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We are hiring: INDIGENOUS PRISON COMMUNITY OUTREACH CASE MANAGER

May 16, 2019

POSITION DESCRIPTION

POSITION TYPE:         Regular Full Time

POSITION SUMMARY:

The Indigenous Prison Community Outreach Case Manager provides individual and group support to women who are incarcerated or in the community as they progress on their pathway to healing.  The Indigenous Prison Community Outreach Case Manager is responsible for participating in all aspects of program development including planning, implementation, administration, and evaluation. The Indigenous Prison Community Outreach Case Manager ensures the program is progressively changing with the needs of clients, trends in the community, and the criminal justice system.  The position requires someone with experience working with high-risk, complex, and vulnerable populations in case management.

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES:

·         Support incarcerated women to cope with their personal circumstances by providing information on resources/programs available to them, affirming their resilience, and promoting thoughtful informed decision-making.

·         Assist each client in the development of a comprehensive individualized plan designed to maximize their integration back into society with stronger potential.

·         Assess client needs with regard to urgencies/emergencies/risk levels and engage appropriate services, both internal and external to EFry.

·         Provide information to enable clients to address their needs as defined by the four components of the Medicine Wheel.

·          Provide short term crisis support with a focus on supporting short-term and long-term wellness goals.

·         Assist with culturally appropriate referrals to and accessing of appropriate community resources.

·         Assist in the planning and facilitation of networking and personal development opportunities for clients, through individual and group support.

·         Assist clients to develop and/or maintain links to their identified social supports and cultural connections.

·         Advocate on behalf of clients through interactions with community and government agencies, and role model access to these resources.

·         Engage clients into cultural, spiritual, and traditional supports and service delivery options relevant to their needs.

·         Provide access to Elders/Knowledge Keepers, ceremonies, and traditional activities to support healing and personal resiliency.

·         Facilitate and participate in agency programming within the institution and community.

REPORTING RELATIONSHIPS:       Immediate Supervisor – Program Manager

QUALIFICATIONS:

·         Degree or diploma in Criminal Justice, Law, Social Work or other Human Resource equivalent. Also lived experience is considered with previous work experience in the field.

·         2-5 years of experience working with Indigenous populations and doing case management

·         Knowledge of community resources and Indigenous traditions and culture.

·         Experience working in the criminal justice system an asset.

·         Facilitation skills an asset

·         Proficiency in Microsoft Office, specifically Excel, Word, Outlook.

·         Excellent oral and written communication skills.

·         Ability to work independently and proactively as part of a team.

·         An understanding of women’s issues, social justice advocacy, diversity and anti-oppressive practice is an asset.

·         Valid Alberta Driver’s License and access to a reliable vehicle.

·         Must have a clean Vulnerable Sectors Criminal Record and be able to secure Security Clearance in the Institutions. PLEASE NOTE THAT A NEW CRIMINAL RECORD CHECK MUST BE SECURED BETWEEN JOB OFFER AND HIRING DATE AND MUST WITHIN 30 DAYS OF HIRING DATE.

·         Must secure a Clearance Letter indicating that you do not have a criminal conviction, outstanding warrants or criminal cases that are being dealt with in the court.

Salary and Benefits:

Starting wages $40, 975 – 43,270 (comparable hourly wage to those positions of 40 hours weekly).
3 week vacation commencing within first year
Extra vacation time provided at Christmas without impeding vacation accruals.
Full benefits commence within 6 months
Full Retirement Pension Plan (3%) commences within 6 months
4 wellness days annually
All statutory holidays including .5 day for Stampede parade, Family and Heritage day, and Easter Monday. Any statutory holidays that fall on a weekend employees receive a day off paid.
12 sick leave days annually – pro-rated as per start date
Total work hours is 35 hours plus .5 unpaid lunch daily
Access to Indigenous ceremonies and healing
Positive and supportive work environment
Working from a place of power within with staff and clients
Utilize and maximize your skills and experience
Email with cover letter and resume to Ronda Dalshaug rdalshaug@elizabethfrycalgary.ca by Friday May 31, 2019 @ 4 pm

 


The Mother I am Today

May 10, 2019

“I owe a big thanks to The Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary in helping me become the person I wanted to be and am currently,” Dovena said. “And to be the mother I am today.”

Dovena first came to the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary in 2008, when her caseworker mentioned the organization. She participated in a program the organization hosted at the time, and over the next ten years, Dovena came into the office for food, toiletry items, or just to talk.

“I always felt safe and connected with the staff. They were always so kind to me and accepted me.” Dovena said.

Knowing that the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary works in partnership with Calgary community agencies to provide safe, affordable housing for women, Dovena came to the organization seeking assistance in finding a place to call home after completing her sober living program. Shortly after she moved into her new home, she knew the next step in her journey was to enter the SAGE program.

The SAGE program is a 12-week program that provides a cultural foundation and supports women through experiential learning and expressive activities like photography. Participants are empowered and equipped with skills to help them on their path towards accessing training, education or employment.

“Through the program, I learnt that I am not very good in making eye contact with other people until I trust them,” Dovena said. “I am getting better at this. The program helped me become more self-assured, I did not give myself enough credit before and would always second guess myself.”

“I enjoyed coming in the morning seeing the staff member of the program and being able to talk with her about what was on my mind, before the program started for the day.”

At the SAGE program, she felt a connection with her fellow participants as well.

“We had some similarities which we could relate to with one another,” she mentioned.

“I have grown in my confidence and am comfortable enough with myself now to stick up for myself. Having the dedication to complete SAGE was a huge accomplishment,” she said.

