Our Blog

  • Baby Basket

    June 20, 2017

    Posted by: Jenna Diubaldo

    The idea of a Baby Box is something that has been in the news a lot lately, but the concept has been around for 75 years.


    The Finnish baby box has been around since the 1930s, created by the government to combat infant mortality rates, which at the time was a rising issue. Along with many necessary items for new babies such as clothing and bedding, the box also came with a mattress and could be used as a sleep surface, which helped to ensure safe sleep and significantly reduced the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Fast forward to the present day, and the baby box has become a tradition in Finland.


    While the idea of a baby sleeping in a box might not sound like the most practical idea in Canada, the idea of providing a ‘welcome basket’ to new mothers is something that was identified as a potential prototype for The Winnipeg Boldness Project to explore that could help to enhance a baby’s first year of life.


    After much research around the idea, the project has begun a small scale prototype for the baby basket in partnership with the North End Women’s Centre. Rather than preparing a standard basket with the same contents each time, our version of the basket offers customization options, so that mothers can pick and choose what they would like to receive up to a certain value. This provides a component of self-determination and ensures that the family receives exactly what they need. 


    So far, North End Women’s Centre has received 16 orders from families already engaged in services provided by partner agencies, and we anticipate that another 15 or so will be received before the end of the prototype. With the data and feedback received through this process further recommendations can be made in terms of scaling up these activities and looking for possible outlets to embed this program for sustainability.


    Further updates about the baby basket prototype are to come, so make sure to check our blog regularly for posts about this and other areas of The Winnipeg Boldness Project!




  • On March 15, 2017, we held an event at our office to celebrate the completion of our newest art project, a community star blanket.


    The art piece was an idea thought-up by the Project’s Parent Guide Group - a group of parents and caregivers living in the North End. They wanted to create a traditional Indigenous star blanket and have it decorated with art created by community residents from all around the Point Douglas neighbourhood area. 


    Submissions for the blanket were collected throughout 2016 by visiting different non-profit organizations and community events around Point Douglas. The group asked the question “What do we need in order to maintain healthy relationships with our partners, families, and community?” and what was created was a diverse mix of drawings and words that covered a variety of topics, both straight-forward and abstract. 


    These drawings were then scanned and turned into digital designs to be printed onto transfer paper and ironed onto the blanket. The result was an art piece that reflected the neighbourhood in which it was created - a diverse mix of contributions that came together to form one cohesive design.



    We were lucky enough to be honoured with a song by one of our students, Carla Kirkpatrick, and a teaching from Elder Cheryl Alexander, who provided the background and ceremonial meaning of the star blanket.


    She taught us that the idea of a star blanket holds many parallels to The Winnipeg Boldness Project, in that it symbolizes a child at the centre of the star with layers of people and systems around the child, keeping it safe. Each of the individual diamonds that makes up the star design represents a piece of knowledge that the child will learn throughout its lifetime. The 8 points of the star provide balance, with 2 points in each direction (North, South, East, and West) symbolizing our grandmothers and grandfathers, and day/night.



    Blankets can be a ceremonial gift as well, used to show respect and honour, which seems very appropriate for this purpose as it shows an immense respect for the North End community and the people living here, and demonstrates the strong community spirit and pride that its residents have for their home.



    The blanket will soon tour the city by being displayed at several community spaces for public viewing. If you’re interested in having the blanket displayed in your community space please send an email to info@winnipegboldness.ca to make arrangements.


    If you would like to see more photos from our event, visit our Facebook photo album here.


  • This year, The Winnipeg Boldness Project was able to take on several practicum students thanks to a new student supervisor position that was developed through a partnership with the University of Manitoba. The students have been a huge help with research activities and have learned many new skills along the way.

    One of our students, Sarah Cummings, has written a blog post to share a bit about her self, what she has learned here at Boldness, and why it's important to her:

    My name is Sarah Cummings, I am a University of Manitoba Social Work student, in my second year of the concentrated program. I am doing my practicum at The Winnipeg Boldness Project, where I work a lot on researching and reporting for the Boldness team.

