Life Skills Training Opportunities
Providing training opportunities that equip youth with hard skills is particularly rewarding for me. Creating a garden, cooking and small construction projects have been particularly meaningful experiences that I have been involved in creating both in community as well as in an urban setting.
Ever been to a conference where people just talk at you for 8 hours and you are struggling to stay awake? Whether it’s a training program or a workshop session, content is always so much easier to connect with, to remember and absorb when delivered experientially. Creating facilitation opportunities that involve group connection, and whenever possible direct experience is something that I pride myself on doing.
Consulting with stakeholders to inform program outcomes and design is a fundamental part of my process. I love going to community and meeting with people to understand what their hopes and dreams are for community programming.
An incredibly versatile woman, with a deep love and passion for Northern Ontario. I felt called to the North at the young age of 14 when I canoed from Algonquin park to Moose Factory. Ever since that trip I have been working in community and with communities every chance I can get. I am a mother, an artist, an owner of a small crafting business, an incredibly inquisitive and driven worker with experience in community-informed program design, program implementation, financial management, and program evaluation among other things! I have been lucky to call Thunder Bay my home for the past 8 years.
How I Know What I Know...
I have been working in remote Northern Ontario for over a decade in various capacities. Aroland, Attawapiskat, Fort Severn, Fort Hope, Poplar Hill, Sandy Lake, Slate Falls, Wunnumin Lake, Wapakeka and Webequie are all places I have had the privilege of working within.
I started my journey in the north as a Literacy camp counsellor where I got the opportunity to design and implement summer camp programs in community with a team of local and external colleagues.
I then enthusiastically joined Right To Play’s, Promoting Life-Skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program as a Program Officer. The PLAY Program supports over 85 First Nations communities and urban Aboriginal organizations across Canada to deliver outcomes-based children and youth programming using play-based learning methodologies. As a Program Officer with PLAY I was exposed to an incredibly strong model for large scale community informed program design, program support, training, resource development, supported implementation, financial reporting and monitoring and evaluation among other things. Getting the opportunity to network with Community Mentors from First Nations Communities across Canada and hear about their successes and challenges in implementing direct programming was a huge learning opportunity for me. Coupled with my experience in-community where I helped launch and support youth programming my understanding of programming realities in the North is very grounded in real people and real experiences.
Next step in my journey led me to the Matawa Learning Centre, a First Nations High school right here in Thunder Bay. I was given the great opportunity to design and implement youth programming here in my own backyard. Through consultation with the Matawa youth and constant networking within the community, I would create a monthly activity calendar with the goal of helping students feel safe, engaged, and connected to positive mentors here in Thunder Bay. Regular financial reporting and program evaluation were also a regular part of this job. Additionally, I successfully wrote two different funding applications valued over $100,000 during my time at Matawa.
I continue to participate in opportunities for professional growth as they arise, from being a group leader at the Feathers of Hope Youth Forum, to being a Crew Leader with the Outland First Nations Natural Resource Youth Employment program. My exposure to successful program models and methodologies has been vast and inspiring and I hope to share some of my knowledge and experiences with you to create a really incredible project.
My experience in large scale program evaluation and implementation led me to a key understanding: being clear on the specific desired outcomes of your project is essential to the creation of a successful program model.
Understanding programming desired outcomes involves a consultation process with key program stakeholders. Once the desired outcomes of a project are identified, we then can work backwards to understand what resources and supports currently exist, and what resources and supports are needed to best achieve the identified outcomes of your project.
Interested in having Paula support you? Get in touch today!
Check out Paula's resume here: