Discovering Anishnaabe roots leads to healing and sense of belonging
At the age of 41, Jennifer Bahinski made a discovery that would change the course of her life forever. After taking a DNA test Jennifer found out that she had been adopted—a secret that had been kept from her all of her life. At the same time, Jennifer learned that she was part Ojibwe and part Ecuadorian. After continuing her research, Jennifer was able to connect with many family members including her birth mother whom she finally met in May of 2019.
On meeting her mother for the first time, Jennifer recalls, "My entire childhood I felt different, like I didn't quite belong and that something was missing. I did not know what it was or why I had these feelings that stayed with me into adulthood. The day I met my birth mother, all of that changed. She was my missing piece and my sense of belonging that I had been searching for my entire life. At the end of our meeting I didn't want to leave or say goodbye. She is a very special woman in my life now and we continue to build back a relationship from all of the years we lost."
MOTHER'S DAY Q&A
For Anishnawbe Health Toronto Staff member Kelly Lavallee, Mother’s Day is a time to acknowledge the strong Indigenous women in her life and spend time with her boys
As we celebrate Mother’s Day on May 9, we had a special interview with Anishnawbe Health Toronto (AHT), staff member Kelly Lavallée, Sitting Turtle Woman, Deer Clan. Kelly has worked at AHT since 2012 and has worked the last three years with Indigenous youth, ages 14-24, as an Oshkii Okitchiidak Youth Counsellor. She’s also a full-time student studying social work at Ryerson and graduating this June with honours. She has been offered a scholarship to continue her Masters of Social work in the fall. Kelly will be celebrating Mother’s day this year with her sons, Isaac (12) and Kyran (4).
Tell us about your boys?
My boys are my little fire keepers. When I feel my fire is about to go out, they ignite the fire back within me and remind me what I am here to do. They give me strength and light in times of darkness. My boys are strong-minded, determined, kind, funny, charismatic, energetic, and full of life. They have so many gifts and each day that goes by is a blessing. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for them. I am grateful that they choose me as their mom.
Giving back through volunteering her expertise
Kelly Rodgers first became involved with First Nations communities when she received a call from an accountant wanting to order six copies of a book she had written. Intrigued that the mailing address was in Whitehorse, she called the person back and found out they were working with a First Nation whose land claim settlement had been improperly invested. Kelly was brought on to help them. This led to a referral to another First Nation community, which in turn lead to another. Today working with First Nation’s Communities accounts for the majority of her business-Rodgers Investment Consulting.
Free Virtual Event - Connecting Land-Based Healing & Traditional Medicines at the New Home of Anishnawbe Health Toronto
Please join us June 1, 2021 as we mark the start of National Indigenous History Month with a free virtual event,
Connecting Land-Based Healing & Traditional Medicines at the New Home of Anishnawbe Health Toronto. This is an opportunity for community to come together to learn about the Indigenous Peoples' Landscape at the new home of Anishnawbe Health Toronto, breaking ground this year.
We will be joined by guest speakers Kahontakwas Diane Longboat, Ceremonial Leader, Traditional Teacher, Healer, and Elder at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and Matthew Hickey, Partner, Two Row Architect, one of the lead architects at the new home of Anishnawbe Health Toronto. Our event will be hosted and moderated by Elisa Levi, Chair of the Indigenous Peoples' Landscape campaign and Anishnawbe Health Foundation Board Member.
To reserve your spot and learn more click here
Victoria Grant continues her support of Anishnawbe Health as a Circle of Landscape Cultivator
We recently caught up with Victoria Grant, Loon Clan, member of the Temagami First Nation, as she and her son Michael attended the COVID-19 drop-in vaccination clinic at our Gerrard Street location. Victoria and her family have been long-time supporters of Anishnawbe Health. Over the last few years she has been involved in supporting the Foundation through various activities. In 2018, Victoria was a Circle of Volunteers at Verity Club that raised $75,000 with a dinner featuring Senator Murray Sinclair and in 2019 she supported her good friend Dr. Gretchen Roedde with the launch of her book "Deep Water Dream"; which doubled as a fundraiser for Anishnawbe Health.
When the pandemic hit, Victoria donated a computer to a health centre client so that they could access online services provided by AHT staff. Today, Victoria continues her support of Anishnawbe health through her role as a Circle of Landscape Cultivator, supporting a central
Anishnawbe Health in the News
Anishnawbe Health Toronto’s work on the frontlines of the pandemic, most recently in delivering vaccines to the Indigenous community, continues to be featured in local and national news. From CBC News, ELMNT FM and CTV National News to US News and World Report read it all HERE.
Make sure you follow us at Facebook.com/Anishnawbe to keep up to date on all the news at Anishnawbe Health.
Anishnawbe Health Foundation Finance, Audit and Investment Committee Seeking Members
Anishnawbe Health Foundation is seeking community-minded individuals willing to devote their time, energy & talent to making an impact on the health and well-being of the Indigenous community by serving on its Finance, Audit and Investment Committee. We are seeking Committee members who have expertise in the following areas:
- Accounting, preferably a member with a Chartered Accountant designation
- Legal expertise, particularly corporate and not-for profit law.
For more information and how to apply, click here.