Our hope is to see online art galleries such as this become more common within prison systems, as providing individuals who are incarcerated the opportunity to show the world their talent and beauty is critical to keeping that connection to community alive. Not only did inmates have the ability to receive payment for their skills and expertise, but they were also able to tell their stories, connect with culture, have their voice amplified, and take advantage of healthy ways to support their healing journey.

You can see all entries in the art gallery at the following link:

Our hope is to see online art galleries such as this become more common within prison systems, as providing individuals who are incarcerated the opportunity to show the world their talent and beauty is critical to keeping that connection to community alive. Not only did inmates have the ability to receive payment for their skills and expertise, but they were also able to tell their stories, connect with culture, have their voice amplified, and take advantage of healthy ways to support their healing journey.

Pathway to Miyo-Pimâtisiwin would like to thank the following artists who submitted work to our gallery and allowed us to share their experiences, with COVID-19 and incarceration.

  • Ricky Kayson
  • Juice the Savage
  • Ty Sangwais
  • Tanya Sayer                                       
  • Reece Fiddler                                    
  • Corey Slippery
  • Candace Lacheur                               
  • Carlos Tom                                        
  • Jasmine Ahpay
  • Chantelle Bird                                    
  • Tanya Deschamps                             
  • Savanneh Denton
  • Melissa MacQueen                            
  • Julie McAdam                                   
  • Curtis Morin
  • Jordan Baptiste                                  
  • Mike Scramstad                                 
  • JT ShaOulle
  • Iron Gray                                           
  • Francis Sylvestre

Furthermore, Pathway to Miyo-Pimâtisiwin would like to thank all those involved in the creation and implementation of this project. If it were not for your interest, dedication, and time this would not have been possible.

  • Stan Tu’Inukuafe                               
  • Marilyn Stone                        
  • Chelsea Roy
  • Andi Zografi                                      
  • Kylie Frass                            
  • Amanda Richter-Goddard
  • Carter Lovelace                                 
  • Alyssa Marinos                      
  • Richard Dubois

John Howard Society of Saskatchewan is grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of people on this important project. Please share the link with your friends and family.

What is life like after exiting prison? Starting over isn’t easy. Those who are released from prison face all sorts of challenges as they work to reintegrate back into community. This can be difficult for individuals, as they navigate a system that doesn’t always set them up for success. Most inmates will return to their communities. So we have to decide. Do we want them to succeed, or are we satisfied with the status quo?

In part one of this series, we examine housing and homelessness after incarceration through the voices and stories of frontline workers and those with lived experience. Listen up and learn along with us!

CONTENT WARNING
This episode contains discussion around suicidal thoughts. If you not in a place to listen, please consider skipping this episode.

As we get close to the end of John Howard Society Week, we’re continuing to recognize our staff by announcing winners of the Leadership Award. This award goes to staff members who show strong leadership qualities. Through times of crisis and with a steady hand, those nominated show their ability to support the mission and vision of JHSS while supporting their co-workers in a positive way.

We had several names come forward and it came down to a tie. Both winners were nominated more than once.

The winners are:

  • Gordon Fox
  • Irene Yanick

Below are some notes from the nomination letters they received from their peers:

Gordon Fox
“Gord maintains a strong sense of humor and dedication to working within trying times. He consistently shows up and supports staff and youth when they are struggling, and when they are not. He is a joy to work with and he can be seen engaging youth playing cards, listening to music, going to get coffee, or just being a friendly ear. He listens with patience and offers strong example of how to face adversity with action and commitment. He is a leader who inspires and he builds a team atmosphere with those he works with by encouraging discourse and consistency. As a co-worker, I never have to guess what Gord is thinking, expecting, or if he is going to actually help out with the work (as he always does).”

Irene Yanick
“Irene is one of the best people in a stressful time. Through all of COVID-19, she has been a vital part of running many different programs. She is someone that you can explain a broad concept to, and she will make the vision come true. Irene is organized, and stays more on top of things than anyone else.”

“We are so lucky to have Irene on our staff, as it makes us all better.”

Congratulations to Gord and Irene! We are stronger because of you.

Today, we’re continuing our celebration of John Howard Society Week by announcing staff winners of the Client Engagement Award. This award goes to nominated staff members who have gone the extra mile in engaging their clients. Supporting vulnerable individuals is hard work, and we want to recognize those who go above and beyond to engage and support their clients.

We had several names come forward and it came down to a three way tie again! All winners were nominated more than once.

The winners are:

  • Ryan McCorriston
  • Abdikadir Warsame
  • Marilee Brown

Below are some notes from the nomination letters they received from their peers:

Ryan McCorriston
“Ryan is consistently going above and beyond for our clients in terms of his level of engagement and interest in our clients lives. He takes time to get to know them and has been a rock in the residential programs during COVID. His calm demeanour is not only grounding to the clients he works with but transfers to the staff as well.”

Abdikadir Warsame
“Kadir is the best at being fully present with the youth. He dedicates his time to picking up any new hobby he is presented with. I’ve seen him watch tutorial after tutorial to learn card tricks, board games, and new skills. He takes the youth skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and skating. Kadir doesn’t just pretend to be interested, he dives in with real enthusiasm.”

Marilee Brown
“Marilee always brings out the best in our youth, and is nurturing, I have learned a lot from her as a new staff.”
“She is always trying to do the best for the kids.”

Congratulations to all three of you! Your hard work and efforts towards supporting the youth and clients in your care is so important, and we are so grateful for your efforts.

We’ll be back tomorrow with the Leadership Award announcement. Cheers everyone! Have a good day!