Overcoming addiction to stay with her children, a local mom shares her testimony of breaking stereotypes, helping her community and showing the joys of life to her little girls.
About one year ago, Amaya Boubard started taking her daughters Delilah (7) and Gabrielle Lewis (5) on community walks along Main Street in Winnipeg. Gabrielle goes with her mom on Tuesdays and Delilah on Thursdays; some days Boubard brings both girls but not often due to their energetic tendencies to go in opposite directions.
"Usually it's a fight in the morning on who gets to come because they're both excited to do it," says Boubard.
She is grateful to the other volunteers at the walk for helping her keep track of her girls when they join the community outreach initiative.
Recently, Gabrielle turned five years old and spent her birthday handing out muffins and other items to the homeless in downtown Winnipeg.
Boubard says she wants to give back to the community that helped her and continues to help her.
"I grew up in the [foster care] system all my life. I was put in voluntary placement by my mother when I was 10, she said she couldn't take care of me. When I was 13, I was put as a permanent ward."
The local mom then opens up about how she went through a time in her life when she struggled with addiction and had her daughters taken away from her, but it was through them that she found the strength to quit her addiction.
"One day they told me they wanted me to get better and that they wanted me home and they were tired of me being sick. So, I got better and I just decided to go home and that's how it started."
Boubard says that going on these walks reminds her and teaches her daughters that there is more to life than the bad things they experience. She also admits that growing up she had a misconception surrounding her that should would "never really make it far," but helping her community makes her feel like she can do something and that she is doing something worthwhile.
Working at an independent living home also helps her give back to her community by connecting with others because she remembers living a life surrounded by strangers and wants to be a person that people can trust.
- Get 'Into the Cold' to help others stay warm
- 40 blankets made with love donated to Ukrainian refugees
- The healing journey of a recovering racist
"The people down Main Street, we talk. I make relationships with them like I make sure they're okay. I have a few people that are regular down there."
And what goes around, comes around. Boubard says that kindness is given back to her when she finds herself needing to go to the food bank. People who know her will sometimes save a spot for her in line if she's late or will set aside a package for her.
"I was taught by my grandparents to give what I could if I had it, you know? If I ate, so did everybody around me, even if it was my last piece of bread broken between all of us."
Along with teaching her daughters Gabrielle and Dehlila the power of giving back, Boubard also makes sure that they know of their Native heritage as well and allows them the opportunity to learn pow-wow dances.
Boubard herself knows Jingle and Fancy styles, Dehlila knows Jingle and is transitioning to Fancy, and Gabrielle loves the Jingle dance.
The Jingle pow-wow style is also called the Healing Dance. In years past dancers would wear small bones that would jingle together and they would dance to bring healing and abundance. Boubard says she prays for healing before she begins a Jingle dance.
The Fancy pow-wow style is also called the Butterfly Dance. Dancers wear a flowing shawl that represents the wings of the butterfly.