INITIATIVES FOR JUST COMMUNITIES
Everyone belongs and flourishes in community. No one walks alone.
To walk with people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and intellectual disabilities, and those currently or previously incarcerated, to help them to achieve a better quality of life for themselves and their communities.
Initiatives for Just Communities’ four social and restorative justice programs began under the direction of Mennonite Central Committee Manitoba (MCCM). IJC was incorporated as an umbrella organization in 2011, and MCCM transferred the program management along with funding support to IJC.
IJC is a non-profit, charitable organization that is committed to restorative justice practices. IJC works to create communities where each person, particularly the stigmatized and vulnerable, has a place to belong.
Understanding that Christian teaching speaks in unison with other spiritual traditions in calling all of creation to be in community with each other, IJC approaches restorative justice from a Christian perspective. We strive to practice peacemaking in all our relationships and communities. Grounded in these understandings, IJC engages people who have a heart for caring for others in walking alongside our clients on their life’s journey.
OUR ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES
Value of All People
As part of creation, we see each person as having infinite value and necessary for a healthy community. Thus, we respect each person, and believe in their goodness. Further, believing that all are created equal, we honour our diverse cultural realities and value the experiences of all.
Our work is set in and reliant on community. We value the cooperative and collaborative nature of community and the interdependence it creates. We seek to build community with our participants and in so doing, strengthen the broader community.
We offer welcome and accompaniment, without judgement, to all on the journey.
To promote healing of the individual and the community, we seek to repair harm and restore the individual and the community to honest, transparent and trusting relationships. We bring this restorative justice approach to all we do.
We value hearing those who are often unheard, and honour their story. We work to ensure their voices are heard both within and outside our organization.
We promote and model honesty and integrity in all our work, because these are critical for true community to flourish.
The four programs of IJC are:
- Circles of Support & Accountability (CoSA) (operating since 1998) engages community volunteers to form circles to support the healthy integration and accountability of people with high-risk offence cycles as they are released from prison. This is a long-term program that works to assist individuals who are often alienated from family, friends, and other supports to integrate back into the community, while holding them accountable for unhealthy and dangerous behaviour. CoSA Winnipeg is part of the national body of CoSA Canada, which includes 16 programs spanning eight provinces.
- Open Circle (operating since the early 1970’s) encourages volunteers to visit men and women in prison and offer caring, non-judgemental support. We also seek to support the healthy integration of men and women in prison back into the community.
- Touchstone FASD Program (operating since 2003) provides case management and direct individualized support to adults and older youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Touchstone’s vision is that all their participants live in welcoming, accommodating communities, which allow for their growth, belonging and success.
- Visions and Voices. Our Visions and Voices presenters are adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder who are willing to share their stories of hope, struggle and accomplishment with the public. Presenters have spoken to teachers, families, police officers, caregivers, social workers, and many other groups.
- El’dad Ranch (operating since early 1980’s) is a multi-faceted program that provides residential support, vocational training and assistance, and support for men and women with intellectual disabilities. It is located on a 20-acre parcel of land close to Steinbach, Manitoba and has an Outreach Program office in the town of Mitchell, Manitoba.
- The Alternative Justice Program is a residential and day program for men with intellectual disabilities who have come into conflict with the law.
- The Day Program is a program, which provides participant support, life-skills, education, and vocational training.
- The Outreach Program works to assist adults living with intellectual disabilities within the Southeastern area of Manitoba through intensive support and supervision for our participants.
- Home Share Program connects participants with hosts who are willing to share their home with adults with intellectual disabilities.
- Residential Program began in 1991 in order to assist 2 gentlemen who required full-time support. It has expanded into two more homes to support men with intellectual disabilities.