    My interest in The Winnipeg Boldness Project stemmed from my previous research knowledge. I wanted a practicum that would be able to further strengthen these skills, and this placement was one of the only organizations that was presented as a research placement. As I learned more about The Project, I become interested in the work they were doing and the values they operated from. They operate from a child-centered model, which places the child at the center of the system, surrounded by other systems that impact the child, such as the parents and caregivers, extended family, communities, elders, infrastructures, and the environment. The child-centered model and community-driven approach resonated with me and my values and presented an opportunity to gain knowledge from a community-focused research lens. Learning about a community, from the community, outside of an institutional setting, allows better access to develop insight into the deep wisdoms and strengths present within. It allows me to take a step back and view the community outside systems that can often view the community only in terms of the policies the organizations operate under.

    During my time here I’ve developed skills including research skills and interpersonal skills, making sure I am working for the community, and helping co-create initiatives and projects for the community. Research skills include things such as report writing, learning interviewing skills, and learning how to develop research questions. Although these skills are not directly used in the typical social work career, they are extremely transferable. For instance, report writing often needs to be short and without judgement, which looks similar to much of the case writing social workers would do. Additionally, interviewing skills in a research setting will transfer to activities such as case meetings, where social workers need to interview their client, and even their general ability to hold a conversation and come across as involved in the other.

    Due to The Winnipeg Boldness Project’s research-focused nature, social work theories are integrated into the everyday work that I do. The child-centered model operates on a similar level to ecological theory, which places the individual at the center, surrounded by the systems that effect it. Ecological theory has been a leading theory in social work for many years and looks at the individual’s circumstances as a result of the environment and systems surrounding it. Theories often blame the individual for deficits and do not take into account larger environmental and historical factors. In essence, they blame the individual for their circumstances. Ecological theory moves away from victim-blaming, and shows the effect larger barriers have on the individual.

    Diagram: Ecological theory (right) VS Winnipeg Boldness Child Centred Model (left).

    The child-centered model that The Winnipeg Boldness Project operates from replicates this belief and looks at the individuals in the North End, as well as the problems present in the community, and instead of blaming the individual or their parents, it looks at their circumstances, the histories of Indigenous peoples in Canada, the continuation of colonization, the everyday racism and discrimination they face, etc., and attempts to remove the barriers by asking the community what they need and want.

    This practicum is a unique practicum that provides me with a lot of training that is highly transferable to my future social work career and allows me the insight that other placements would likely not offer. 

  • Recently, we had a group of students from the University of Winnipeg visit The Winnipeg Boldness Project to learn more about our work and the research that we’re doing. As an assignment, they were asked to write a short blog post about their visit and what they learned. Here’s what they shared:

    Amanda Appasamy

    Diane Roussin’s strong voice of advocacy, as the project director of The Winnipeg Boldness Project was truly inspirational. I admire the confidence of the organization in staying true and dedicated to the core traditional Indigenous values, despite pressure faced by the organisation from mainstream worldview. I was very impressed with the community driven framework and approaches to creating an evidence-based body of work that involves the whole community. I believe it is crucial to revitalize and build strength in the North End community by staying focused on the Indigenous worldviews of relationships and interconnectedness. Traditional indigenous worldviews are inclusive and respectful of other cultures, which is vital considering the increasing immigrant population in the North End. Hence, I admire the organisation’s principles in respecting the diversity and unique nature that each individual brings to the community.

    I believe that in order to achieve a successful child centred model, it is fundamental to provide the whole community with the tools required to achieve physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. I strongly believe that there is no better way of doing so than consulting with the community itself in order to establish a model that respects the needs, traditions, values and provide a co-learning process for all parties involved. For instance, providing support for dads, family centred decision making, addressing the transportation problems faced by the North End Community, amongst others. I admire the dedication of the organisation and the relationship building with the community in order to provide trust and hope that is much needed in order to move forward.


    Ari Phanlouvong

    The Winnipeg Boldness Project is unlike any other project. Winnipeg Boldness puts Indigenous perspectives at the forefront of research, which are universally relevant and applicable in today’s modern world. The child-centred model is defined by its combination of community wisdom and early childhood development science. The project have tackled a wide range of challenges affecting families within the Point Douglas neighbourhood, promoting a community engagement approach to bring great change by empowering its community members.

