NIȽ TU,O Child and Family Services Society held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on November 15, 2023 at NIȽ TU,O’s offices on Tsawout Nation. Board members, staff, funders and community partners—including Our Children Our Way Society, Indigenous Services Canada, the Ministry of Child and Family Development, and Threshold Housing Society—gathered to hear a review of the year gone by.

The meeting began with a welcome by our President Rose Dumont, followed by a prayer by a Knowledge Keeper TELTÁLEMOT. After introductions, the meeting got underway and included the review of last year’s AGM minutes and the approval of audited financial statements. Executive Director Katharina Stocker presented the annual report for the 2021-2022 year, NIȽ TU,O’s 25th year in operation.

Once the Board approved the report, the meeting ended with a prayer by TELTÁLEMOT.

The past year has been one of increased and continuing success for NIȽ TU,O as it works to build healthy families and communities.

NIȽ TU,O offers two streams of services to support the Beecher Bay, Pauquachin, Tsartlip, Songhees, Tsawout, Tseycum and T’Sou-ke communities: Family Strengthening Support & Programs (non-delegated services) and Delegated Services (delegated services). The 2023 AGM report showed community members accessing NIȽ TU,O’s services have increased year-over-year across both delegated and non-delegated service categories.

Some of the many achievements of NIȽ TU,O’s delegated services teams include placing “two kids with their Grandmother, keeping them with their family and in community,” returning another child home to the child’s parent, and facilitating the adoption of a child out of care. This is in addition to providing ongoing culture-centered training and resources to caregivers supporting Coast Salish youth.

Family Strengthening Support & Programs also reached a larger number of community members.

The Family Support Workers (FSW) team, for example, helped community members with a multitude of tasks, ranging from pest management or garbage removal to filling out applications for housing or obtaining government documents like ID’s or birth certificates. The team also helped families enroll in NIȽ TU,O’s initiatives like the Sweet Dreams Safe Sleep Program, which offers youths a safe, clean bed.

Moreover, NIȽ TU,O directly offered the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters program and the Supporting Mothers and Raising Toddlers program to families from Tsartlip, T’Sou-ke and Songhees communities.

S.M.A.R.T., is a play-based program that gives toys, stories, and weekly activity cards to mothers, along with instructions on how to perform those activities with children. H.I.P.P.Y. , on the other hand, is an early literacy development program for children aged 3-5 years that supports parents as the first teachers of children, helping them to teach children in a way that honors local traditions, culture, and language.

NIȽ TU,O also offered three Culture Camp sessions  last spring and summer that featured Cultural activities such as making cedar hats and outdoor activities such as trips to Centennial Park.  The Camps attracted a large number of participants, with an average of 10 attendees a day across 28 days of camp. This is significant growth from the previous year, in which NIȽ TU,O offered 16 days of camp and had an average of 8 daily participants.

Additionally, NIȽ TU,O participated in a community partnership with Threshold Housing Society, whereby NIȽ TU,O helped create a safe, culturally appropriate environment for the Indigenous youth Threshold serves.

For a complete list of the many programmatic successes and partnerships NIȽ TU,O achieved over the last year, please explore the 2023 AGM Report, available here.

NIȽ TU,O looks forward to many more years of successfully providing support to the youth and families of the Beecher Bay, Pauquachin, Tsartlip, Songhees, Tsawout, Tseycum and T’Sou-ke communities.

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