The focus of Positive Impact is to increase supportive environments for individuals infected with, or at risk of sexually transmitted blood and body fluids infection (STBBI), including Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis.
The Positive Impact social worker provides support for individuals and connections to community supports and services.
The goal of SIGN Positive Impact is to decrease the stigma of STBBIs through community engagement and education as well as increasing access to supportive services and resources for individuals.
Presentations and education are available on many topics including HIV, Hepatitis C, and harm reduction.
The program has offices in Kamsack at 359 Queen Elizabeth Blvd. East and in Yorkton at Room 106, 345 Broadway St W.
by Candice Nelson
Impact Social Worker, SIGN Positive Impact
On Thursday mornings, my schedule has me at the Kamsack community garden on Queen Elizabeth Boulevard West. This is the third year for the garden and we decided to plant all potatoes; they are fairly low maintenance to grow and store, and everyone knows how to prepare potatoes to eat. We have nine garden boxes and planted eight hills per box - 72 hills total.
The last three Thursdays it rained, so I finally made my way there the morning of July 16 to weed and marvel at the beautiful plants.
I was disappointed. It was difficult to see through the weeds, but I counted only 46 plants! How could this be?
I wasn’t the only one who came to weed and we started talking about how interesting it was that one box had eight lush plants, while the next box only had five and the next none at all. Some boxes had half large plants, while the rest had barely broken the surface.
“Isn’t it interesting,” my fellow weeder remarked, “how you put the same seeds, in the same dirt, they get the same sun, and the same rain, and yet we get such different plants.”
“Or no plant at all,” I responded.
This began a discussion of nature verses nurture. We began sharing stories of our children and siblings and how different we all are despite having basically the same upbringing. We compared ourselves to potatoes and someone joked they’d rather be a hot skinny french fry than a couch potato!
But as I stood back at looked at a garden box with not one single plant growing in it, I was discouraged and for some reason I felt like a failure. I was, after all, in charge of the garden.
I can tell the difference between portulaca and potatoes, but I never profess to be a gardening expert. I don’t profess to be an expert at anything -- I’m more of a perpetual student, always learning. But this morning at the garden we started looking for someone to blame: “It’s the weather.” “It’s the seeds.” “It’s the soil.”
“Why do we need to blame something? We don’t know the whole story of what’s happening beneath the soil,” another weeder remarked.
I got the feeling we weren’t talking about potatoes anymore.
As we weeded we found a few more tiny plants pushing through the dirt.
“I found one!” someone shouted from a few boxes over. I went over to look and saw another hiding in the same box. I began to recount how many we had.
“Hey, we have 51 plants!” I proudly announced.
“Two more in this box!” shouted another weeder and we all cheered. I even gave someone a high five! (To my friends at Public Health: we were all wearing gardening gloves.) We then began to laugh, realizing we were cheering over tiny potato plants.
When we were done and going out separate ways, the weeder who commented on the negativity of looking for someone to blame for the unsprouted plants told me a bit of her story. It is always an honor when someone is willing to share a part of themselves.
“People judge and look for someone or something to blame when things don’t go as they’d like, when really we can never know someone’s whole story. Instead I wish people would cheer for the little victories in people’s lives like we did for that little potato plant. It’s alive and deserve to be celebrated.”
As I drove back to the office, I was struck by the simplicity, yet magnitude of that statement.
Gardens are an amazing thing. You put shriveled up seeds into dry dirt and through sunshine and rain food grows! The Kamsack community garden has 53 beautiful hills of potatoes. I hope each of them produces a few potatoes to share with whoever wants to enjoy them.
I hope to meet a few more weeders, share some stories, learn a few things, feed some people, and cheer over little victories.
Society for the Involvement of Good Neighbours
83 North St. Yorkton SK S3N 0G9 | Tel 306-783-9409 | Fax 306-786-7116
SIGN provides services to those who live on Treaty 4 territory, the ancestral lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota and the Métis Nation. We affirm our relationship to the treaties that are integral to the foundation of Canada and commit to honouring their spirit and intent. We respect the diverse histories, languages, and cultures of the many people who have lived on this land, and we commit to moving forward in partnership with Indigenous peoples and nations in a spirit of respect, reconciliation and collaboration.
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