Strengthening Families

The Wahkohtowin Strengthening Families Program is a unique skills development program for youth aged 11-17 and their families. The program is proudly offered by five community organizations working in partnership; Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc., Spence Neighbourhood Association, Bilal Community and Family Centre (BCFC), and Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc. and The University of Manitoba. Funding is provided by the National Crime Prevention Centre.

Wahkohtowin is a Cree word meaning ‘kinship’ or, ‘the state of being connected’. The Wahkohtowin Strengthening Families Program honors the unique connections within families, and seeks to strengthen bonds, increase communication and decrease conflict among family members.

Ka Ni Kanichihk, Ndinawe, BCFC and SNA will each deliver a research-based and culturally-informed curriculum to up to ten families per session, with three sessions being held per year. The U of M will lead an ongoing evaluation.

Each session will consist of 14 weekly classes, each approximately 3 hours in length. Transportation is provided to families, as well as child-minding for children 10 and younger. Each class begins with a family meal, followed by youth and adults classes. Each class concludes with a family class, where the family joins together to practice the skills they learned. In addition, one cultural event is held per session, where families spend the day together learning and celebrating their traditions, customs and ways of being. In order to meet the needs of the community, each organization will hold the program on a different night, as listed below:

  • Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc. – 455 McDermot Ave: Tuesdays from 5 – 8pm
  • Bilal Community and Family Centre Inc. – 33 Warnock St: Wednesdays from 5 – 8pm
  • Spence Neighbourhood Association Inc. (SNA) – 365 McGee St: Thursdays from 5 – 8pm
  • Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc. (Ndinawe) – 650 Burrows Ave.: Mondays from 5 – 8pm

Families are encouraged to select the site most comfortable and convenient for them.

Wahkohtowin Poster

Application / Referral Process

Families may register for the program by contacting any of the staff members listed below. You will be asked to complete a registration form, which may include a short needs-assessment in order to determine your family’s suitability for the program. After you have submitted your registration form, a staff member will contact you within 1 week to advise you of acceptance or placement on a waitlist.

Intake interview will consist of a comprehensive needs assessment to help the staff team understand your family, a pre-survey and signing of consent forms.

Referrals will also be accepted on behalf of families, by local resources, non-profit organizations, as well as Winnipeg School Division, CFS and Winnipeg Police.


Project Manager

Amy Graham:
204-953-5820 ext. 208

Site Coordinators:

Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Ph.: (James) 204-417-7233, ext. 226

Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc. Ph.: 204-953-5820, ext. 228

Bilal Community and Family Centre Ph.: 204-772-7358

Spence Neighbourhood Association Ph.: 204-894-4288

Eligibility Requirements

This program is designed for families of youth aged 11-17 who are experiencing high levels of conflict, and/or family violence at both the individual and family level. In order to be accepted into the program, families must have at least one youth aged 11-17, and meet some of all of the following criteria:

  • Risk of gang involvement
  • Use of substances
  • Teens frequently absent from school
  • Experiencing marginalization due to socioeconomic status (i.e. experiencing poverty or racism)
  • Willing and able to attend one 3-hour class each week for 14 weeks
  • Experiencing high levels of conflict within the family – this can include family violence, excessive punishment, conflict with the law
  • Involved with other local resources or agencies, such as Justice or Child and Family Services

24 Hour Safe House Intake Line: