As a deeply committed Supervisor at the NEW Mount Dennis Native Child and Family Centre she credits her inspiration to serve to role modeling from her parents. Her mother was a supervisor at the First Native Child Care Centre and as a toddler she spent 12 hours a day there with her mother absorbing all that her mother did to ensure excellence in the care. Phrases such as “You can do this” and “This too shall pass” – from her mother still resonate.
More about Reta and the Native Child and Family Centre:
1) Tell us more about your non-profit and its mission.
“Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) is a multi-service urban Aboriginal agency providing holistic, culture-based programs and services for Aboriginal children and families. Guided by the vision of providing a holistic, culture-based integrated services with the guidance of the Aboriginal community, NCFST offers a full range of prevention programs, treatment and healing services, early years programs, youth programs, and cultural and recreational programs to all members of Toronto’s urban Aboriginal community. Native Child and Family Services of Toronto strives to provide a life of quality, well-being, caring and healing for our children and families in the Toronto Aboriginal community. We do this by creating a service model that is culture based and respects the value of Aboriginal people, the extended family, and the right to self-determination”.
2) What is your role and how do you help to carry out the mission of your organization? What motivates you to go above and beyond?
My name is Reta Red Sky Hamlin and l am an Anishnawbekwe from Aundeck OmniKaning First Nation on the Manitoulin Island and I am the Supervisor of Mount Dennis Aboriginal Child and Family Centre. My role is to plan and implement a culturally based program for the community with my team. Having been born and raised in Toronto, I have been a part of the Aboriginal community here all my life. I truly believe it was my calling to connect and build within my community and have been doing so over 20 years now. What motivates me to go above and beyond is the relationship I have with my team and the connections we have continued by serving our community. The feedback we receive continues to be so positive and supportive which really makes it all worthwhile!
3) What does reconciliation in Canada mean to you?
Reconciliation in Canada to me means understanding and acknowledging the history of what has happened to the Aboriginal people of this land. It means putting what is understood into action by incorporating and respecting Aboriginal teachings, values, perspectives, laws, and cultural protocols as the First People of this land.
4) If you were to describe your team using one word – what would it be, and why?
Dedicated –I would have to say it especially shone through this past year due to the pandemic as this was a new challenge we had never dealt with before. The team continued to stay committed to providing services for the families going above and beyond whether it be through food hampers, virtual programming, on the land experiences or something as simple as a phone call/text. They have continued to stay connected and uplift the community in some of their most difficult times, this to me shows true dedication. I am honoured and proud to be apart of the Mount Dennis Aboriginal Child and Family Centres team!