‘We can be the risk takers’: The Winnipeg Boldness Project is reinventing family services in Manitoba

Based in Winnipeg’s North End, the Winnipeg Boldness Project is equal parts community organization, nonprofit facilitator, and social innovation lab

Why It Matters

Testing out new approaches to family services can be very difficult. Few organizations and grantmakers support this type of design and development, and fewer still act as conduits for local communities to reimagine their own colonial-era social service programs.

There is a house in Winnipeg where everyone’s kookum lives. No matter the reason, families can drop off their children to this safe and loving home, where a kookum, or grandmother in Cree, and several aunties can keep an eye on them. 

While Kookum’s House is run by Blue Thunderbird Family Care, an Indigenous family services organization, it doesn’t just serve as an emergency drop-off centre for families going through a crisis. Kookum’s House can also be a place for parents to leave their kids before going shopping. It’s a straightforward way to help families going through stressful times that doesn’t resort to the child welfare system — and did not come out of a case study. 

“Kookum’s House came into being not because it’s been researched to death or because there’s longitudinal studies that prove something,” says Diane Roussin, executive direc

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