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Episode 16: Mitch Bourbonniere

An edu­ca­tor and com­mu­ni­ty activist, Mitch Bour­bon­niere has long been inspired to help oth­ers find their voic­es. A found­ing mem­ber of the orig­i­nal Bear Clan Patrol, he also vol­un­teers with Ogi­ji­ita Pimatswin Kina­matwin (OPK), the Mama Bear Clan, Drag the Red, Ted­dy Bears Pic­nic, CommUnity204, Neemu-Egwah Inc., and many oth­er com­mu­ni­ty-based endeavours.

Mitch has a Mas­ter’s degree in Social work and teach­es at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Win­nipeg and Urban Cir­cle Train­ing , while being employed by Mount Carmel Clin­ic, the Down­town Com­mu­ni­ty Part­ner­ship (DCSP), and Fox Lake first nation

He has devot­ed much of his career and per­son­al time to men­tor­ing, coun­selling and sup­port­ing at-risk youth to help them devel­op self-esteem, con­fi­dence, empa­thy and social skills. By empha­siz­ing the val­ue of good cit­i­zen­ship, vol­un­teerism and pos­i­tive activism, he helps young peo­ple make pos­i­tive changes in their lives.

He helped estab­lish a men’s heal­ing group out of the North Point Dou­glas Women’s Cen­tre. He also works exten­sive­ly with Winnipeg‘s most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple affect­ed by home­less­ness, post-trau­mat­ic stress, addic­tion, men­tal health issues, domes­tic vio­lence, gang involve­ment and sex­u­al exploita­tion through the OPK and Action Ther­a­py pro­grams and the Man­i­to­ba Youth Jus­tice sys­tem. He vis­its insti­tu­tions and sup­ports peo­ple as they tran­si­tion from prison and gang life. 

Mitch devel­oped a pro­gram called Lat­er­al Empa­thy that involves groups of young vol­un­teers col­lect­ing and deliv­er­ing dona­tions of food, cloth­ing, fur­ni­ture and house­hold goods to those in need. This group also vol­un­teers at Indige­nous cer­e­monies across south­ern Man­i­to­ba, dur­ing Sun­dance sea­son. He is a pipe car­ri­er and a 25-year Sun­dancer. He has kept the fire for the Grand­moth­ers Coun­cil, Sis­ters in Spir­it, and many nation­al and cer­e­mo­ni­al events.

Mitch pro­vides sup­port and Elder Ser­vices to Urban Cir­cle Train­ing, Man­i­to­ba Métis Fed­er­a­tion, CEDA Path­ways, North Point Dou­glas Wom­en’s Cen­tre, Ross­brook House, Sev­en Oaks School Divi­sion, the Shame­less Cir­cle, Eliz­a­beth Fry Soci­ety, the Men’s Heal­ing Togeth­er group and many oth­er organizations.

Mitch received the Cana­di­an Humane Association’s Bronze Medal for Brav­ery for jump­ing into a Win­nipeg riv­er to save a young woman’s life in Decem­ber 2016. He has also received two Gov­er­nor Gen­er­al of Cana­da Awards , the Order of Man­i­to­ba as well as many oth­er dis­tinc­tive honours .

Guests

  • Mitch Bourbonniere

    An educator and community activist, Mitch Bourbonniere has long been inspired to help others find their voices. A founding member of the original Bear Clan Patrol, he also volunteers with Ogijiita Pimatswin Kinamatwin (OPK), the Mama Bear Clan, Drag the Red, Teddy Bears Picnic, CommUnity204, Neemu-Egwah Inc., and many other community-based endeavours.

    Mitch has a Master's degree in Social work and teaches at the University of Winnipeg and Urban Circle Training , while being employed by Mount Carmel Clinic, the Downtown Community Partnership (DCSP), and Fox Lake first nation

    Mitch Bourbonniere has devoted much of his career and personal time to mentoring, counselling and supporting at-risk youth to help them develop self-esteem, confidence, empathy and social skills. By emphasizing the value of good citizenship, volunteerism and positive activism, he helps young people make positive changes in their lives.