A Gathering Place – Fanning the Flames of Hope
“With each new day hope rises and brings with it opportunities for change”
Positive Living North developed an innovative program called the ‘Fire Pit’ in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic Northern BC communities are experiencing. The prevention program’s unique design targets the root causes of the epidemic: colonization, racism, poverty, homelessness, lack of education and the displacement many Aboriginal people experience. The Fire Pit’s philosophy directly reflects how creating a safe space, where trust is established, leads to healing from the root causes of this epidemic.
In the street-level setting of the Fire Pit, we engage in activities which encourage people to feel safe and to value themselves. This process allows people to take part in cultural activities that lead to healing and reduce risky behaviors. The Fire Pit is a place where people can gather to relax with friends, learn, share and understand culture, health and community. It is a place where you can do crafts, artwork, have a bite to eat, join a talking circle, talk to a supportive staff and get more information about health, HIV/AIDS and HCV.
The healing journey experienced at the Fire Pit is aimed at moving a person along a path from being at-risk toward a place of less risk. The Fire Pit walks with people along this path by providing support and resources through the following stages:
We all want healthier lives. Reducing at-risk behavior through engaging in healthier sexual practices and other harm-reduction strategies becomes more relevant to people when they have had an opportunity to heal and learn about themselves.
This journey takes both time and a supportive environment. The Fire Pit is built on healthy relationships, and it is through these relationships that we feel connected, find acceptance and understanding of our experiences and develop a kind of self-awareness that allows us to value ourselves and to make changes in our lives.
The Fire Pit offers a number of services and information to further assist those accessing the centre, services such as: housing lists updated weekly, employment listings updated bi-weekly, monthly workshops facilitated by the Nutritional staff of the centre as well as workshops facilitated by representatives from community organizations and agencies. The centre is driven by the input from the patrons accessing the centre as it is they whom utilize the services and are best suited to determine the services, programming and activities required. The input of the patrons serves a dual purpose, the first being able to offer services, programming and activities relevant to the needs of the patrons, the second being the pride with taking ownership and giving value to individuals for contributions to the daily/weekly/monthly operations of the centre.
The centre is open to all members of the community wishing to drop in for a visit or wishing to volunteer their time, skills, and knowledge in the delivery of day to day operations and programming. As well, the centre can be utilized by community organizations and agencies for special events or meetings in conjunction with the centre or on their own.
For more information on services, programming, or workshops, contact the Fire Pit Manager or drop in to the Fire Pit.