Together We Can ‘All My Relations’ Celebrates First Anniversary

The Together We Can “All My Relations” program quietly celebrated its first anniversary recently.

In 2016 Together We Can expanded into Surrey and it was decided to open an indigenous based program that would serve a critical need.

Prior to the All My Relations program, it was very difficult to access culturally authentic residential addiction treatment services in the Lower Mainland. Indigenous people have been disproportionally impacted by the overdose crisis in Vancouver and are overrepresented in those with addictions.

With the development of the All My Relations program, Together We Can is at the forefront of ensuring help is readily available for indigenous men seeking recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.

From the first day of treatment, men benefit from being part of a supportive community. Careful consideration has been made to ensure that our cultural activities are beneficial to a diverse clientele. Many of our residents and alumni are volunteering their time and talents to share their cultural knowledge and pass along traditional knowledge to other residents.

Recently a group of residents made a ceremonial drum that is now being used to teach residents traditional songs. Many new residents share that they feel at home because of the supportive community that our residents have worked hard to achieve.

For TWC All My Relations to be successful, it is important that we have a high level of community engagement. We have approached indigenous elders and traditional knowledge keepers to share their knowledge. We have built partnerships with other Aboriginal organizations in Surrey and Vancouver which has resulted in their staff delivering guest workshops to our residents.

We also ensure that clients have the opportunity to experience various traditional ceremonies throughout the Lower Mainland- we have been warmly welcomed at the ceremonial lodges. As awareness grows about TWC All My Relations, there has been stronger relations developing with community partners.

TWC All My Relations has benefitted from the visionary leadership at Together We Can. The wealth of experience that TWC leadership provides is invaluable to the success of the program. TWC All My Relations is unique among the various programs at Together We Can in that we are ensuring that residents who have experienced past trauma from residential schools and colonization are provided with a culturally authentic treatment experience.

As TWC All My Relations enters its second year, we are introducing new cultural programming for our residents. This winter we will be taking our residents to longhouse ceremonies and we will be strongly involved in sun dance ceremony preparations. Residents will be soon able to learn west coast carving and will have the opportunity to make hand drums.

We have also partnered with the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association to provide a 12 week program on overcoming violence, are developing new workshops with the Native Courtworkers & Counselling Association to introduce traditional teachings to residents, and we are looking forward to what is certainly going to be a busy second year.

TWC All My Relations is available for anyone regardless of background, who is seeking an indigenous approach to substance abuse treatment. Many of our events are open to the public and we welcome all people to our events. If you would like to keep updated, please follow TWC All My Relations on Facebook.

For program inquiries contact Dan Bernard: dbernard@twcvancouver.org

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