Working with FESA has been a very good experience, especially being at the Calgary Remand Centre. When I was first offered the opportunity to go there, I was nervous because I did not know what to expect.
After a few classes of listening and engaging with the men there I realized it was an opportunity to impact lives and make a positive change. Every class has been impactful and insightful for both me and the participants. The thing that touched me was how these men allow themselves to be vulnerable and open about their challenges with their families, their relationships, and other life circumstances that landed them there in the first place. During these classes, I saw men that wanted to change their lives and make things right again.
Discussions on parenting, boundaries, emotion, communication, managing change, and stress are topics that get the most attention because a lot of the men never heard some of the strategies and knowledge that would be beneficial and valuable for their lives. Usually, at the end of the program, a lot of these men were very appreciative of the time we spent with them but also how was encouraged them that life can be better and to not live in their past mistakes. Many times they were encouraged to also continue educating themselves and changing their mindset.
I would say the best feeling about this is that I get to see that my service to these men is appreciated and that I have been able to give them tools they can use to build and change their lives for the better.
By Albert Ankahmah
These strange times have changed the landscape of facilitation. Working at FESA, I have enjoyed teaching classes on a part-time basis for the last year and a half. With class sizes ranging from as few as one to nearly 20, it’s been fun learning together and participating in the interesting conversations. Connecting is what fuels me and keeps me engaged in my work. Although, it doesn’t even feel like work. I enjoy being able to spend a few hours each week sharing information with such diverse groups.
Then the pandemic hit.
As fun as Zoom video conferences are at first, technical difficulties have been the biggest challenge to overcome. Weak internet connection, poor sound or picture, the inability to connect on the same level virtually as one does in a face-to-face setting. It's been tough. I was fortunate to have been able to attend the Calgary Learns workshop Not Business as Usual and found comfort in knowing that I am not alone in feeling challenged by the new way of doing things. I like to think of it not as the ‘New Normal’, but rather the ‘Normal for Now’, and l look forward to when we are able to once again connect with participants in person.
By Amelia Haynes