Our first ever womOwned Wednesday business spotlight is Regenesis Centre for Recovery (RCR), a start-up not-for-profit social service agency in Winnipeg, Manitoba which will provide tailored support to underserved populations, through a lifelong recovery model. Those who identify as women or as gender non-conforming will be assisted at RCR, with intake priority given to Indigenous peoples and members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

“RCR is committed to providing appropriate, relevant, and effective addictions care, and in doing so, acknowledges substance use as an extension and response to oppression. Through our evidence-based, trauma-informed, and intersectional care program, we will guide RCR’s clients in acknowledging the role of identity-based oppression and its effect on addiction and mental health. By using this approach, we can best serve those who use substances by addressing the root cause of the issue.

RCR will house 6 clients at a time with the program will spanning 6-12 months, dependent upon the needs of each client. Upon graduation, each client will be indefinitely provided with continual mental health and addictions support at no cost. Our intention is that RCR will create a welcoming and home-like atmosphere while promoting a sense of equality, independence, and community-based support.”

The Interview

We asked them a few questions to get a better grasp on who they are and what they are doing. This is what they said.

Q: Who are the womxn behind Regenesis Centre?

A: The womxn behind RCR are Cindy Foster, Leora Strand, and Jennifer Parisian.

Cindy Foster is the creator and co-founder, and takes on the Executive Director position. Cindy will also provide the in-house counselling once RCR opens.

Leora Strand is our other co-founder, and takes on the Assistant Executive Director position. Leora will also head RCR’s outreach services once RCR opens.

Jennifer (Jenny) Parisian is RCR’s Group Activities Coordinator. Jenny is currently finishing her Master of Occupational Therapy degree at the U of M.

RCR is also fortunate to have the expertise of a continually developing female Board of Directors.

Q: Please share your vision and why you decided you needed to create this?

A: RCR was created in response to two of our team’s specific experiences on the frontlines of addictions care in Winnipeg. After witnessing clients return to treatment time and time again, we wanted to create a program that not only follows clients all the way from the detoxification stage of recovery all the way through to independent living, but also to create an additional step to the typical recovery program. By increasing recovery time, not only are we better equipped to support our clients as they learn valuable self-empowerment skills, but we also allow for sufficient time to make sustainable lifestyle changes.

Secondly, we wanted to create a safe space for traditionally marginalized groups within our community. As there are several co-ed or male programs operating within Manitoba, we wanted to cater our services to those who are typically overlooked and underserved. This is why RCR will be accepting clients who identify as womxn or as gender non-conforming, with intake priority given to members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and/or those who identify as Indigenous.

Q: When did you start this endeavour?

A: The idea of RCR came in June of 2019, and we officially incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in January of 2020.

Q: What do you need in order for your goal to come to fruition?

A: As of right now we need to reach our capital fundraising goal of $500,000 in order to open RCR.

Q: What services do you or will you offer?

A: We will offer individual and group counselling, workshops and seminars, skill-building activities and information sessions with qualified guest hosts and speakers, career guidance, spiritual guidance, Indigenous cultural practices, positive support network building, community volunteering, and outreach support.

Q: How can people help support your business and your goals?

A: Anyone who is interested in and able to help support RCR can make a financial contribution through our GoFundMe campaign, or through direct donation.

We also greatly appreciate when followers share us on their social media and talk about us with their friends and family as well as within their community.

Q: What is one misconception about addiction held societally that you would like to shed light on?

A: Although there are so very many misconceptions about addiction in our society, the one we would like to shed light on the most would be that addiction is not a choice and therefore not due to a lack of personal fortitude. A person who lives with addiction is no less important, motivated, skilled, or capable than any other human being. Addiction is a response to extremely complex human and societal issues including oppression, mental health, and identity, and needs to be met with kindness and empathy.

Q: Do you consider yourself a feminist business?

We absolutely consider ourselves a feminist not-for-profit business. Our program has been developed through a lens of intersectional feminism and care at our facility will be provided based on these feminist practices and values.

Q: If so, how does your business address each of the pillars of intersectional feminism? The pillars being not discriminating against anyone based on sexuality, race, gender identity, ability, age, and choice of work, including sex work.

A: Our approach to addictions is intersectional and thereby feminist in nature. We’ve developed a treatment approach that acknowledges the intersections of identity, especially the intersection of gender expression and sexuality with mental health and addiction, and also the intersection of race and mental health and addiction.

Part of our mandate is to serve women of all abilities, experiences, and bodies; that’s an intersectional approach too because we’re saying that those who have these various identifiers will experience the world differently and we will cater to those needs with our approach.

All of that being said, we are not experts or a voice for all marginalized groups. As cis women/white women, we don’t have the experiences of some groups and therefore we will be bringing in guests with more knowledge and experiences to help provide more culturally safe and intersectional care.

Check out https://linktr.ee/regenesis.centre for more information and links to their website and social media!