The second annual Addictions Awareness Week is coming to Fort St. James.
From April 17-23, Nak’azdli Band is inviting the entire community to share in various activities to help raise awareness and help break the chain of addiction.
Maria Willick, community wellness coordinator with the Nak’azdli Health Centre, has helped organize the theme for this year’s event.
“It’s all about breaking the chain as a community. We have to support each other with no barriers. We are all human beings,” Willick said.
“For me, it’s about helping people, helping them not to suffer and to live healthy lives. I want my community to be healthy.”
Carmen Bird who also helped organize the event, is currently on the road to becoming a teaching assistant.
She herself has battled with addiction and is she is all too familiar with the many struggles associated with it.
“I’ve lived through addiction and I know how it feels. I want to give back to my community. It strengthens me. People know the struggles I’ve lived through and I now want to be a role model for my community.”
On April 17, Addictions Awareness Week will open with an Honouring Walk in remembrance of those who have lost their battles with addiction. All are invited to bring photos of loved ones.
Melanie Lansall from Brazonni and Associates will be on hand to provide support to family members.
“This has the potential to open the eyes of families and offer counselling options,” Lansall said. “Addictions don’t just affect one person. They can affect families and entire communities.”
Throughout the week, various events will take place including: a variety of workshops, a panel discussion with Mental Therapist, Heidi Kaseweter, a cultural day offering crafts and story- telling and a Parents and Children Day.
“We have to stop stigmatizing and start supporting. This is a community problem. We need to support each other,” Willick said.
For more information regarding Addictions Awareness Week, visit: firstname.lastname@example.org and www.nakazdli.ca