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Unconditional support for Vancouver Island Métis families

From counselling services to cultural workshops, the Island Metis Family & Community Services Society is an invaluable resource for people of all ages

Eva Rasciauskas
June 19, 2024
Sponsored
Created For
Produced for an organization or individual that has paid for and approved the content for publication.

Unconditional support for Vancouver Island Métis families

From counselling services to cultural workshops, the Island Metis Family & Community Services Society is an invaluable resource for people of all ages

Eva Rasciauskas
Jun 19, 2024
Island Métis Childcare Centre. Photo: Submitted
Island Métis Childcare Centre. Photo: Submitted
Sponsored
Created For
Produced for an organization or individual that has paid for and approved the content for publication.

Unconditional support for Vancouver Island Métis families

From counselling services to cultural workshops, the Island Metis Family & Community Services Society is an invaluable resource for people of all ages

Eva Rasciauskas
June 19, 2024
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Unconditional support for Vancouver Island Métis families
Island Métis Childcare Centre. Photo: Submitted

This article was created for Victoria Foundation, and produced independently by Capital Daily. It was approved by Victoria Foundation before it was published.

Serving the Métis community on Vancouver Island since 1996, the Island Métis Family & Community Services Society is an invaluable space for Indigenous children and families seeking financial, mental and cultural support for a brighter future. 

Anyone who identifies as Métis can sign up for one or several programs, ranging from adult and family services, to life skills training, to early year and youth services, and more. 

“We really do have a broad range of services,” said Melanie Hudsun, executive director of the society, adding that the majority of programs are accessible through self-referral.

Help is far from a one-size-fits-all approach, as the needs of everyone are carefully addressed by the support team to find the best possible solutions. 

“We’ll review challenges and we assess, based on [a family’s] needs, which programs and services would be the best fit for their needs. In some cases, that could potentially be up to five or six programs,” said Hudson. 

Notably, the society is home to a broad range of cultural services aiming to reconnect children and families with their roots. Activities include tea and beading with Elders, community kitchen workshops and, recently, a nettle program that teaches all about the plant’s unique uses, from cooking and tea preparation to crafting natural medicines.

“A lot of our families [...] may know that they’re Métis, but may not be connected to the community and the culture,” said Hudson. “So we’re really appreciative that we get to support them in that way–ensuring that all of their basic needs are being met, but also giving them a sense of well-being and connection to their culture.” Hudson added that it’s important for youth to have a sense of belonging, in particular. 

The society is proud to have recently opened one of the Island’s first Métis childcare centres, at 1581 Church Ave. in Victoria. Funded by the Aboriginal Head Start Association of British Columbia, the centre provides no-cost childcare with nutritious meals, counselling services, boundless learning resources, and a welcoming, inclusive space for Métis children. 

With around 50 children already on the waitlist for the new childcare facility, the society is already actively working to build a second centre in Saanich, as well as continue to expand their services up-Island for other Métis communities, such as Nanaimo. With approximately 1,500 Métis people in Greater Victoria, 7,000 across the CRD, and 750 Métis children currently in care in BC, there is still a lot of work to be done. 

Hudson emphasized the particular need for counselling programs in the province. Both of the society’s counselling programs are in need of funding. The youth program is currently being funded through COVID-19 programs that will not be renewed, along with donations. The children’s program is being funded by administrative funds that are intended to support overall operations. The counselling programs also have a one-year waitlist for children who need it. 

“If we didn’t provide these interim services, these kids may not access any mental health support at all. We’re really grateful to provide this level of mental wellness support,” she said. 

Anyone looking to donate to the society is welcome to do so, Hudson said donations go directly to the children and families who need it the most. 

Find more information about the Island Métis Family & Community Services Society on its website.

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Unconditional support for Vancouver Island Métis families
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