Foundry Friday Feature - Meet Christine Swain
Updated: Mar 13
Talking to the people that turned the vision of Foundry Port Hardy into a realty.
Angela Smith | March 10, 2023 | www.northislandyouth.ca
Port Hardy/Gwa'dzi, B.C. Friday March 10, 2023 - In advance of the long-awaited Spring 2023 opening of Foundry Port Hardy, here at Foundry Port Hardy and the North Island Youth and Family Foundation we're launching a "Foundry Friday Feature." In this weekly series. we will meet the volunteers, staff, community partners, youth & families, funders, and donors & philanthropists who have taken a vision for a better future for youth and families, and turned it into the reality of Foundry Port Hardy.
Foundry offers free and confidential support for young people ages 12 to 24 – mental health care, substance use services, physical & sexual healthcare, youth and family peer supports, and social services – both online and in-person in communities across BC.
In today's feature we talk to Christine Swain, Foundry's Program Manager, Operations Lead and Clinical Coordinator.
Thanks for joining us today Christine! How long have you been advocating for Foundry to come to Port Hardy, and why?
I've been advocating for Foundry since the end of Foundry B.C's 'Phase Two Intake,' which was when Foundry BC helped a second round of community non-profits put in an application to become a host agency for a Foundry Centre. You could say that Foundry's are like a franchise - there is a gold stand, a model of care and partnership all Foundry Centres around the Province follow. Each Foundry Centre has a lead non-profit organization that takes responsibility for the 'Foundry Franchise' in their community. After Phase Two, I felt Phase Three was coming and as a community we should be ready, so started working with our community partners to get organized. The Mount Waddington Health Network (MWHN) is an organization I've been invested in for over 10 years, and when I suggested it there the community was extremely supportive. We gathered information, and when the opportunity came for Phase Three, between North Island Crisis and Counselling Society, the MWHN and our amazing community Partners we were able to support an application for Port Hardy's 'franchise' of Foundry!
I have always felt like our rural community didn't have integrated services suitable for our youth, and it has been challenging for youth to access services. Foundry Port Hardy will help solve these problems.
What is your role with Foundry Port Hardy, and what do you bring to Foundry Port Hardy in your role?
I have many roles, I am the Program Manager, Operations Lead and Clinical Coordinator. Right now I am responsible for planning, developing and implementing all things Foundry. I engage with the community to ensure that community youth and family needs are met and aligned with Foundry's overall goal. I bring a passion for supporting youth in this community to my work.
What makes you a good fit for this work? What is your background/ where did you get your training?
I have Undergrad Degrees in Psychology, Sociology and Social Work, and a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology. I've worked in non-profits in other areas, such as urban settings and in the last 11 years of my work here in Port Hardy/Gwa'dzi I've heard a lot about what youth and families want and need. Trying to support them is my goal. I want to see them with equitable access to health care and other supports, and to have the same opportunities of youth in other locations.
That's a great goal. On this path, where do you see youth services going in the next 5-10 years?
I see services becoming more integrated, with an increased ability to achieve wrap-around services that are more participant based; more grass-roots and youth and families directed, which means youth decide how they access services, and can call for the services they want. It's evolutionary and the future of mental and physical health and wellness care.
What are your biggest learnings in taking on a task like bringing Foundry to Port Hardy?
I've learned that big projects have big challenges, and there are a lot of people out there doing this work who care about youth who want to make the world a better place for them.
What are you most grateful for in this project?
All the support from everyone involved, from the contractors who really care about making this project great for youth, and the community partners involved. Our incredible funder and the philanthropic donors are just incredible. The people giving into this project are who have made it possible. I'm excited we are going to be profiling them in this series as well.
What is the best thing about working with youth?
My favorite thing about working with youth is watching them grow, learn and realize what they're capable of. The way youth can learn and implement as their brains develop is incredible, and they have this amazing ability to overcome obstacles and change and develop.
Who inspires you in your work?
I'm inspired by the youth in general. It's amazing to work with people who are open and learning not only about who they are but also who they want to be.
Who would you like to see walk through the doors of Foundry?
All the youth and families of the Mount Waddington Region, and service providers, and the community who are curious about what we're doing.
What is your favourite thing about living in Port Hardy/Gwa'dzi?
The way everyone pulls together for people. If someone needs something, the community rallies. It's incredible.
Thanks for the time today. Any final words Christine?
Just that I'm really excited to be getting to this great point - COVID really slowed down our ability to engage with community and get the centre built, but we're full steam ahead and this is just step one. We need more for youth and families and true investment into our community. I'm so pleased to be working with people towards that and look forward to sharing what is to come.
If you want any services, to talk with someone, or engage in any way with Foundry services, Christine is your go-to!
You can reach Christine Foundry on Facebook, Email or phone!
To learn more about the Foundry Model of Care, visit www.FoundryBC.ca/porthardy