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Volunteer Campbell River hosting cultural awareness workshops this spring

Suite of workshops will help reduce stigma, encourage anti-racism and improve mental health in area
Walk With Me will be returning to Campbell River this spring. Photo courtesy Strathcona Regional District

A busy season of workshops designed to reduce stigma towards people experiencing homelessness, encourage anti-racism, increase cultural sensitivity and improve mental health has been planned for Campbell River.

Hosted by Volunteer Campbell River, the Strengthening Community workshops will be starting in March and running regularly until July, helping volunteers and residents of Campbell River support people who are experiencing homelessness within the community. Volunteer Campbell River will also be running some training for people working directly with community members who are experiencing homelessness through the Homeless Services Association of B.C.

“It is really great to see this training for staff and volunteers who support individuals who experience housing insecurity. The more we all understand about the people we serve the better outcomes will be,” said Mary Catherine Williams with Volunteer Campbell River.

There are five workshops that will be held over the next few months:

1. March 21, 1 - 4 p.m., Anti-racism training, virtual

2. April 5, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Village Workshop, in-person

3. April 20, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Effective Engagement with Indigenous People, in-person

4. April 22, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Village Workshop, in-person

5. May 16, 17 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Mental Health First Aid, in-person

The successful Walk with Me program will also be returning this spring. The program is a community research project that was developed to answer the question: “how has the toxic drug crisis impacted you and your community?”

The sessions are audio journeys, featuring the real-life stories of people with lived and living experience, frontline workers and family members.

“These audio journeys provide an opportunity to learn from people who have experienced homelessness, intergenerational trauma, and the toxic drug crisis, who live in our region,” says a release from the Strathcona Regional District, which holds the Strengthening Communities Grant funds used for this project.

The walks will be at Spirit Square on March 14, April 11 and May 16 with two sessions per day at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

The community is welcome to join the guided walks through downtown Campbell River and listen to the powerful stories on wireless headsets. After walking, everyone is welcomed into a circle where they will be fed around a fire and given the opportunity to reflect on what they have just experienced.

Project Director Sharon Karsten positions this experience as “a way to tap into the wisdom of those involved first-hand in this crisis, to connect across community lines and to try out ideas for community, systems and policy change.”

Details and sign up links for the workshops and Walk With Me events is available at

RELATED: Walk With Me sheds light on toxic drug crisis in downtown Campbell River

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