When a shy girl gradually emerges from her shell and develops the confidence to lead a group activity, Jennifer Hamman knows that the Strong Girls of Inlailawatash program is succeeding.
“Just seeing them take those opportunities to take a little risk, to be a little vulnerable, and to let themselves just be themselves has been a really awesome thing to watch.”
The program, which receives funding from the Canadian Women's Foundation, provides a rare girls-only space for Tsleil-Waututh First Nation girls aged 9-13.
The Tsleil-Waututh community is set on the Burrard Inlet, surrounded by urban North Vancouver. As program coordinator, Hamman organizes the weekly program meetings, which aim to foster healthy relationships and connect the girls to their culture in a positive way. Hamman, who is also the Tsleil-Waututh Community Therapist, talks about how the program helps develop girls’ confidence, connectedness, and resilience.