Featherstone Support Services was founded in 2013 by Jill Featherstone,
a counsellor turned university professor.
Before I left counselling to take on my new role as a university instructor it was my dream
to one-day travel the North and provide counselling services to Indigenous young people.
This had been a dream of mine since I was a teen...
"I have always felt fortunate to have found my purpose early on in life.
My younger years were plagued by racism, alcohol, depression, and teen pregnancy,
to name a few. When I finally came out of the haze that was my teenage years,
I was relieved to find that my spirit wasn't completely broken and I still wanted more for my life.
I also knew that I couldn't have done it alone. I was grateful for the supports
that had bought me through that rough time and I knew that
someday I would do for others what someone had done for me."
~Excerpt taken from Motivational Speech, 2016~
But with the new job and the new career path, that dream started slowly slipping away
and I soon found myself knocking on depression's door once more.
However, this time I knew why...
True happiness comes when you are living your purpose.
Although I enjoyed my job and was travelling throughout the North helping people realize their dreams of receiving their degrees, I was no longer in the position of helping young people realize their self-worth.
I knew there had to be a way to realign my current path with my purpose.
I decided to combine the old with the new...
I realized that as a counsellor, you only reach people one at a time, in one community at a time.
As a university professor, you reach multiple people at one time, from many different communities at a time. Once that light bulb went off, I quickly got to work combining my knowledge and experience into workshops geared toward helping young people uncover their potential and set their sights on goals they only ever dared to dream of.
I spent the first couple of years testing out theories and implementing strategies that I felt were useful or that I had used on myself. After much trial an error I came up with my signature workshop-- Awaken the Spirit.
Awaken the Spirit is based on a 4 part model: Identity, Awareness, Vision, & Resiliency.
A friend of mine asked if she could name the workshop Awaken the Spirit because an Elder had told her that 'the reason our young people are struggling is because their spirits are sleeping'. She felt that this workshop 'woke their spirits up'. I was humbled by the name and use it proudly.
In the years to follow, the workshop found many successes.
We were able to provide young people with the tools and strategies to help them break free from the stigma and cycle of dependency. The workshop has also aided them in the fight against suicide and addiction. This is by no means a cure or a magic wand, but it is helping and people of all ages are able to apply the strategies within this model to their daily lives.
We now have several trained Indigenous professionals all working toward one common goal: Empowering Indigenous young people. Each one of our facilitators brings with them, wisdom, positive energy, open-mindedness and empathy. We are committed to sharing knowledge and supporting one another to the best of our abilities and are always looking to add more helping professionals to our team, "Individually we are strong, but together we are unbreakable."