    What I found particularly fascinating about the project is its creative approach to research. For instance, Boldness uses art as a means to communicate the community’s vision and perspectives. This arts-based research approach makes it accessible to individuals, regardless of literacy skills, to voice concerns, views, and hopes for their community through a variety of stimulating and creative art projects. Winnipeg Boldness therefore highlights a tremendous wealth of knowledge within the Point Douglas neighbourhood, bringing to light a dynamic and powerful community within the city of Winnipeg.


    Cassandra Szabo

    The world of non-profits and community development doesn’t always trigger conversations about marketing and branding, because improving the wellbeing of others isn’t a product that needs to be marketed, right? Well, creating a brand for a non-profit organization isn’t about increasing revenue, it’s about creating greater public discourse and increasing social impact. Branding is visual and includes logos, videos, and graphic designs used by an organization.

    The Winnipeg Boldness Project has created a streamlined yet trendy logo that transcends their graphics, pamphlets and videos. This type of branding has created cohesion throughout the work that Winnipeg Boldness does. It creates visibility, and is widely recognized in the community. While the business terminology of branding may cause some to cringe instinctively, it is a useful tool to bring awareness to an organization and can also serve as a catalyst for change. So to say, the impact that Winnipeg Boldness has had in the community is not only because of branding, but it is certainly part of it.


    Jordan Tabobondung

    Following the MDP visit to The Winnipeg Boldness Project, I had many thoughts swirling around my mind. This poem has helped me to try and contain them to share with others. Though not perfect, I tried what I could to ensure that the messages I heard about the missions and the work of The Winnipeg Boldness Project were the inspiration of my thoughts.

    I’ve really enjoyed the times my work has allowed me to cross paths with the work of Winnipeg Boldness. They do their work in creative and innovative ways that meet the needs of who they serve. The collaborative atmosphere and the shared spaces allow for the reciprocation of knowledge, strategies and opportunities to break down the walls that children face in their every day lives.


    Concentric Circles

    The rhythms of the days

    Living to learn the many ways

    To hold the balance

    Of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual


    The kinship ties we bind

    Surrounding the bundles of our lives

    Our children and the heartbeats

    Of those they’re near


    The rhythms of life and love

    Beyond doubt and fear

    Our concentric circles continue to gift

    An opportunity to deal, and to heal


    Ignite the creativity of passions

    Against walls that destroy our attachments

    Positive outlets of universal energies

    For us, for them and all who hear, are here


    The rhythms of creation

    Present, future and past

    Limited only by the constructs of illusion


    By rhythms of the cosmos

    Of mind, body, spirit we seek the inspirations

    To hold the balance: concentric circles

    Surrounding the bundles of our lives:


    Our children.




  • Our Favourite Moments of 2016

    December 21, 2016

    Posted by: Jenna Diubaldo

    It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 2017 already! As this new year approaches, we find ourselves reflecting on the past and all the exciting things we’ve worked on at The Winnipeg Boldness Project over the past year, so we decided to share some of our favourite moments of 2016 with you to cap off the year in a really fun way! 


    Here are each #wpgboldness staff members’ top 3 memories of 2016, organized in no particular order:



    Lisa Dixon - Executive Assistant


    Winnipeg Boldness Media Event

    We held a media event to celebrate the release of our two year report and renewed funding from the Province of Manitoba and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation. It was really exciting to see a commitment for this work to continue and to see all the partners and groups that we've worked with come together in one room to show their support for the project.


    Winnipeg Boldness Parent Guide Group member speaking
    at the media event held in September 2016.


    Manitoba Indigenous Doula Initiative Community Consultation Session

    The Manitoba Indigenous Doula Initiative is a really exciting prototype that we've been working on to help better support Indigenous families in the community. It was very powerful to hear what the training will look like and how important it will be for families to have those supports and resources throughout pregnancy and beyond.


    Hosted a Session at The National Reconciliation Gathering

    We were able to host this session to talk about reconciliation in action and how to help families reach their optimum potential. It was an amazing afternoon with important dialogue, and it was just great to be discussing in depth such an important issue.




    Kara Passey - Research Coordinator


    Medicine Picking at Birds Hill

    Getting an opportunity to go out as a team to be with the land is always something that I enjoy. It's such a relaxing thing to be able to think about ceremony and prepare for ceremonies that we'll take part in over the next year by gathering sacred medicines


    Winnipeg Boldness staff medicine picking at Birds Hill Park


    Presenting at the National Indigenous Social Work Conference 

    This was a great opportunity to share all the hard work we do, especially regarding our arts based research, which I had the opportunity to coordinate over the past year. It's important to make sure that we're sharing our methodologies and findings in a variety of ways so that others can learn from our work.


