Inspiring hope in
About Thunder Bay
In Thunder Bay, Ontario, Indigenous individuals make up approximately 13 percent of the population. The city is a hub for many northern reserve communities because it serves as a centre for education and healthcare. Each year, students from communities across northern Ontario come to Thunder Bay to attend high school. While some families move to Thunder Bay while their teenager attends (a great challenge in itself), many students are placed in boarding homes with strangers.Indigenous teenagers who may already be facing challenges in the areas of abuse, suicide, and addiction, now also find themselves in a new and unknown city, where loneliness, homesickness, and discrimination can add to the difficulty. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has identified this issue, writing that “Indigenous populations in the District of Thunder Bay face different challenges and disproportionately carry the burden of harm related to mental health challenges, specifically, suicide.”
Partnering in local outreach
Over the past several years, Hope Story has met with Christian First Nations leaders across Canada, investigating whether Hope Story can and should play a role serving troubled aboriginal youth. We were ultimately convinced that our model of working through local, indigenous churches provides an effective and culturally sensitive way to bring hope and healing to First Nations youth. Hope Story was introduced to a First Nations led Church called New Hope Fellowship in Thunder Bay, Ontario.