* A note to readers: Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC) bring a valuable community perspective to federal corrections. They help CSC build stronger links between offenders and communities, and are committed to making a meaningful contribution to public safety. Over the course of the following months we are highlighting one CAC success story per month in Let’s Talk Express. “It is with great pride that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of CAC launches this coast-to-coast series of CAC success stories” says new NEC Chair, Lori Ebbesen. “These stories illustrate clearly the tremendous and diverse work of our ambitious CAC members.”
When offenders at Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village heard that a local resident in the community was severely ill, they took it upon themselves to help. Using their artistic talents, they built, carved, and painted boxes and drums to be sold as part of a fundraiser for the woman.
“The men created these beautiful, hand-crafted pieces without hesitation,” says Cindy Austin, a member of the Kwìkwèxwelhp CAC. “They did so with nothing but loving thoughts and kindness for the woman and her family. It was lovely to see.”
The items were presented to the woman’s family during a monthly welcome and farewell ceremony at the Healing Village one evening. Boyd Peters, the Kwìkwèxwelhp CAC Chairperson, explains the significance of the events.
“These ceremonies, held in the Community House, provide a culturally safe place for expressions of generosity and support for each other,” he says. “Everyone is treated as equals and when people require help, they are offered it freely. The traditional values of giving are demonstrated on a regular basis by those attending the Healing Village, which lives up to the literal translation of ‘A Place to Gather Medicine’.”
Cindy and her husband David were on hand to witness the presentation of items to the local woman and her family that evening.
“The impact of these generous offerings not only left all those in attendance in awe, but once again proved that no matter where or what the situation or circumstances, there is good in this world. With an open mind and an open heart, new beginnings can be made.”