    Full Moon Ceremony 

    This was my first time taking part in a full moon ceremony and it was such an empowering and awesome experience. I always love sitting in ceremony with Mae Louise Campbell, she's the coolest.




    Jenna Diubaldo - Communications Manager


    I couldn't decide on just three moments so I picked five!


    Creating the Star Blanket

    We engaged in another arts based activity this year where we made a star blanket with community art incorporated into the design. I took everyone's drawings and turned them into digital designs which could then be printed onto transfer paper to be ironed onto the blanket. It was very time consuming, but also very cool to see the blanket take shape. I'm excited to plan an art show to unveil the blanket in 2017.


    Making a Homemade Cake for North Point Douglas Women's Centre

    Kara P. and I decided it would be fun to make a cake for the North Point Douglas Women's Centre annual fundraiser cake auction in our free time, so we set aside a couple evenings to make a three layer cake with pies baked inside the cakes (we saw it on pinterest). Needless to say, we failed miserably and ended up buying a cake from a bakery to donate. It's the thought that counts I guess?


    Completing our Two-Year Report

    After two years of the project, we decided it was time to report back to the community with a two-year report to summarize our goals and accomplishments, which I helped to create alongside our former research manager, Gladys Rowe. Completing this report was a challenge, but overall I'm very proud of how it turned out. You can read it here: http://www.winnipegboldness.ca/wcm-docs/docs/wpgboldnessproject_2yrreview_finalweb.pdf


    Summer Contest

    We ran a contest in the summer with the prize of a family fun day for 6 people, and I was lucky enough to get to join the family and film the whole thing! They got to jump on trampolines at SkyZone Trampoline Park, attend a Winnipeg Blue Bombers football game, and even hang with Ace Burpee while eating free pizza at Boston Pizza! All while being chauffeured around in a brand new van from Birchwood Automotive Group. It was a very cool day, and you can watch the whole thing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1IaKee7CJU


    The winning family hanging out with local radio personality Ace Burpee.


    The Revitalization of Selkirk Avenue

    While this was not a direct result of our project, some of us have been working in the North End for a long time and have played a role in helping along the renewal of Selkirk Avenue. To see the street being completely repaved and construction begin on Powers Park and the Merchants Hotel was a very significant moment for me and for the community.




    Kara Boles - Prototype Coordinator


    Thompson Highway at the Indigenous Innovation Summit 2016

    Thompson Highway was the keynote speaker on the first day of the conference and I was blown away by how smart and funny he was. He was able to take topics like sacred teachings and make them light and comical, and his mix of cree and south american music was really interesting and different.


    Boba the Chihuahua Getting His Boldness Shirt

    Boba is the office mascot, so naturally when we had Winnipeg Boldness staff shirts made we had to chip in for a tiny dog shirt to be made. Needless to say, it was a cuteness overload.


    Boba the chihuahua showing off his new shirt.


    Announcement of Winnipeg Promise

    Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman announced the Winnipeg Promise this year as his commitment to ensure that every child in Winnipeg is signed up for the Canada Learning Bond. This marked the launch of the Winnipeg Promise Steering Committee which will be informed by the work of our project. Mayor Bowman also called on leaders from other cities to do the same. It was very inspiring to see leaders from various sectors making a promise to children and seeing our hard work making a difference in the city.



    Diane Roussin - Project Director


    Leadership Training Prototype 

    Participating in this training prototype was very grounding for me. Sitting in circle was a reminder of the importance of working in this good way and really reinforced our whole model. There's something moving about seeing the model in practice rather than just discussing it.


    Media Event 

    I really enjoyed the media event we held in September. It was great to have all of our partners together and to host a celebration of our journey thus far.


    Summer Events 

    This year we participated in Picnic in the Park, Austin Street Festival, and even held our own community event in June alongside Andrews Street Family Centre. These types of events are really a time for everyone to just have fun and enjoy the positive aspects of community. It was so great to see all the kids having a blast and the families collecting their donated bicycles that they won in the raffle. 


    A collage of pictures from our family fun day held in June 2016.


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