The Memengwaa Program was operationalized in 2018, in response to the need for culturally based transition supports for First Nations youth exiting Child and Family Services (CFS) care. The program started as a homelessness prevention program, providing transition services on an outreach basis, and has since expanded to include housing and a wide range of support.
Memengwaa is the Anishinaabe word for butterfly; the butterfly survives a metamorphosis through cycles of nurturance and protection, supporting their ability to develop skills and strength, resulting in the ability to spread their wings and fly. This program is designed to support the youth as they transition into adulthood, nurturing their special gifts and talents while supporting them to learn life skills.
About the Program
Memengwaa currently operates several resources, including Nenookaasiins apartments (Alfred Avenue), Memengwaa Home transition home for female-identified youth, and a resource centre. All our supports are available to youth in and from care, ensuring that Indigenous youth impacted by CFS receive supports they need, regardless of their status with the CFS system. Youth are provided one-on-one supports, access to group programming and culturally based supports, training opportunities, and connection to a supportive community. As with all Shawenim Abinoojii programs, Memengwaa provides culturally-based services and works from an Anishinaabe perspective, supporting youth to know who they are as Indigenous people.
Our Vision is that Indigenous youth exiting CFS care have confidence in themselves, knowing their identity as Indigenous people, and building the life skills, resources, friendships, and connections needed to support their happiness.
Our program objectives are to provide Indigenous youth in and from the care of Child and Family Services with:
- culturally based, safe, welcoming housing.
- One-on-one support services and resources which build identity, healing, life skills and independence.
- Wholistic, culturally and land based programming.
- Opportunities to build peer connections, mentorship, and kinship connections.
The Memengwaa Program vision and objectives was written in consultation with youth in the program, the SAI/SECFS youth council, and in consultation with program team members.
In the Media:
Shawenim Abinoojii’s Memengwaa Program would like to acknowledge the support of Canada Council for the Arts and artist Peatr Thomas in the creation of a youth-led mural at 126 Alfred Avenue. You can visit Canada Council for the Arts at canadacouncil.ca or Facebook. You can check out the work of Peatr Thomas here Indigenous Artist Peatr Thomas
The creation of this mural involved two planning and three painting workshops with youth from the program. Youth planned the design, with Peatr Thomas guiding the youth through the process of design, scaling up the art, and painting the final mural. We hope all our neighbours in the North Point Douglas community have enjoyed this artistic addition to the neighbourhood as much as our youth and team members have. Miigwetch to everyone involved. #BringTheArtsToLife
You can check out a video of the process here: Shawenim-Abinoojii - 126 Alfred Ave. Mural - "Memengwaa" - YouTube