Woven Journey is an educational support group for young mothers who are facing or have faced high risk or at risk issues in their lives, and have current or past involvement with children’s services. The group works with women 14-24 and meets twice weekly.
Woven Journey is based on the Native teaching, which sees a community as having a shared responsibility for the upbringing and nurturing of a child. The mother’s parenting experiences are woven together just as the strands on a braid of sweet grass, to provide a holistic and supported parenting experience. The emphasis of the group is self care for the mothers, as well as baby development and parenting skills. The mothers are also connected with outside resources and community events. Woven Journey places emphasis on relationship building with peers and mentorship. Woven Journey has developed partnerships with various child and family services offices, providing advocacy and visitation for parents, with our ultimate goal being family reunification.
There are currently 14 mothers involved with Woven Journey. The ages range from as young as 15 years old, up to 24 years old. The mother who is 24 years old now provides mentorship to the new parents who enter Woven Journey.
Positive learnings and challenges:
- The group has evolved to create and encourage natural peer mentors and leaders, who regularly attend and provide role model positive parenting for new mothers.
- Woven Journey has continued despite cuts to our honorarium program. Instead of cash honorariums, we now provide a $50 grocery card/month. The attendance has remained consistent despite this change.
- We are now incorporating a more holistic group approach, with emphasis on self-care through traditional Aboriginal teachings such as sharing circles, medicine wheel, and Elder support. This has been very successful. Other holistic approaches include Yoga and meditation.
- Several mothers have been reunited with their children with the support of Woven Journey. We continue to provide support for parents whose children are in child welfare, advocating for family reunification.
- Woven Journey has developed a baby supply bank, which provides new and gently used baby clothes, maternity clothes and supplies for new parents.
Various program partners include:
- Health for 2 nutrition and support program with Alberta Health Services.
- Various child and family service offices.
- Basically Babies – provides a years supply of baby clothes to low income families.
- Family Law Office.
- Joanne Wood – Aboriginal Elder.
- Suka Shack Yoga.
- IAAW – Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women.