Another great moment for Dovena occurred in February, when she gave birth to her son. Dovena does not currently have custody of her three other children, but she is in the process of changing this situation. Dovena’s eldest daughter, who is very protective of her youngest sibling, wishes to come home and live with her mother permanently. This may occur as soon as July. For her two other children, the process will take a bit longer, but she is grateful for a renewed connection with them. “They fear that I will not come back when I leave after visiting them, but they know that I am making a home for them and it is a matter of time we are all under one roof together,” Dovena said.

When asked what family means to her, Dovena says, “being together, showing love for each other and sharing time together.” She explained that she and her four siblings were all separated at a young age as their mother was unable to take care of them. So the sole essence of having a family together under one roof means a great deal to Dovena.

In September of 2019, Dovena will begin a new chapter in her journey of recovery and stability by going to back to school to upgrade some classes. Her ultimate goal is to become a social worker in addictions counselling.

“The Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary was a great support for me,” Dovena said. “If the staff didn’t have what I needed they would go to great lengths to find it. The resources they directed me to were priceless. They were my home away from home.”


Mental Health and Crime they are linked

May 6, 2019

There is a stigma associated to mental illness that causes one to become more isolated and further into their anxiety, depression or other disorders. It is not as simple as working through the issues or triggers like “relax, everything will work out in the end” when said, can cause further frustration for the individual. Without support, mental illness can take a toll causing negative consequences for actions that are often uncontrollable and end up redirecting life in an undesirable direction.

Due to self-harming myself and attempted suicide I have had to be admitted into two hospitals in the span of six months. There were safety concerns that I would attempt suicide again. While in the last hospital I had an altercation with another youth and was charged with assault with a deadly weapon at the age of 15 years old. I was put on probation for a year.

My relationship with my family is not the greatest so my Probation Officer suggested a mentor would perhaps be beneficial for me. With previous counselling I always felt judged and I would retract from their guidance. Saying YES to receiving a mentor was the best decision I made, as this has been the most supported I have ever felt!

My mentor is my rock supporting me emotionally, mentally & physically – no matter the mood I am in. The conversations I have with them has really opened my mind to understand different perspectives and learning what different decisions I could be making to better a situation. I do not take my mentor for granted with the wisdom they share. I have noticed that I make more informed decisions and am making serious changes in my life for the better.

The support I am receiving from my mentor has enabled me to actually be more confident in public areas. I used to be removed from society and it was paralyzing to go out in public places. I even have been going to the gym which is a big deal for me, I would never want to touch the equipment others previously used.

Recently, I got into trouble with the law again. While at a store, I had a terrible episode resulting in me being charged with theft under $5,000.00. With my illness I have periods which render me incapable of controlling myself. With this incident I have been referred to another program which focuses on my mental health.

My mentor, my rock, has been with me at every court hearing and legal aid meeting pertaining to the recent charge. Never giving up on me and seeing me through this detour in my life.


SAGE Spring Program update

May 1, 2019

Written by Selwynne Hawkins

With five weeks remaining, the current SAGE cohort has now passed the halfway mark. And, since we last checked in, they have covered a lot of new ground.

The group spent a week on conflict resolution—where they focused on ways to communicate their opinions and needs clearly. This module included mock debates, role playing, and group problem-solving activities.

In their self-esteem week, participants created vision boards and reflected on the things they like most about themselves. They also spent time discussing their skills for employment, and visited Bow Valley College, where they were invited to attend an Elder panel on Good Medicine.

Three current participants—Jamie, Adrienne, Andrea—graciously agreed to share their experiences in the SAGE program.

“I’ve taken a few of these ‘job seeker’ programs, and I really think this one is a lot of help,” Andrea said.

“Especially with all of the activities we do,” Adrienne agreed. “Like what Stacey makes us do.”

Stacey, a local indigenous actress, leads four sessions with the SAGE participants throughout the program. With Stacey, the participants learn and gain confidence through experiential learning. During self-esteem week, she led role playing activities, which were a big hit with participants.

“Those are fun, too,” Andrea said. “Really makes us step out of our comfort zone.”

The SAGE program offers a balance of functional life skills, strategies to express emotions, within an Indigenous worldview including ceremony and cultural activities and processes. SAGE prepares women with the necessary skills that will not only assist them in their personal life, but within the context of successful employment experience. Through the wide-ranging activities, participants gain further confidence and strategies for developing their emotional well-being. So far, they have learned and improved their lives throughout their active participation in the program.

“Communications skills, problem solving,” Jamie recounted. “Resume writing.”

“It’s been a good review for a lot of stuff,” Andrea said. “I get really nervous for interviews, so we get a lot of practice. But what I like the most is the Indigenous part. Going to the sweat, the library for creation lodge…”

“Yeah,” Adrienne added. “And we’ve met so many Elders, too.”

In the coming weeks, they will spend time discussing healthy relationships and visit the YW Employment Resource Centre. They’ll also spend a week on professionalism, complete a cover letter workshop, and practice in mock interviews.

Near the end of the program, SAGE participants will spend a week at the Women in Need Society (WINS). Through a week of volunteering at the donation sorting centre, they’ll gain experience and learn about accountability. In their final week, they’ll focus on “next steps” for participants—making sure they’re ready for school, employment, or whatever goals they are focused upon. .

Though the program is only halfway completed participants have already grown more positive and self-assured.

“It’s built up my self-confidence a bit more, the exercises we’ve had to do,” Andrea said. “I really like it.”

“I used to be really shy before, and didn’t talk,” Jamie laughed. “Now I’m talking!”

Follow along on our blog and social media accounts for more updates on the group as they wrap up the 12-week program.