April 6, 2023
March was Social Work Month, and it’s a time to recognize the crucial profession of social work.
Carrier Sekani Family Services celebrated by highlighting a number of CSFS social workers who are either just getting started in the field, or have been in the profession for many years.
Carrie Ann Louis, CSFS Family Preservation Supervisor, is from Stellat’en First Nation of the Luksilyu Clan. She is currently in her first year of earning her Indigenous Human Services Diploma from NVIT, and plans to continue on to earn her Bachelor of Social Work.
“I started working in the social work field because my passion is to support families and advocate for people who have had a hard time finding their voices,” says Carrie. “Being able to work alongside our community members and remind them that they and their voice matters.
My inspiration is my later mother, Violet Kennedy, and all of her sisters that have taught us what it means to be a strong Dakelh woman, and because of them I want to help make change for the future generations.”
Leila Wiebe, CSFS Family Preservation Supervisor, is from Nadleh Whut’en, and daughter of Lucille George (Nooski) from the Caribou Clan and Theodore George from the Frog Clan. Leila will be graduating from NVIT in June 2023 with her Bachelor of Social Work.
“I often would see the amazing leaders from my community, Nadleh Whut’en. They often would advocate for each other and others that needed support. I remember growing up in community and always visiting my aunties and uncles. They inspired me to always share my voice. My mother worked in community for many years. I grew up with many strong women around me showing me how we can work together to support community wellbeing. I did not want to be a social worker. However, my son was one that showed my heart that as a Dakelh woman I have responsibilities to our children and to our communities to support them. We need to work together to support community wellness. ‘We are our ancestors wildest dream.’
My inspiration is all of the strong women in my life that showed me the power of our voices. My mom Lucille George, my advocating aunties, my strong-hearted cousins, and the many community members that are working to make tomorrow brighter for our children.”
Michele Jones is a CSFS PEACE & Rainbows Facilitator. Michele was born in Toronto, grew up in White Rock, and moved to Prince George in 2011. She will be earning her Bachelor of Social Work in June 2023.
“Social Work chose me and I have immense gratitude for the work I do,” says Michele. “My passion is working with children and their families to address the impacts of intimate partner violence and loss & grief. I believe in meeting individuals where they are at, and that holding space for them and respecting their dignity provides them with a safe place to share their story.
I am inspired by the team I work with. We have a diverse group who are all here to assist families through support, planning, and advocacy.”
Leila Williams, CSFS Family Preservation Worker, is from Moricetown (Witset) and Wet’suwet’en, Stellat’en, and Gitxsan First Nations. Leila has one year of child and youth work, and is in her first year of the Indigenous Human Services Diploma program working towards her Bachelor of Social Work through NVIT.
“I chose the social work field because I want to support and advocate for the families who need help to have their voices heard, and to be able to work specifically with our Indigenous peoples,” says Leila. “This frontline work has always pulled me in throughout my work experience, to where I found CSFS and found a clear direction of the work I am meant to be doing for our communities in the urban area of Metro Vancouver. My inspiration is my family including nieces, nephews, aunts and grandmas who have shown me what strong and resilient Matriarchs are who lead our family.”
Cheryl Vanderlaar, CSFS Family Preservation Supervisor, is from Saik’uz First Nation, member of the Grouse Clan.
“I chose to work in the Social Work field because I wanted to make a difference in parent’s and children’s outcomes,” says Cheryl. “I want to meet parents where they’re at and encourage them to reconnect with land and culture, and to connect people and get the help that is needed to live a good life. I also think of children in care – it’s so important for them to have visits with their family and community so they will always know where they come from and to be proud to know where they come from. On a personal note, I had two siblings who were adopted and I know the importance of reconnecting and building relationships. My passion is to work together as a team so that we can improve the lives of families and keep children in community. I have my grade 12 education, and I have learned on the job.
What gives me inspiration is when I see a parent recognize that they need to get help and go to treatment or do healing work to be fully present to meet their children’s needs. Elders also inspire me to do this work and how they talk to a parent in a good way when we had our child welfare committee meetings in Saik’uz. My mom Virginia George and my late Aunty Margaret are also inspirations to me. It’s important to live by the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated and to live with respect, kindness and also to be humble.”
Mary Teegee, Executive Director of Child and Family Services, shared a message for social workers to recognize their efforts and to remind them that they are never alone in their work.
Henry Abel Joseph from Yekooche First Nation also shared a message of hope for social workers, and to pass on a lesson from his father, who said that we need to have compassion for everyone, as we’re all human.
While March is Social Work Month, we always appreciate the dedication of our social workers, and their passion in working towards a brighter future for Indigenous children and families.
Last modified: Friday 12-Jun-20 15:43:45 PDT