Thinking about correctional systems can bring images of desolated environments and strict, disengaged human service workers. Not so, or at least, not always. Within these walls are many strong and courageous individuals facing old wounds, healing them, and embracing a potential they didn’t know they had. This learning process, in the hands of skillful and committed facilitators, can transform lives, restore souls, and reduce the risks of re-incarceration.

Such is the case of Reclaiming Our Identity, a program offered by the Manitoba Correctional System for Indigenous offenders. We’ve learned from colleagues facilitating the program that the content of the training sessions is great, but only as great as the facilitation skills of those delivering it. At CiU, we know exactly what they’re talking about.

Knowing the “how” of facilitating learning is just as important as understanding the “what” of the material being delivered. The capacity to facilitate memorable learning experiences, no matter the content, is a key premise in the CiU Facilitation Skills training. It can also be an indispensable approach in delivering topics such as “Prior to Contact”, “Colonization”, “Residential Schools” and “Envisioning the Future”. At CiU, we know that unless facilitation is grounded in a strength-based, client-centered, trauma-informed approach with holistic and hands-on methodology, clients may resort to fight, flight, freeze, or submit behaviours in the classroom – and miss the learning opportunity all together.

Our mission is to grow the facilitation skills of group leaders, teachers, and other helping professionals. We do this by teaching them to incorporate CiU’s holistic approach when working with their clients’ needs and aspirations in the context of their unique work environments. It is also our mission to support a learning community of facilitators where they can share resources, build imaginative toolboxes, develop creative minds, and grow their facilitation skills.

CiU congratulates our graduates working in correctional centers, who are setting new facilitation standards in creating brave learning spaces where their clients can heal and embrace their own potential. We stand behind our colleagues and share their view of a future with more promise.

To learn more about CiU Facilitation Skills training, find us

Reference Province of Manitoba | justice – Restorative Justice

“The Learning Corner”

Here’s a couple of ideas to get started…

CiU PD is all about creating safe and brave spaces for learning. Want to know more about how to support those brave spaces in your own work? Here are some great foundational concepts suggested by the University of Maryland Education Department. Spoiler Alert: Sometimes it starts with being brave ourselves.

CiU PD looks to mind-body practices to help mitigate the effects of trauma. This podcast from Huberman Lab provides an incredibly deep dive into the latest research on the specific types of breathing that can interrupt the stress response immediately and improve health and wellness metrics overall (like sleep). As a bonus – you can amaze your friends by learning the scientific way to stop the hiccups! True story.