We Meet Every Wednesday @ 6pm
Fearless R2W is a non profit that serves parents working to reunify with their children and youth aging out of care. We provide opportunities for learning about child welfare in Manitoba, build community and provide advocacy when possible.
We read our values together before every meeting to bring us back to why we are here and how we want to show up as a community. They are something we can hold each other accountable to and help keep us focused on our goal to keep families together.
The name Fearless R2W originated after various conversations with community parents at Meet Me at the Bell Tower indicating there was a desire to remove the fear around asking for help in terms of child welfare. Community helpers who didn’t have children also expressed a desire to help and we have since developed a unique volunteer based, parent oriented advocacy group. The idea was to work together so families could be Fearless.
The R2W is a postal code in Winnipeg’s North End comprising roughly Arlington St/Smithfield Ave/the Red River/the CP Tracks. This postal code has an alarming rate of child apprehension; confirmed by the Minister of Child & Family Services in 2016 to be at least 1 in 6 children in the neighbourhood in the care of child welfare.
We are a Circle of Support because we value each other as one family and encourage everyone to find and share their gifts with us. We believe that it is all of our responsibility to take care of all of the children all of the time.
Fearless R2W began in January of 2014 at Meet Me @ the Bell Tower. There were several events focusing on “Family” where grandparents identified some of the supports they felt were required to keep their families intact and away from the grips of CFS. In the time that followed many community members continued talking about CFS and wondering about what we could do as a group after we decided that a group was needed.
Finally, January 2015 was the beginning of the regular meetings that have continued ever since. We have since developed the Government and Community Recommendations, connected with the Minister of CFS, MB Foster Family Network & more. In May of 2015, the Fearless parents clarified a position around our original focus areas for our team. Those areas were: Addiction support, Housing, Traditional Family Parenting and Advocacy.
We developed a system of SHARING circles and LEARNING circles that would alternate in providing peer support to parents and providing space to ask questions about the system and legislation. We found that there was a large group of people willing to connect and work with us over the years, understanding that we are volunteers in those areas. However, we did find some difficulty in maintaining such a broad focus across all 4 areas and found ourselves mainly providing referrals in the areas of addictions, housing and traditional family parenting.
We opted at a visioning session in the fall of 2016 to simplify our focuses and do what we do well with a renewed focus on EDUCATION and ADVOCACY.
We honour our original focuses with our relationships and research in housing. We are informed by traditional family parenting and harm reduction in our advocacy and community building work.
Today, we are continuing our system advocacy, partnerships and community building work in our new structure. Our volunteer advocates and families work together with our staff and board to facilitate our work.
We provide advocacy for families to increase reunification by supporting and empowering families and removing protection concerns. We also meet with service providers and government to discuss our plans and provide 1-on-1 support from community helpers to parents in the forms of attending meetings, respite, etc.
We plan a variety of helpful and informative community education initiatives, engage in our own research projects and support others in their educational goals. We also have our own advocacy and youth engagement trainings we can offer to other organizations/groups.
Our main education activity is our family nights that happen on a weekly basis out of Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre at 510 King Street every Wednesday. This City of Winnipeg facility provides a stable and consistent location for our families and advocates to gather, receive guests and also plan future activities.
We also know it is important to maintain our presence on different online forums, including this website and on social media platforms @FearlessR2W.
Wahkotowin is a teaching that believes we are all related. It meshes perfectly with Fearless R2W because we believe if you do not have a family you can connect to a family of choice.
We apply this principle in our work in a number of ways:
We are developing a wahkotowin policy to guide our organizational journey as a non profit.
Mary Burton - Executive Director
Denise Greyeyes - Finance Coordinator
Board of Directors
Michael Redhead Champagne
Justice for Indigenous Women
Canadian Institute for Health Research - MB NEIHR
Government of Manitoba - Building Sustainable Communities
TD Canada Trust Foundation