Urban Butterflies

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Urban Butterflies

Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Aboriginal Day Camp for Girls was started from an idea that by connecting girls to their culture we can strengthen their self-esteem, self-worth and improve self-care. The truth is that while in foster care children are not always given the means or skills to deal with their feelings of separation from family. Sixteen little girls together every Saturday to learn about their culture gives them a sense of belonging to a greater family. While being in the presence of camp leaders who have all been through foster care or adoption they all have a keen sense of what the separation feels like and how to approach getting through adolescence alone.
The loss of family through generational genocide has greatly harmed three generations of First Nations peoples in Canada. In BC the highest rate of children in foster care still remains Aboriginal children. The highest population of incarcerated adults in Canadian prisons is for those of First Nations descent. Many of these adults came from the foster care system. Why is this? How did this happen? Seventy years of residential schools, obliteration of natural resources, treaties that took away a way of life that sustained our peoples for thousands of years. We can go on and on. The bottom line is the children of this generation are the hope for the future. We can change how they perceive themselves.

Rather than making children wonder why not tell them. The purpose is not to make children feel worse but to take the idea of building strength from all that we know about Aboriginal culture and give them happiness and joy to know this is where they come from. This is their right to know and be given the opportunity to feel loved, honoured and valued in a society that continues to portray First Nations peoples as dependents or drains to mainstream society.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The Aboriginal community has a large percentage of children in the foster care system in Canada. Many of these Aboriginal children get adopted out into non-Aboriginal families. Urban Butterflies serves to expose Aboriginal girls who are in the foster care system to their own Aboriginal community, cultures and teachings.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Urban Butterflies project is based out of Vancouver, however the idea is to start similar programs throughout the province.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The Urban Butterflies model can be used by other groups and organizations who want to set up similar programs within their communities.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

It is important for Aboriginal communities to reach out to children in care. These children are descendants of the First Peoples of this country and they need to be recognized and honoured as valuable contributors to Aboriginal societies.
About You
About You
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Urban Butterflies

About You, Your Group, or Your Organization

Pacific Assn. of First Nations Women

Please confirm that this project could benefit First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples


Twitter URL
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What categories best describe who your group or organization serves (check all that apply)

First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.

What best describes your group or organization

Non-profit organization.

How long have you, your group, or your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Define your idea / project in 1-2 short sentences

Gathering First Nations/metis girls from foster care for learning about their culture, through art, music, and authentic crafts.

Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Established (it has been running for a while, has grown and know it is making a difference)

Social Impact
Please tell us about the social impact of your idea or proect

Over the years we have seen the community come to the program with many supports. The non-profits, families, social workers and foster parents cannot do everything to help the children grow up healthy and strong. What we see is the whole family benefits from one child attending this program. The older sisters come out as do the Grandmothers. We have other foster children who are in the same homes coming. And we also have sisters in other foster homes of the children participate in the program. It’s a big holistic circle of people benefiting from this program. When they are in public at a ceremonies countless people cannot believe the beauty of these Aboriginal girls. And the girls feel this and know they are valued in their ceremonial blankets, cedar headbands and drums.

Your Future Goal(s): Tell us what you hope to achieve with your idea or project in the next year

We hope to improve the outcomes of Aboriginal Girls futures by giving them long range goals and where to go for support for crit

In 5 years, what will be different as a result of your idea/project?

We are teaching them about diabetes prevention through good diets and exersise, authentic art and prevention of self- harm by building self-esteem. Each part of this teaching will have impact on their futures in some way. Knowledge of alternative healthy lifestyles are key to the success of this program. We have proven success as many of the girls who were in the program seven years ago are still active even though they are now sixteen years of age.We have also created lifelong friendships for the girls within the leadership but most importantly with each other.
This has been a ladder of light for the long term participants as they are now acting as role models for the younger newer girls.

Tell us about the people/ partnerships that are already involved and why they are important to your idea or project.

Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services (VACFS) have given us free rental of space for the last six years at a cost saving of over $5000 per annum. Social workers who work at VACFS give us referrals and are in close contact with us on important issues the girls may have. Vancouver Native Health has partnered with us at their Aboriginal Intergerational Farm at UBC where the girls have learned how to clean fish, smoke salmon, pick berries, plant pumpkins and harvest them in the fall. Our main funder for the last four years has been Vancouver Coastal Health Aboriginal Health Initiatives and they have been monumental support for ongoing committed health for our girls futures.There are no programs like this for girls in foster care at this time in our area.

If there are other people/partners that you will reach out to tell us who they are and why they will be important to your idea or project.

This year the International Longshoremans Union helped at our car wash in August and we raised $700 to take the girls to a entertainment park for the day. We have had many offers of volunteers to help with outings for the girls. We also have had the generous support at Christmas-time from the Christmas Bureau.

Describe the kinds of support you receive (other than money) or will need to support your idea or project (e.g.: donated, space, equipment and volunteers)

Many Elders have offered their gifts of knowledge and spirituality to the girls over the years. This defines how we want the program to be understood. We ensure the stories of our ancestors are told by Elders to the girls who may have never met their grandmothers. Many community members offer to teach Native Arts and Crafts like mocassin making, cedar bark weaving, beading and many lost arts that make our program unique. Social workers and foster parents also offer many times to give their time to the program. The Canadian Diabetes Foundation has offered gifts to the girls this Christmas. The community is proud of this program.

Do you currently have funding for your idea or project?

Yes (answer the next two questions)