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UM Alum Julie Olivier with SAFE Place project collaborators

L-R: Jayde LaPlante, Julie Olivier, Samantha Harris

Manitoba government investing in ICSWP student project

January 29, 2020 — 

While taking the Community Development Field Focus course, Julie Olivier, recent Inner City Social Work Program (ICSWP) graduate, conducted a community needs assessment and discovered barriers and gaps in delivery services for youth addictions. After the initial assessment, Olivier wrote a proposal for an accessible holistic treatment facility for youth that incorporates both Indigenous and Western ways of healing.

Upon graduation from the ICSWP, Olivier shared her proposal assignment with Jayde LaPlante, a Neecheewam Inc. colleague, and the two worked collectively this past summer before submitting the proposal to the Manitoba government.

Because of Olivier’s proposal, the Manitoba government will be investing $3.8 million to expand Neecheewam Inc.’s Winnipeg facility and improve access to Indigenous-led healing, care, and treatment services to sexually exploited youth. 

This new pilot program, currently titled “SAFE Place” will offer a longer-term four-bed treatment facility with a focus on individualized plans to meet the unique needs of each youth through traditional healing and cultural connection.

Olivier will be working with Cory Campbell, UM alumni and executive director, Neecheewam Inc. and Samantha Harris, current student, ICSWP, to develop this new program.

“The Inner City Social Work Program has created an environment and a culture that encourages students to think outside the box to promote change within the community. The program not only offers accessible and flexible education to students, but it also encourages students to follow their passion, dream big, and fight for community change”, says Olivier.

“Although this assignment was challenging for many of the students, the instructor, Bridget Kozyra, encouraged students to make their proposals as real as possible, she expressed the importance proposal writing plays in making community change, and she told students she wanted them to try to make their proposals a reality and to follow their passions,” says Olivier.

“I continue to tell students ‘Don’t ever underestimate the impact coursework has on the community, you never know what gets funded’”, says Bridget Kozyra, ICSWP instructor.

“I’m really proud of the initiative Julie showed. She took a chance on a large-scale idea, she followed her passion and the idea paid off. It was nice to see the connection between the work you do as a student and how it can directly impact the community,” says Kozyra.

Thank you to our students and alumni who continue to drive change in their communities.

For more information regarding the Manitoba government expanding supports for vulnerable youth please visit:

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