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Day One Society Receives Arts Grant from BC Housing

Kamloops, B.C. Day One Society (the Society) is being awarded with a $5,000 grant from BC Housing to implement a cultural arts project at their new youth detox unit, unveiled this past June. With the plan to work in collaboration with Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc to create the artwork at their Phoenix Centre location, the Society intends to use the funds to carry out an art project to create a culturally safe and inviting space that honours Indigenous youth and families accessing their services.

Currently serving over 40% Indigenous youth and families, including those that are non-identifying who are culturally curious, undertaking this art project is crucial to the Society’s commitment to inclusivity and cultural relevance.

Photo by Katelyn Faulkner

“Our collaboration with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is important for us to acknowledge and honour the Indigenous peoples and the land where our centre operates,” said Siân Lewis, executive director of Day One Society. “Indigenous communities have been disproportionately impacted by substance use and the toxic drug supply. Through artwork, we can better create culturally safe spaces that support them and the unique challenges they face.”

The nature of this space will not be limited to Indigenous youth, added Lewis, explaining that the intent is to make it inclusive to the diverse population they serve, including other cultural groups and LGBTQS2+ identifying youth.

As withdrawal management can be uncomfortable and frightening for many, creating a safe space where youth can see themselves and their culture represented will benefit them spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally, making positive contributions to their overall health and wellbeing.

BC Housing is honoured to contribute to Day One Society and Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc’s art project.

“We want to congratulate Day One Society for their successful application of this grant and look forward to following on their journey to completing this project,” said Mary Gerges, Executive Director of Reconciliation and Equity Strategies for BC Housing. “This will remind residents and community members of the rich history and culture of the Secwépemc people and their stewardship of their lands since time immemorial. From my learning and working alongside Indigenous friends and colleagues, I recognize how important art is in conveying values, sharing history, and reinforcing connection to land and place. It is not merely art, it is sacred and contributes to healing and community building.”

Lewis expressed her gratitude, saying “I am honoured that we are being recognized for our creativity, our dedication and commitment to supporting Indigenous youth. This funding will allow us to continue collaborating with our Indigenous partners to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all individuals accessing our services.”

While the creative concept is still being considered by Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc, Chief and Council, it is the intent that the upcoming art project will share the knowledge of Indigenous worldviews across the new youth detox wing. “We will work with local Indigenous artists who will paint a dedicated area in the new youth detox wing specific to Secwépemc territory, adding beautiful colours and traditional Indigenous symbols,” said Lewis.

Acknowledging their current partnership with Four Directions Indigenous School Program, this art project also hopes to include a glass case where photos, artifacts, art items, and stories will be displayed to pay respect to the 215 unmarked graves on the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc residential school grounds, recognizing the families and communities that have lost loved ones and the important efforts made to bring this to light.

Additionally, the Society plans to incorporate a beautifully painted wall with the names of the recipients of the Out of the Ashes Bursary award that supports young people in recovery in realizing their educational pursuits. The art piece will commemorate the 45 recipients, to date, and serve as an inspiration to all young people who have struggled with substance use and who wish to further their education.

“We will continue to collaborate with our Indigenous partners and communities so that we can create inclusive and safe spaces for our youth and help them on their journey toward recovery,” said Lewis.

For further information regarding Day One Society, its new youth detox beds, and its dedication to supporting youth and families on their journey to recovery, please visit,

About Day One Society

Day One Society provides services to bring help, hope, and healing to community members.

The mandate is to: provide medically supported withdrawal management treatment to those struggling

with substance use issues; education, counselling, outreach, and support to youth and families impacted

by substance use, and; education to the larger community, raising awareness about the issue of substance use.


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