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Voices of our Community

Please share your grief story or experiences. If you are a family member or friend who would like to share the impact that your support system has had on you we also welcome your story. Simply email us your name, the name of your story, and let us know whether you would like your story to be anonymous. We still need your name and contact, even if your name won't appear here. Thanks for sharing your story.

Make the Call

Jacqui Wasacase, Rainbow Youth Executive Director A few weeks after completing training with Caring Hearts, one of the Rainbow Youth participants sadly took her life. Executive Director Jacqui Wasacase reflects “the ability to know who to call for that extra support for staff and participants was vital”. 


During challenging times, nonprofits that take initiative become success stories. Rainbow Youth Centre dedicated to engaging, educating and inspiring youth and families to lead their best lives has worked hard to proactively strategize their future. At the core of the Centre’s mission is to empower youth, family, community.


Rainbow Youth operates five cornerstone programs: Youth C.A.R.E. (Creating A Respectful Environment) providing front line services to youth using a prevention-based approach focusing on well-being; Youth Skills providing interpersonal development and self-awareness services to youth; Road To Employment addressing academic, employment, and personal development of youth who have not completed a high school education and are experiencing barriers to employment; Young Parent Program investing in the healthy development of young children; and Kids First supporting parents and their children through home visiting, community engagement, childcare and early learning opportunities for children, and connecting families to community services and support networks. 


“Trauma informed care and practice needs to be part of our first response in our daily lives as youth worker’s, family workers health workers and care providers. Also just as human being dealing with human beings. Caring Hearts

is well known for just that. Care for humans.” Jacqui explained that during the pandemic mental health issues for program participants and their families, and also for staff were widespread. Jacqui asserts that Caring Hearts enabled staff to “incorporate much of what we worked on not just into our working lives with our participants– but our daily

lives and interactions with each other”. Rainbow Youth has so many families who deal with grief daily. “It is good to have someone and some place to reach out for resources during a time of need is essential to the work we do”. Jacqui’s advice to other organizations when they confront obstacles and need services is “make the call. The training provided is truly life changing. You will find that learning about and understanding trauma informed care and how to make this a part of your humanness is so important, just recognizing that everybody could have experienced trauma in their life helps to provide path forward in communication that will not retrigger trauma for someone – no matter who - partner, client, friend, colleagues.”

Take Care of Your Own So They Can Take Care of Others

Sara Tiefenbach, Community School Coordinator, Bert Fox Community High School & Fort Qu’Appelle Elementary Community School, Prairie Valley School Division

As the Community School Coordinator for both the Bert Fox Community High School and the Fort Qu’Appelle Elementary Community School in the Prairie Valley School Division, Sara Tiefenbach sought support from Caring Hearts as school staff members were voicing significant concerns about their own mental wellness. It is not surprising as they had to adapt to added responsibilities, unexpected conditions and teaching in unprecedented ways while continuing to establish connections with students, families, and their colleagues.

Stress and burnout have been high throughout these tumultuous pandemic times.  As Sara explains “We wanted to ensure staff had the tools to take care of themselves so they can be the best version of themselves. This was an opportunity to ensure staff were heard and validated.” 

The Prairie Valley School Division is a rural school division serving 39 schools. Sara who supports both schools in the town of Fort Qu’Appelle, is part of a dedicated team of professionals who are committed to improving learning opportunities and outcomes for children and youth. ”As the Bert Fox Community High School motto says, “Think, believe, become”. We “think” that Bert Fox is a great place to learn, we “believe” in one another, and we work to create a learning environment where everyone will “become” all they can be.”

Sara describes the most valuable part of her connection with Caring Hearts as “the support, resources, open communication and the willingness to adapt the supports/education materials to meet the specific needs of our staff.”  She also notes that “Staff were validated - they were heard. This learning opportunity was personal rather than professional; which I strongly believe is a requirement to ensure staff remain healthy.

We have to take care of our own so they can take care of others.” School staff now have a ”tool kit” to increase their own resiliency to assist them in managing stress and secondary trauma.

Sara’s advice for other organizations when they confront obstacles and need services is “Do not wait until your staff are at rock bottom. Validate staff by recognizing their needs and working with them to determine what supports they need to be the best they can be. Utilize these supports and resources as a prevention tool rather than a reactive tool.”

Letter on Trauma by Participant in Piapot First Nation School

As I sit here listening, I hear words.
Those words stem from emotions to definitions.
Can anyone really define anyone’s life?
Emotions are anger, sadness, hatred, guilt, and love. You can survive trauma.
Anger is something we all feel towards people and ourselves.
Anger can define us, or others, in how we feel about life.
Anger can be a lack of attention and a lack of how to express how we feel.
Anger can become traumatic if it leads us on a path of destruction.
Sadness is something that washes over people, and it can make you numb.
Sadness can make you feel alone like no one understands you.
Sadness can encompass you where you don’t shower, or eat, or all you can do is sleep.
Sadness can be drowning yourself in activities that drown out the pain.
Hatred is a feeling that makes you see red, where you feel you can’t control yourself.
Hatred can make you see yourself as not a likeable person.
Hatred can be directed towards those who have ruined who you could be.
Hatred can lead you on a path of destruction where negativity ruins your life.
Guilt is an emotion that holds you accountable for your actions.
Guilt can make you say, “what if I would have done this to change my situation?”.
Guilt is something that can make you feel sorry for the things that have happened.
Guilt is, “do I give into my emotions and just let it happen?”
Love is one that is tough. Do you love yourself and others?
Love is all-encompassing, you have to love yourself before others.
Love is social. You want others to love you.
Love is emotional. It feels good to be cared for.
Love is spiritual. You can be loved by good feelings.
Love is mental and emotional; you are the key.
We are defined by definitions, by life, and by others.
Trauma can define you or you can define trauma.
It is hard as a child, and hard as an adult.
Find a book, a person to talk to, write it down, write a poem, or listen to music.
You define who you are and your trauma.

-Participant from Piapot First Nation School, June 2022

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