Driven by community care, Indigenous women bridge social service gaps on the mid Island

 By Anna McKenzie  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Inside of a little house in the heart of downtown “Nanaimo,” Jovonne Johnson and Charsanaa Johnny are breathless and busy as they prepare to launch a new program for urban Indigenous Youth. The house serves as a community space for a grassroots project called Risebridge, a non-profit organization committed to offering “trauma-informed and culturally rooted” social services, according to their mission statement. Risebridge has been operating since 2020, starting with a separation support group in Johnson’s basement suite and expanding from there. “We support people from all walks of life,” says Johnson. “We’ve supported single mothers with moving, getting what they need for their homes, food support, healthy meal prep.” Now, through funding through Island Health’s Indigenous Health Initiative Plan (IHIP), they are…

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