JOHN HOWARD SOCIETY PACIFIC
1. Who was your practicum partner organization, and what did your project entail?
Being partnered with John Howard Society Pacific (HSP) made for a fulfilling Practicum experience. I was very keen to work with JHSP because prison abolition and reform are very deep commitments of mine, and I was interested in the advocacy work that JHSP does. JHSP is a non-profit criminal and social justice organization that works to create safe, healthy, and inclusive communities for all. JHSP’s reach covers British Columbia’s Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, and recently the Yukon as well. Notably, 31% of all individuals served by JHSP self-identify as Indigenous.
2. What did you learn from your Practicum experience?
For this project I wrote a literature review, conducted two different sets of interviews, and had a survey. These aspects served as the foundational information for writing the framework for an Indigenous Advisory Committee. Some of the challenges I faced in my practicum were a direct result of the current pandemic, such as difficulty recruiting interview participants as many advisory committees were on hold. As well, I had to deliver my survey in an impersonal and inaccessible online format for Indigenous JHSP service users who often face multiple barriers. One thing that was important to JHSP was allowing staff to act as a proxy for service users who wanted to participate in the survey. This challenged the Ethics process but with good justification resulted in what JHSP service users needed. I learned how critical it is to follow the lead of the community partner and the practices they have in place that work for the community they know and serve. Even when institutional research processes get in the way, it is essential to listen to community wants and needs. Practicum was such a personally rewarding experience and I am very grateful to have been able to be part of this year’s cohort.