IWS was formed over 30 years ago. The society has undergone some name changes along the way but we have worked to stay true to our roots and continued to strive towards our mission statement: to provide a variety of services in a safe and supportive environment. These services help to promote empowerment, overcome trauma, address violence, promote equality and enrich the lives of children and families on Haida Gwaii.
It was all started back in 1983 by a small group women who gathered on a regular basis to address the main issues that they were facing at the time. This group quickly became a Society, in order to be eligible for Women’s Centre funding. In the early 1990’s policies, consensus decision-making, mission statements and Women’s program funding were the main topics on the agenda.
Over the next two decades, the Society grew by adding the Victim Assistance Program, the Women’s Counselling Program, the Outreach Program, the Child Care Resource and Referral program and then the Children Who Witness Abuse Program.
In 2013, we embarked on a new adventure as Islands Wellness Society and celebrated thirty years of offering services on Haida Gwaii. We unveiled our new hummingbird logo, and have been working towards being a resource organization for all families in our communities.
Board of Directors
Our board of directors, like our organization, is an evolving group. All members have a keen interest in seeing IWS progress and move forward into a more dynamic organization to support the families and communities of Haida Gwaii. Their interest and volunteer status shows their commitment to ensure that Provincial funds are stretched to cover every possible aspect of our island’s families. If you are interested in joining the board at IWS, we would love to hear from you!
Our wonderful, amazing, talented, and inspiring Board of Directors currently consists of:
Amy joined the IWS Board in 2018. She has been a Policy Wizard, working hard to fine-tune our policy documents. She can most often be found at the Xaayda Gwaay Ngaaysdl Naay Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre as one of the Registered Nurses. But if you look closely, she can also be spotted around town riding a bicycle or kayaking in the inlet.
I have lived on Haida Gwaii for over twenty years cumulatively, though at different stages of my life. I feel very lucky to call this place my home. I have worked with a variety of local organizations over the years, but for the past decade or so, I have been with the Haida Gwaii Institute in program coordination and operations management. I enjoy this work, particularly in my role as a connector; helping to bring together teachers with learners, connect people to places, and support an equitable exchange of knowledge. I am a volunteer cook at HlGaagilda Xaayda Kil Naay, where I have learned an abundance about community and wellness, mostly while preparing and sharing food. I am also a proud new parent to my sweet little son, Parker, who is growing by the day. Becoming a parent has already been such a transformative experience for me, which is in no small part, why I am excited to serve as a member of the IWS board and to help support this incredible team of people in serving our community.
Leslie has worked and volunteered for non-profit societies on Haida Gwaii for over 30 years. She brings her sense of humour along with her skills of financial administration, board process and diplomacy. She has been involved in Island politics and community planning for many years, including serving two terms on the Village of Queen Charlotte Council from 2008 to 2014. Leslie’s enjoying moving into her role as an elder. Her support of IWS goes back to the beginning and she’s honoured to be part of the team today.
Lindsay joined the IWS board in 2015. She comes to the team with a background in non-profit management and community engagement, and she has worked with community-based organizations across the Americas and Africa before starting her life on Haida Gwaii. Lindsay works as a Healthy Settings Advisor with the Population and Preventive Public Health team – and when she isn’t working, she can be found hiking and foraging food with her daughter, partner and dogs.
Administration is the support system of the programs at Islands Wellness Society. Our Administrator is responsible for the behind-the-scenes activities, our good standing with the Ministry, and ensuring that the lights are turned on, the door is open and there are happy people on the inside to help you with whatever you need.
She feels lucky to be a part of the IWS team and a resident of Haida Gwaii!
Shani’s photo here