Embracing Life is a northern collaborative table that wants to make a difference in community wellness, life promotion and suicide prevention. Embracing life includes representatives from local, Indigenous, provincial and federal governments, not-for-profit organizations, educators, and northern youth and youth workers.
All agencies meet quarterly, while the Embracing Life Leadership team meets monthly to work on the development and deliverables from the strategic plan. Here are the bios of the current agency members who sit on the leadership team. in alphabetical order
Brandi Bell, Senior Policy Analyst, Indigenous & Northern Relations, Ministry of GR; Secretariat of Embracing Life.
Brandi is a passionate resident in northern Saskatchewan who has worked in a helping role her entire professional career. Before moving to the Ministry of Government Relations, Brandi spent 10 years with Northlands College working on promoting and creating opportunities in education for northern residents. She was a tireless advocate for students to learn, live and prosper in northern communities. When she was in Student Services with the College, she began working on community initiatives around suicide prevention. This is what sparked her interest in joining the Embracing Life team as the Senior Policy Analyst with northern engagement. Working to empower youth, build capacity and creating opportunities in the north is what keeps Brandi energized. She is a busy volunteer, who coaches volleyball at the high school as well as started a club volleyball program in La Ronge. She has two very busy children who she adores following all over Canada in rinks and gyms alike.
Connie Braun, Manager of Investigations Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth
Connie Braun is a proud member of the Sturgeon Lake First Nation located on Treaty 6 territory. She is the Manager of Investigations with the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth (SACY). As the lead investigator in Shhh…LISTEN!! We Have Something To Say! Youth Voices From The North (2017), she believes the potential for social change is possible when children and youth are given meaningful opportunities to express their views on issues that are important to them. The framework for the Embracing Life aligns perfectly with SACY’s vision to promote the rights, interests and well-being of children and youth in Saskatchewan. For this reason, Connie and the office is honoured to be part of the Embracing Life Initiative Leadership Team.
Linda Cairns. Prince Albert Grand Council’s Embrace Life Coordinator
Linda Cairns has filled the role of PAGC’s Embrace Life Coordinator for the past 15 years. She is passionate about her work as she works with communities to build a strategy to prevent youth suicide on reserve. She has found that changing the focus to one of building upon the strengths already present in the community works best. Using the Moving Towards a Stronger Future Community Development model gives communities the opportunity to heal as they plan and grow together. As they grow, they find the energy to begin addressing what needs to be changed. She is a strong advocate for the voice of youth and in particular young adults. She has found that working with the youth instead of for them has nurtured a sense of belonging and purpose that has resulted in positive action within them, their families and their communities. She continues to work hard to address grief and loss by hosting Healing the Heart Outreach programs and coordinating an annual Good Grief Camp for Youth. For the last 4 years she has been responsible for the urban youth program known as YES that has provided services to over 350 5 days a week. She is also responsible for the Land Based Healing work for youth in seven communities, which includes a land based camp known as a good grief camp for youth on the land where healing powers exist. .
She has been proud to be involved with the Embrace Life Initiative since its inception and looks forward to witness and share the growth in responding to the need for training and resources and we promote and protect LIFE.
Linda has 53 years’ experience as an educator and facilitator. She taught school In Red Earth and St. Louis and worked for CMHA SK. Region as their Director of Friends for Life. She has done over 250 workshops with over 5000 participants in the last 17 years.
She has been blessed with a very supportive partner and husband, Rollie, for the 50 years. She has a son Todd and finds joy in being with her grandson Brady.
Shea Duncan, Regional Superintendent with Ministry of Education
Shea Duncan is passionate about northern Saskatchewan. He has lived in La Ronge for over 30 years and takes pride in his community as he believes it is a beautiful place, filled with fantastic people and breath-taking surroundings. He is an avid volunteer in the community, as he is the exalted ruler of the Elk’s Service Club and Vice-President of the La Ronge Eagle Nest Men’s Club. Shea has taught for eight years and is currently a Regional Superintendent with the Ministry of Education. Shea believes a strong northern Saskatchewan begins with addressing student’s mental health, instructing with culturally relevant and engaging curriculum and providing employment opportunities while respecting the environment. With these all in place, our young people and province will move forward and thrive.
Ann Duriez, Roots of Hope Coordinator for Meadow Lake and area
Ann is the Roots of Hope Community Coordinator for Meadow Lake and 11 surrounding communities. The research demonstration phase of the Roots of Hope project ends March 31, 2022. Roots of Hope will continue to work in the communities but with a reduced focus on evaluation of all the project components. The scope of Roots of Hope, after March 31, 2022, is still being determined.
Ann has lived in Meadow Lake or surrounding communities all her life. She loves the friendliness of the communities, proximity to the parks, and the opportunities she has had to develop personally and professionally as she chose to raise her family in the region.
Ann is hoping to have her main contribution to Embracing Life to be through her interest in working up-stream of suicide. She would like to contribute to best practices in how to prevent someone from getting to the place in their lives where they feel that suicide is an option for them. If they have already reached that place, Ann wants to contribute to knowledge about how to we as families, communities, and professionals can support them to have hope for a better future. Ann truly believes in positive social change is possible when we begin to think of suicide prevention as starting with life promotion.
Ann is a registered social worker with experience in population health promotion, HIV outreach, and as a child and youth and adult mental health clinician. Prior to getting her social work degree she worked as a KidsFirst home visitor providing support to families in their homes. Ann has also worked in long-term care, as a Special Care Aid, (now called Continuing Care Aid). Ann has always been a youth-focused volunteer, off and on for years, with 4-H, and church youth groups. She is currently studying toward a Master of Social Work with a special interest in the role of Social Determinants of Health and their role in suicide prevention.
Aman Mosazghi, Mental Health Therapist with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, La Ronge
Aman Mosazghi is a mental health therapist and is dedicated to improving the mental health and addiction supports in Northern Saskatchewan. Aman has lived in La Ronge, Sk for 6 years and started his career in the area of health promotion/health educator. He pursued a Masters in counselling psychology and is now a mental health therapist working with children, youth and adults. Aman is an advocate to improve the access to mental health and addictions services and also to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and addiction. Aman became very involved in the area of suicide prevention throughout his work with embracing life. In additions to his career Aman volunteer for Children North as a Vice- Chair, President of Lac La Ronge Tri-Community Soccer Association and Co-Chair of Embracing Life
Viviana Ruiz Arcand, Student Services and Curriculum and Instruction Consultant For Northern Lights School Division #113
Viviana Ruiz Arcand is a northern Saskatchewan educator based out of La Ronge, SK and is currently employed by Northern Lights School Division 113. One of her roles in the school division is to work in the realm of suicide prevention and harm reduction. This work includes providing prevention training to both staff and students, as well as participating on the Embracing Life team.