“Education is one of the paths we take to ensure that our children and our children’s children have a better future!”
Tannis Smith (Waabishkigaabawiik), of Lake Helen First Nation, graduated from PARO’s Gateway Program in December, 2010. Her business, Gaamiing Bimaadiziwaad Healthy Families, is an agency focusing on helping parents who are involved with the child welfare system. The service helps its clients navigate the child welfare system, and provides counseling and advocacy services.
Tannis has been working in the Aboriginal child welfare field for over 15 years, and completed her Master of Social Work Degree at the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2008. She has also cared for over 60 children as a foster parent over the past 20 years. Much of her work experience comes from her time with Weechi-it-te-win Family Services, developing customary care practices. These practices focus on including a child’s First Nation community in their placement with a nurturing caregiver. She has also worked as an educator at Confederation College, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and with Oshki-Pimache-O-win Education and Training Institute that provides Aboriginal post-secondary education. Tannis has also worked with the Native Association of Child and Family Services of Ontario developing curriculum and training for child welfare curriculum across Canada.
Tannis acknowledges her family as being her number one source of support and assistance throughout the years. She also thanks Seven Generations Education Institute for their educational support, and PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise for their ongoing support of her business endeavours.