Annette Morin joined the Early Years program because she saw a problem: community members were taking their own lives.
A mother of eight, Annette is from Pelican Narrows First Nation, but she has called Maskwacis home for more than 20 years. Over time she found herself watching as different young women floundered. She felt they didn’t have positive role-modeling or encouragement.
“I think young women are not sure what they are supposed to do or why they are supposed to do it. So they get lost in the system, or they don’t think they are worthy of being here,” she says. “I don’t believe that for a second.”
Annette recalls four mothers in particular who were experiencing these struggles. “They felt so bad about themselves. They didn’t think they were doing what they needed to do as a mother.”
Trained in the Early Years Visitor curriculum, Annette says that part of her work as a Visitor is to tell her families that they’re doing a great job as caregivers and to simply give them the tools to do better and better. “What amazes me is how eager they are to learn! They just want someone to acknowledge them. That’s why I’m happy we’re here. I see the change in my moms already.”
Annette knows intimately how these young families feel. It’s why she wanted to work with them.
“I can guarantee that anything anyone of these moms on the reserve has been through, I’ve been through. So it’s getting through those times and knowing you can survive.”
Annette shares a moment of deep connection that she experienced while walking up the stairs to the house of a mother who was a participant in the program. She was about to knock on her door when the feeling washed over her, like a waft of burning sage. “I suddenly felt like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and doing what I’m supposed to be doing. As long as you stay on your path and stay true to yourself, you’ll get to where you want to be.”
This is Annette’s message to her community: “No matter what happens to you, don’t let that determine who you are.”