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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: