This week we profile Owen Prince, Administrative Assistant for the Indian Residential School Resolution Health Support Program, Health Benefits. Owen is Carrier from Nak'azdli near Fort St. James, BC.
What do you do on any given day? On a daily basis I am involved with Indian Residential School clients who call to take advantage of the counselling services that are available. I also deal with intergenerational clients and families as well.
I assist with referrals to approved FNHA counsellors, arrange patient travel, process counselling session invoices and field general inquiries and work with the counsellors who wish to become part of the program offering services to IRS clients.
A lot of my family went to residential school; both my mom and dad attended the Le Jac Indian Residential School in Fort Fraser, so the Residential School legacy is a part of my life. Because of that I am able to bring compassion and understanding into my work and I am able to gauge the appropriate type of response required. Sometimes it is heartbreaking to hear the stories, sometimes humour helps get us through some difficult conversations.
What is the most unique aspect of your job? Empathy and compassion are the greatest tools in this line of work. I have one client I get a call from each week. She always greets me in her language and we have developed a relationship over the phone as a result. She reminds me of my mother a little bit.
An interesting aspect of the job is the introduction of tele-conferencing or video conferencing counselling services. This service is made available in some of the more remote communities. In some cases where cost saving measures are required we also have a number of travelling counsellors who will travel into communities to provide the service.
What do you like about working at FNHA? I know that I'm part of an organization that is concerned with the health and wellness of First Nations and that I'm part of the team as well as a recipient of the benefit.