Guest blog submitted by Julie Francella
As a caseworker and clinical intake coordinator at Ranch Ehrlo, helping people is important to me. What you may not be aware of is the ways I do that both inside and outside of my job at the agency.
One way is through art. For me, art is life. It’s integrated into who I am. My father is a well-known artist in Ontario, with works in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, and my mother’s side of the family are also artists. My father started teaching me painting and drawing when I was very young. Currently, some of my art is for sale in the Royal Saskatchewan Museum gift shop, and a gallery in Manhattan is in negotiations to host some of my work.
My hope is that the youth we work with at Ranch Ehrlo can utilize the arts as a part of their own journey of discovery, healing, and self expression.
When I’m not working at the agency or as an artist, I also run Marie’s Wings of Hope, an outreach program in the Regina area. I started the program after my mother, Marie, and my sister died in April and July of 2010, just ten weeks apart.
Marie’s Wings of Hope offers warm clothes, meals, and temporary shelter such as a hotel room if necessary. The program is busier in the winter months, with people contacting me if they see someone out in the community who may be struggling and require services.
I do the outreach work because I have always believed that if you feel you can make a difference, you should try to do whatever you can to ease another person’s hardship or suffering. It’s often easy to become burdened to inaction, but I try to make a conscious choice to engage in small acts of kindness whenever I can. I believe that every time we succeed in creating something more for those who have so little, we somehow give counterweight to the challenges of the world.
You can learn more about my artwork and outreach on my website, www.juliefrancella.com